Friday, February 02, 2007

Date Night at Gina Lee's Bistro

We spent our date night this week in an incredibly dorky way. Mark doesn't want to reveal what we did lest that inspire any of his competition. Instead, I will show pictures of last week's date night at Gina Lee's Bistro in Hollywood Riviera. That's the owner, manager, and Gina's husband, Scott Lee, standing in profile by the kitchen.

I like to hear the waiters recite the daily specials from memory. It's a really delightful performance. 9 times out of 10, I will order the bento box daily special. Of course I scarfed down the first crab cake before I thought about bringing out the camera. (I turned off the flash out of respect for the other diners so the picture is a bit blurry.) Clockwise from the top left: dipping sauce for the crab cakes, crab cakes, grilled salmon on greens, Korean BBQ beef, coleslaw in a lettuce cup, coconut lemongrass soup with mint leaves and a fried whitefish cutlet.

It sounds like I am in a rut, ordering the bento box so frequently. However, the contents change depending upon what Gina Lee finds at the market that day. It rarely disappoints.

If you visit the restaurant with a large group, order the catfish. You have to see this dish. It is a beautiful piece of performance art that tastes pretty good. The entire catfish is fried and arranged like a giant S on the plate. The catfish cradles a pile of Asian-influenced coleslaw. Ponzu dipping sauce provides the perfect accompaniment. The only flaw of that dish is that it is too much of a good thing. That's why you should go with a large party and eat family style.

The menu does not provide many vegetarian options. Tell Scott that you are a vegetarian and they will fix something seasonally delicious for you.

Unlike the reviewer below, I like the desserts there. We shared the Hawaiian bread pudding with mangoes and macadamia nuts. When Iris comes with us, she always saves room for the chocolate pistachio bars.

Link: Irene Virbila's review of Gina Lee's Bistro.
That's all folks.

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