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SIV Dines the Lobster, J.Gold Noshes at Forage

1) The Lobster: SIV treks out to the beach today to visit the Lobster, "a tourist magnet of the first degree" worthy of one and a half stars. Overall her entire dining experience is marked by continuous ups and downs under the leadership of new chef (since November) Collin Crannell: "Crannell's cooking is more about spices and casual collisions of ingredients, not all of them successful. The simpler the preparation, the better the execution. With a restaurant this busy, you can't get that fussy...a meal here can feel rushed, as if the servers, invariably friendly and happy to see you, are intent on turning the tables as fast as possible...Crannell has taken the Lobster in hand with an updated menu, but getting the kitchen at this busy restaurant to perform consistently is a lot harder than writing a new menu. Still, for a tourist restaurant on the beach, it's better than most." [LAT]

2) Forage: On the other side of town, The Goldster visits relative newcomer Forage: "Forage is the neighborhood canteen, a sort of antirestaurant that has become the most crowded restaurant in the area, a place where people line up for half an hour for a caramel cookie and a go-cup of Blue Bottle coffee, or a glass of gingered agua fresca made from Silver Lake Meyer lemons, or a ripe-avocado hoagie with pickled fennel and green-garlic aioli...Forage is an informal place, a few outdoor tables, a long dining room narrow enough that you can touch both walls at once, and a big, stainless-steel serving counter set up a bit like a cafeteria...Chef Jason Kim is an alumnus of the highbrow kitchen at Lucques, among other places, but the vibe here reminds me of a first-class potluck, a motley, exquisitely seasonal collection of farro salads with peas and shaved-carrot salads with lemon zest and shallots, big potato gratins and multicolored beet salads with citrus...Until the city frowned on the practice, the soul of Forage was in its Sunday-afternoon produce sessions, where neighbors were encouraged to bring in their homegrown fruit and vegetables in exchange for a credit at the restaurant...Every café serves food; what Forage offers is a new way to look at the Los Angeles dream." [LAW]

The Elsewhere: Food, She Thought visits LudoBites 4.0, Eat:LA discovers sweets at Fleur de Lys Patisserie, ShopEatSleep eats small bites from the Dim Sum Truck, Refined Palate does Japanese at Urasawa, Midtown Lunch slurps soup at Myung Dong Kyo Ja.

The Lobster

1602 Ocean Avenue Santa Monica, CA 90401