This week, the lovely Miss Irene finds herself at Salute Wine Bar in Santa Monica, mostly by chance. She stumbled upon the joint when en route to another restaurant, but after a peek at "wildly sociable scene inside," she decided to cancel her other reservation at the last minute (she's one of those) and see what the fuss is all about:
... we feel more like guests at a crowded party than paying restaurant-goers. Which is a good thing, because the service isn't all that organized. And that sense of Salute not quite being a restaurant follows through in the food ... Bottom line: Get the kitchen on track and this place would be packed every night with people coming to eat and drink.The good news is that Salute works perfectly on the "sociability scale," and though the pizzas are a miss, decent food can indeed be found on the menu if you play it correctly. But as it stands, though the potential is there, Salute is more bar than restaurant at this point, adding up to the solitary one star. [LAT]
THE ELSEWHERE & THE BLOGS: Chronicle food honcho Michael Bauer continues to share thoughts on his SoCal trip, revisiting an old pal in John Sedlar at Rivera. The Find goes all Austro-Hungarian at Maximilians, Blogdowntown takes at early look at the brand new D-Town Burger Bar, He Said Mag stops by Cecconi's, Losanjealous does $3 breakfast sandwiches at Banh Mi My Tho, and Monster Munching is at Valerio's City Bakery in Cerritos.