Friday, April 11, 2014

FOODIE FRIDAY

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Lemonade


Recently, in need of a fast-yet-fun eatery for a casual meeting, I recalled that a new restaurant called Lemonade had opened up in Studio City, CA. We popped in after 8 pm, delighted to find the bright and welcoming space comfortably busy, smelling wonderful and the cafeteria-style line still brimming with fresh food.  My guest and I were amazed by the array of fresh salads, delicious appetizers, stews, breads and desserts, complemented by the fresh lemonade of your choosing (my fave: cucumber mint!).  

Lemonade is restaurateurs/entrepreneurs Alan Jackson and Ian Olsen's 14-location mission to redefine fast casual dining in So Cal, and they certainly seem to be succeeding. Guests surrounding us in the indoor/outdoor seating space ranged from a mother/son duo to hip couples and most notably, several tables of young guys raving about how much they love the simple/healthy menu, and, actually eat there every day. It's not surprising, as the flavorful yet simple food is served up without the usual "you're eating alone" stigma, and the seasonally-evolving menu is vast enough to make daily dining attractive. Check out your local Lemonade menu.

Our dinner, enthusiastically-shared, included six salad servings from quinoa to beets to kale to curried cauliflower and a peanut-based slaw; main servings of a Meditteranean-style chicken stew and a Basque chicken dish, herbed brown rice; and lemonade choices of Cucumber/Mint and Guava.  There were lots of leftovers, and takeout is encouraged with handy little containers available.  The total cost: $39.

Lemonade is creating a stir. It's hard to know if the clever restaurateurs planned it this way, but the well-lit decor and beautifully-designed food have Lemonade blowing up on social media.  It's "old meets new" as the Paleo-leaning dishes become the colorful subjects of cellphone images shared to their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages...a most relevant sign of success in our 2.0 world, reinforced by the impending opening of a space in Dubai.

Rating (crawl/walk/run): Run!

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