from my blog 20yearitch.blogspot.com
Mark and I thought we would go to Gjelina on Abbott Kinney tonight, but that was a no-go. The wait was over an hour and a half. Not sure I am up for waiting an hour and a half for indifferent service and well...but those bacon-wrapped dates--maybe! Anyway, we walked down the street to the Tasting Kitchen. I haven't been to this space since it was the mediocre AK. But in this new incarnation, chef Casey Lane really gets it right. Lane and his crew from Oregon were brought in to implement a temporary restaurant concept: a "tasting kitchen" based on a small, daily-changing, farm-to-table menu incorporating seasonal, local produce. But it looks like they have a hit on their hands, and this place is here to stay. As Jonathan Gold says in his glowing review, the dining room in the Tasting Kitchen is a study in social interaction that just so happens to involve food. That was especially true for us tonight. The hostess told us there were two seats left at the communal table, and once we sat down we were right across the table from Mark's agent (and friend,) Cliff, and his wife Carrie. We had a lovely, social evening at the communal table, sharing a huge cheese and charcuterie platter, bread, amazing aged balsamic vinegar. I ordered the branzino and for dessert, a crusty, warm apple pie. Carrie and I had a little thrill to see that Larry David was wandering around the bar area looking lost, until he found his little party (two women.) I had a "moment" with him at the bathroom. I was waiting for the one-seater women's room. He went into the one seater men's room. When he came out a guy asked him if it was safe to enter, and he looked at all of us standing there, and in pure "Curb" form he waved his hands with those long, bony fingers, and proclaimed, "I swear to you, in all of Los Angeles, that is the safest men's room to enter!" I wanted to ask him if he had a square to spare but I resisted temptation.