Monday, April 28, 2008


(310) 552-1080
1751 Ensley Avenue,
Century City, CA 90024

Adequately Fed: $10
Rare Roast Beef Sandwich***
Chocolate Chip Cookies*****
(Out of Five Stars)

This charming cafe off Santa Monica is a little difficult to get to and even more difficult to park. There's a small lot behind the restaurant, but the popularity makes this place crowded even in the late afternoon on a Monday. Clementine does know how to market themselves with self-branded cups and buttons. They are even conducting a grilled cheese mock campaign parodying the election year. Their "heat-at-home" entrees and sides and curbside pick-up make them an excellent take-out place as well.

It's nice to see truly rare roast beef. All too commonly, roast beef is overcooked and lacks that chewy texture and complexity of flavor. The popular rare roast beef sandwich at Clementine combines this tasty beef with marinated onions, arugula, and horesradish mustard dressing between a crusty rustic bread. The bread was so crusty that it tore the top of my mouth a little. But the sandwich itself was well-crafted. Unfortunately, the horseradish was too subtle and not prominent enough to add to the meat. The accompanying sweet pickles were a treat in itself though.

I do not bake at home precisely for the reason why the cookies here are so delicious. The chocolate chip cookies are so thin that the chocolate spreads out moist and melty to the point where I would hesitate to call them chips at all. Just a bite of the $1.50 cookie and I know how much butter has gone into its preparation. If I baked these myself, I would not be able to eat them with as clean a conscience.

I had issues with the slow service during my trip. After ordering at the counter, it took quite awhile for the food to come to the table. It is a rare sandwich after all; it should not take that long to prepare.

Recommendation: I think it is busy all the time, but maybe the curbside take-out service.

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