Catal Restaurant - dinner - May 25, 2001
For months after our first visit to the Tapas Bar, I've had the Catal flyer at home in front of my computer. The flyer has a picture of a shrimp dish that looks absolutely amazing, and I've been intent on trying that dish at some point. On our second visit to the Tapas Bar a couple weeks ago, we were told that they did not offer that dish as we had thought, but rather, that it was offered at the upstairs restaurant. When we had looked at the posted menu, however, we could not find a dish that corresponded to the picture, so when we got upstairs, my husband showed the manager at the reception desk the picture and asked what that dish was. She said it wasn't something she was familiar with, that it was served at other sister restaurants, and that she wasn't sure it was served there, but she would check with the chef. After a couple of minutes, she returned to say that the dish was indeed served at the Patina restaurant on Melrose in Hollywood, but since the chef had all the necessary ingredients, he agreed to make the appetizer for us. After waiting a couple of minutes for a table, we were seated, and the manager spoke to our waiter to let him know about our special order.
When we got the dish, it looked a bit different than the picture, but it was absolutely delicious. We also ordered the side of olives since we had liked the olives so much at the Tapas Bar downstairs. However, while the dish at the Tapas Bar was three kinds of olives all mixed together in one bowl, the appetizer dish upstairs is three kinds of olives in three separate bowls, so it ended up being a bit too much.
There were a number of dishes that looked interesting to me on the menu, and the waiter also told us about two dishes (a cooked fish entree and a prime rib entree) that weren't on the printed menu. Our friend decided to have the appetizer of sauteed scallops with artichoke hearts on a bed of saffron rice as her entree, my husband had the rib eye steak (which I had a bite of and which was also delicious) which came with a side of mashed potatoes and something else, I believe, and I had the paella with seafood, chorizo and chicken. The paella was quite good, but after the appetizer and bread, I was already quite full, so I finished the seafood and chorizo but left most of the rice uneaten, even though it was very tasty. There were a few other items on the appetizer menu that looked very good, including what sounded like the spicy ahi tuna tartare that I love so much from the Tapas Bar downstairs, so next time, I think that's what I'd order. Friends had told us about the compressed salad, which comes in a small cube form, but apparently, when you start picking it apart, it springs out into a full-sized salad, but we didn't have a chance to try that this time.
We hadn't planned on having dessert, but when the waiter brought the dessert menu over, a few things caught our eye, including the printing on the top of the dessert menu that said something about the 10th (or was it 12th?) week of spring. We asked about that, and he said that the pastry chef decides every week what to have on the dessert menu, and they needed a way to differentiate one week from another, so that was the method they came up with. We ordered two desserts to share among the three of us. One was the trio of creme brulee (coffee, thai tea and five spices) which came in three little containers. I'd not had creme brulee before but when the waiter explained what it was and mentioned that the sugar on top was carmelized with a blowtorch, I knew that was the dessert for me. The other dessert we ordered was a pastry containing bananas and carmelized walnuts, with a little side scoop of coconut sorbet. The pastry almost looked like a big egg roll cut in half. All were very good.
With the great food and excellent service, especially the manager's help and the chef agreeing to make the dish for us even though it wasn't on the menu, we're definitely going back. I think the combination of the restaurant and the Tapas Bar makes Catal one of my favorite places to eat.
For other Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar reviews, please click here.
For the current dinner menu offerings, please click here.
For the current uva bar and cafe menu offerings, please click here.
For Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar menu offerings from prior seasons, please click here.
To see Catal's specific webpage in the Patina Group website, please click here. (Note that the menus on the site are out-of-date, but there are some nice views of the restaurant and some background.)
Back to DLR Restaurant Reviews.
Back to home.