When I write a restaurant review, I look at reviews on the Internet, among other things. Mainly, I do this to rate the service. The service was so good when we went to Charcoal last month that I suspected there would be good service reviews but they were even better than I predicted. Even the few people who didn’t like the food praised the service. And that’s what I expect from a restaurant run by Josiah Citrin, clearly one of the best restaurateurs in California.
The first time I went to Charcoal, I wasn’t impressed when it first opened (who can remember that far back?). The grilled vegetables were good, but I ordered the wrong thing. Charcoal is primarily a beef restaurant and in order to fully enjoy and enjoy it you need to order beef.
When I was there last month, we ordered different dishes. The rack of lamb starter was too greasy for my taste. The squid salad was ok but better at the spago. The tuna tartare with avocado topping was good, but just like many restaurants.
But the beef for four, grilled to perfection and sliced to share among four of us, was superb. I can’t remember a tastier cut of beef anywhere, including the famous cows in France and Italy. And Japanese would have to spend a lot of time massaging those beer-drinking cows to make this flavorful and tender piece.
Since the beef was delayed, we were spoiled with good bread and butter and a few different grilled vegetable dishes. The manager Rick Martinez was on site, attentive to our needs and made us feel good about the whole experience.
Yes, as many reviews on the internet suggest, charcoal is pricey but well worth it for the quality of the food and service.
The wine list is extensive and rounded off with a selection from all over the world. In terms of price, it is one of the cheapest in town. You can get a good bottle for between $ 40 and $ 60, something that is becoming less and less available in Los Angeles restaurants.
Merv Hecht, like many Harvard Law School graduates, went into the wine business after completing law. In 1988 he began writing restaurant reviews and books. His latest book “The Instant Wine Connoisseur, 3rd Edition” is available on Amazon. He currently works for several companies that source and sell food and wine products internationally. Please send your comments to: [email protected]