Friday night, my roommate took me out to dinner to celebrate the completion of my college career. (I’m finally done – how crazy is that??) Originally, we planned on going to Ummba Grill at the Westfield Mall in Century City. It wasn’t until we arrived at the mall that we remembered how packed it gets over the weekend. After ten minutes of searching for a parking spot, we gave up and decided to go to the Grove for their Brazilian BBQ. We stopped at the light right in front of Beverly Center, and Mary mentioned how she hadn’t been there in a long time. Neither had I. So we ended up at the Beverly Center. After two trips up and down the escalators, we could not figure out how to get inside the mall, so we settled on a place on the ground level – a classy joint called Grand Lux Cafe.
The staff was attractive and friendly (or maybe they were attractive because they were so friendly). After we were seated, our substitute waiter read the specials to us. It had been a while since I ate at a sit-down restaurant, and I made a comment to Mary that “you know you’re in a classy place when they read the specials to you.”
While deciding what to order, I took in the environment there. The music was…eclectic. A very strange mix of Top 40 and jazz. Personally, I think Top 40 should be saved for 18+ clubs and Burger Kings. It went against the ambience of the place. We were seated next to this statue of a nude woman opening her mouth to a funnel shaped…something. It was very progressive – no positive or negative judgments there. I was only troubled by the lighting. I know fancy restaurants always have their romantic lighting on at night, but how is it romantic if you can’t even see your date? So my beef is not with Grand Lux – it’s with all restaurant managers that believe dinner should resemble an episode of Dating in the Dark.
Anyway…when the sub came around to take our order, he also told us about the cafe’s specialty, their baked-to-order desserts, which take about 30 minutes to prepare, so if we were planning on getting dessert, we should order it with our entrees. We did not get any dessert, which almost makes me feel like this post is incomplete, but I knew I would be full after the bread, our calamari appetizer, and my caramelized chicken. The sub then introduced us to our actual waiter, Matthew R. Both gentlemen were very good-humored, the kind of gentlemen you wouldn’t mind interrupting your conversation.
**DISCLAIMER: I had been having a terrific past couple of days, so I was on a happiness high going into dinner, which may have been the cause of some of my enthusiasm.
Their bread was decent. There wasn’t anything that really stood out, but nothing to complain about either. Also, I hadn’t eaten in six or seven hours, so I was STARVING. So was Mary. That’s why we attacked the calamari as soon as Matt (as he prefers) brought it out. It was slightly salty, but calamari in general is simply amazing, so I was happy with that choice as well. Then our entrees came out. Mary and I both wanted the caramelized chicken and the chicken jambalaya, so we split them. Both were fabulous; however, the chicken jambalaya was PHENOMENAL. The shrimp was so juicy and savory, and the chicken was cooked to perfection. This is what I told Matt to relay to the chef. Five minutes later, Matt comes back, telling me the chef was interested in getting my number. When we left, I wrote it on the check, for either the waiter or the chef. That’s a whole other story, though.
Overall, this dinner was a great experience. Kind staff, tasty food, classy yet comfy environment. Grand Lux gets my stamp of approval, and I think I might just have to go back to try their signature desserts.
Until my next adventure,
Published on May 20, 2012