Citrus at Social: The Chef was so busy playing with the food he forgot about the flavor & quality

We went here for my birthday; it came highly recommended and Irene (LA Times) had very nice things to say.  I wish I had read the recent not-so-nice review in LA Magazine that showed up on my doorstep the next day…perhaps I would have reconsidered.

I am fascinated with molecular gastronomy having been to Alinea and Moto for my birthday last year, and more recently to Coi in SF.  Some places really pull off the fusion of technique and flavor, others do not.  Citrus falls into the latter.  Some examples of notable dishes:  We ordered the mosaic, which was described as a carpaccio of “surf, turf & earth.”  The presentation was amazing; alternating matching circles of tuna, peppers, beef, and scallop each with its own garnish were artfully arranged like an Othello board.  But none of us actually cared for the flavors.  They were bland, and in the case of the scallop, fishy. 

The tuna and beet salad was one of the better dishes because the beets were prepared and seasoned perfectly.  But I don’t think it really complemented the tuna that well. I liked the beet and tuna as separate tastes, not on the same fork. 

The onion tart with smoked salmon was nice, but nothing to write home about.  Esgargot “in the garden” was unnecessarily creamy and the granola was strange, but not an offensive topping.  Frizzy frissee salad with lardons was lettuce and bacon bits with a poached egg on top.  It was fine, but silly at $13.  The 4 of us shared three entrees: Lobster burger, roasted chicken, and the famous 72 hour short ribs.  Lobster burger was ok; I have had similar dishes that were much better at places like Catch and Hungry Cat.  The short ribs had a strange rubbery texture, I guess from the sous vide.  But I was just recently at Lucques, and their short ribs are also slow cooked but were amazing.  We all agreed the “roast” chicken was the best, but it was actually breaded and tasted like it was fried, so that kind of ruined it. 

Of course I have to make special mention of the french fries fried in butter, one of the main things that drove me to this restaurant.  I don’t care what the reviews say, this just doesn’t work.  The clarified butter they use actually took on a bit of a rancid odor/taste.  One of my dining companions, a foodie who has worked as a chef, actually was sickened by the taste and could not continue eating after tasting them.  They should have stuck with duck fat like they do at other bistros.

Overall, probably the best menu item was the tater tots.  But these were definitely the most expensive tater tots I ever had.

I will say that service was exemplary, and they comped me the kit kat dessert for my bday.  Wine service was also excellent, and only $15 corkage.  But in the end, it is all scene and no substance.  It is not a bistro, it is not fine dining.   But it is very expensive.  Foodies should skip it.

Citrus at Social Hollywood
6525 Sunset Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028


3 thoughts on “Citrus at Social: The Chef was so busy playing with the food he forgot about the flavor & quality

  1. A few more comments. I also did not like these fries. They had a similar flavor to the potatoes that sometimes get cooked with turkey at Thanksgiving. However, the texture was not right and it did have a rancid note. Over all a poor application of butter. As for the tator tots, you had to consume them quick, while they were piping hot. Otherwise, they took on that same rancid character the fries did. The Mosaic, although it looked really awesome, was very flat. This item would fool any foodie, only seeing it in a picture. However, the flavors just seemed to blend together and it was difficult to identify the fish from the meat. Over all, the place had a cool vibe, but the food left all of us very disappointed.

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