I am trying to tap into this memory of mine because right now all I can remember is being told that Lilly’s was “so amazing” and that I had to try it. I’m wondering if what I was supposed to do is try their brunch because last night I finally went and lucky for me that I had amazing company because the food didn’t meet the expectations. (see?! that’s why I try not to set them too high!)
We were seated and a waiter didn’t come to our table for a good almost 10 minutes I’d say. It was a Tuesday night so they weren’t packed by any means. We did get a basket of bread, but no water or anything for enough time where I noticed it. Anyway, I started out with the Gratin de St. Jacques (fresh gratin of scallops w/ asparagus risotto) and Dan had the Tartare de Saumon (raw salmon on a bed of belgian endive topped with crème fraiche & salmon caviar.) Both were fine, nothing too spectacular. I actually really liked the asparagus risotto & the dish would have been great if the scallops weren’t overdone. Dan didn’t love the tartare either, I believe his words were “not the best tartare I’ve had” which translates to “blah.” Our main courses were the Canard a l’orange pommes gaufrettes (roasted “Maple Leaf Farm” duck with orange sauce served with waffle potatoes and french green beans) and Poulet au grain grille a L’estragon(grilled free range marinated breast of chicken, french fries & roasted eggplant.) Considering this is a French restaurant I’d have to assume that the duck should be good (made this way is a traditional French recipe) and apparently it was “eh.” (I didn’t try it, I don’t like duck, but I trust Dan’s opinion here.) My chicken was juicy and done well, but the eggplant was horrible… at least they didn’t screw up the fries! Geesh.
The restaurant itself is actually really cute though. When you first walk in on each side there are benches where I could totally sit, have some wine & get lost in conversation. There’s a cute back patio with lighting and small intimate tables. Some say that you get the best food on certain days, but I think that’s a load of crap. A restaurant should be ON every day of the week b/c why would you be so inconsistent? I probably won’t go back for a full meal since there are hundreds of other restaurants to try, but I do have to say that I had a great time – but it wasn’t because of the food or service. 2 stars.
Lilly’s French Cafe & Bar | 1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice | 310.314.0004