Lala's Argentine Grill
Lala's Argentine Grill
7229 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
hmmm...meat, a girl's best friend (next to diamonds of course...haha j/k). let me just preface this by saying, i could NEVER be a vegetarian...i love eating meat waaaaaay too much! so last night my friend jason took me to one of his favorite places out in west hollywood, Lala's. my mouth was watering and i couldn't wait to try some tender, juicy, grilled meat!
after we placed our order, the french bread and dip came out. OMG! this dip was sooooo freaking awesome! i forgot to ask what all the ingredients were inside, but it was oil based with fresh cilantro, i think i touch of some type of red pepper, and perhaps a bit of oregano (dried) but i'm not for certain...and of course, garlic. holy cow! this dip was damn good with the bread...and jason said its also great on the meat, which i could already tell i would love the combination. like a chimichurri. yum! it was so flavorful and i you know if you a lot of this, you are going to wreak of garlic...but it is so worth it!!!
my bad...here's a picture of it....i was so caught up in talking about i almost forgot to show you what it looks like! i wuold go back JUST to eat this!
you can see all the fresh herbs, and though there is that whole top layer of oil, i have to say it didn't feel super oily and i really tried to dip deep to get all the herbs on the bread. i don't know what kind of oil they used, but it was super light, it didn't have a strong flavor like olive oil which would mask the flavors of the herbs. and even the feeling of the oil, like i said earlier, it was just really light. so i really liked that a lot.
we decided to get the combination appetizer plate...
from left to right, tortilla de papa (argentine potato and onion quiche), chorizo (grilled italian sausage, they said italian in the menu), empanadas - spinach and onion, ham and cheese, and beef and onions.
tortilla de papa (argentine potato and onion quiche)...just from the picture you can already see that it looks a bit dry...hence that is how it felt in my mouth. very dry. i think it could be such a great dish...it was in need of some salt to just bring out the flavor of the onions and potatoes. if there was some way they could add a bit more moisture to this dish i would really love it. it was an extremely generous portion, but unfortunately we did not eat more than a bite or two.
you saw a picture of the chorizo, and really, sausage doesn't photograph well, so i'm not going to try to make it look attractive. but i will tell you, that it was so so, also dry, ok flavor. it was drab which in turn makes me feel drab when talking about it. so let's move on...
we busted the ham and cheese empanada open first, the melted cheese kind of just oozed out...
i gave jason the first bite and his immediate reaction was, "it tastes like a hot pocket." haha i found that very amusing. it could be either a good or bad thing depending on how you like hot pockets. i finally took a bite and, though i have never had a ham and cheese hot pocket, i could see how it just had that very basic taste of the ham, nicely salted...simple and to the point. just ham and cheese.
next up was the spinach and onion empanada
we both thought this was ok, this one did need more seasoning, salt to be specific. i will say that i liked the crust which was really nice and not necessarily super flaky but it had good bite to it.
our last empanada, beef with onions
good flavor, not super moist per se, i could really taste the cumin in there. they used ground beef, and jason gots bits of olives, but i didn't really taste it as much...but it was good. i will say that i still think the empanada i had at inka's in irvine better than this one, it was tastier, had chunks of meat and there was almost a little gravy in there. plus i like the sauce that accompanied it. but i know its two different regions... the beef was the best of all three empanadas we tasted.
ok...let's get to what we came here for...STEAK!!!!
jason ordered the Costilla, grilled certified angus ribeye steak with a side of salad. medium rare...it was cooked perfectly, the meat flavor was good, but it just needed a bit more salt. i liked the ribeye better than my skirt steak, it just had more "flavor" which comes from all the marbling.
i had the Bife Encebollado, grilled certified angus beef skirt steak, topped with grilled onion, garlic, parsley and i also had the side of salad.
look at those giant chunks of onions! if only i had gotten a shot of what was underneath the onions covering the entire steak. there was a layer of chopped garlic just pressed against it! i didn't take a good look at it at first because i was too busy talking and when i looked down i realized how much garlic was crusted on meat! as much as i enjoy garlic, i had to wipe it all off. that was like...WHOA nelly!! way too much for me. it was nice to have the garlic flavor and onions with the meat...but again, it just needed some salt to enhance the overall flavors. i also used the herb dip for my meat which was heavenly!!!! i could eat that dip with my steak every single time i eat it! yum!! so delicious.
next time, i would just order the ribeye and use that dip...and a little salt of course. there is plenty of garlic and flavor from the dip that you don't need to order the other steaks with all the toppings. simple and good...and the side of salad (which was just a very basic salad of lettuce, tomatoes, a few rings of red onions and dressing was good. but the pieces sitting on the bottom that soaked up all the dressing were so tasty...i loved it!). and of course, the light french bread and more dip, that's the perfect meal.
i will give them one more accolade, they know how to prepare meat!! hallelujah! i can't tell you how many fine steak houses i've been to who can't seem to prepare meat per a customers specifications and that it is one of THE most irritating things to me...so thank you Lala's for knowing your meat!!
overall, i think there were some really bright moments in the food here, my favorite being the dip in the beginning.
we passed on dessert there and went to urth caffe and had a little something there instead...
just a little fresh fruit tart...the berries were fresh and delicious, i could've used a bit more cream inside to balance out the amount of pate sucre, but it was a nice light dessert after such a heavy meal. i enjoyed LOTS of english breakfast tea and jason got this beautifully prepared spanish latte.
again, i love when places put that extra little touch...attention to detail. i've never seen that done before and i wanted to share that with you!
i've had their orange bundt cake before...it was to die for! so moist and full or orange flavor! i hope its still as good as i remembered it! i'll save that for next time.
i love this bustling caffe, tables inside and out, so much to choose from and just a nice little place to hang out and chat.
8565 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069