The Unvegan

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Why would you put lettuce upon this bread?

Recently, I was invited out to dinner with my girlfriend’s friend’s parents. Strange connection? Yes? Free meal? Affirmative. You know I wasn’t going to turn this one down. I found out we were going to a place called Sublime in Culver City and this surprised me. No, not because I haven’t heard anyone mention Sublime in 15 years, but because I had never heard of the place even though it was practically in my backyard.

Sublime calls itself a food lounge, which is only somewhat appropriate. It definitely had a relaxed feel (more on that later), but doesn’t have couches or any of that other fun stuff I usually associate with lounges, like lounge singing.

The menu isn’t huge and is actually composed of a mix of small and large plates, about 10 in total. Despite the limited options, many of the dishes had a strong meat base, like duck, oxtail, scallops and chicken. Unfortunately, while these looked great at first, I also saw that they came with frightening vegetable additives like pureed cauliflower (come on, no one actually thinks it’s a flower).

But before figuring out what I wanted for dinner, we started out with some appetizers/small plates. A few of these were vegetarded, but one seemed to fit the unvegan mold. It was a flatbread called Linquicia Chile ($14) and the waiter described it as Portuguese sausage. I’m not sure what Portuguese sausage had to do with Chile (I think Brazil may have been more appropriate), but I was excited nonetheless. But after the first twenty minutes of waiting, the excitement faded. The excitement faded slightly more when I saw that the flatbread was topped with some sort of leafy green. The leaf was easily picked off and the sausage hiding underneath ended up tasting pretty good, but not amazing and it was definitely small for a $14 appetizer.

We made the mistake of waiting until after receiving our appetizers to order and like I said, the wait had already been long. I finally settled on their 36 Hour Prime Short Rib ($18.00) because these seemed the least tainted by vegetables. It came with demi glazed potato cake and watercress spring onion chimichurri. What’s chimichurri? Well apparently it is some sort of a puree-esque sauce and I neglected to ask for my meal without it in the hopes that the vegetable-based sauce could be transformed into something much better than itself”┬Žlike ketchup. I placed my order and hoped that the meal would come faster than the appetizers.

It didn’t.

I don’t know why the chimichurri is necessary.

In fact, it took about twice as long to bring the main courses out. And it wasn’t like the restaurant was packed, and even if it was, there were only like 10 tables in the place. No excuses.

Fortunately for the place, my food looked good, except for that chimichurri. It was a frightening shade of green and when I tasted it, I learned that it tasted like grass. I scraped that nonsense away and went to work on the real part of my meal. I had ordered the short ribs medium rare since the waiter said the chef likes to cook it that way. I usually prefer medium, but far be it from me to go against the chef (unless he was thinking about adding broccoli or something). The medium rare turned out to be a great choice, The meat was juicy, tasty and seasoned pretty well (aside from the occasional overwhelming chunk of salt). The only problem was that it got a little bit chewy at parts. It wasn’t too chewy to affect my enjoyment, but it was definitely something I noticed.

The potato cake was a perfect addition to the short rib. There were no vegetables involved and the glaze was nice and creamy. It was almost as good as au gratin potatoes, but not quite.

So was it worth the wait? No, definitely not. I could have gotten similar food at a few restaurants in LA without waiting so long, however, the prices were pretty decent and the food was pretty good. So if you get an opportunity to visit Sublime and are guaranteed a short wait, it’s a good place to check out.