Restaurant: Gladstones Malibu [1, 2]
Location: 17300 Pacific Coast HwyPacific Palisades, CA 90272. (310) 454-3474
Date: March 18, 2011
Cuisine: American Seafood
Summary: Fast bordering on brusque
Two months to the day after I tried the slightly revamped Gladstones (REVIEW HERE), we decided to go back for a dinner. The two of us walked in the door at 6:30. They had us walking out at 6:55. A new record in whirlwind service. So fast that I was in physical pain, my stomach in spasm from having wolfed down the food.
“Dragonfruit mojito.” This concoction was disgustingly sweet, tasting of artificial strawberry and whatever weird kind of fruit is baked into “dragonfruit bacardi.” I dislike this trend of overzealous corporate marketing and lazy bartenders in which drinks are made with “flavored” alcohols instead of actual mixers. There is really no circumstance where this kind of factory flavored drink tastes better than just mixing. It is “easier.” Like pre-mixed Chernobyl green margarita mix. As the rest of the cocktails were this sort, I moved on to a glass of wine.
Bread. Warm sour-dour. Nothing to complain about here.
“CRAB CAKES Remoulade, Arugula & Fennel.” These arrived as the words of our order were hanging in the air, but they were tasty enough. Not on the level of either the Houstons or Capo crabcakes, but respectable.
“BAKED SALMON CARTOCCIO Saffron Potato, Roast Fennel, & Olive Herb Tapenade.” Must like what we made at our own dinner party the week before. But not bad either. Too bad it arrived while I was still working on my appetizer — and I’m a fast eater.
“CURRIED COCONUT SHRIMP Jasmine Rice, Yellow Curry, Thai Basil & Passion Fruit.” I had ordered this two months before and enjoyed it immensely. Something was really wrong with it tonight. Maybe the fact that they cooked it in 3 minutes flat? The sauce was totally out of balance. The curry flavor very muted and the lime massively dominant. It just didn’t taste good that way, being almost unpleasantly sour.
The bus boy was pulling our plates from us as I was literally forking the last couple shrimp. I mean I had to reach into the air to get them. The waitress teleported over, asked if we wanted dessert, hearing the negative, slapped the check down. They weren’t rude or unpleasant, but it was all so rushed that I felt an almost compulsive need to hurry in order to match their pace. I don’t mind a fast dinner sometimes, but this was ridiculous.
More fundamental, I also worry about quality control in the kitchen. Things just seemed much more lackluster than the previous time I was here. And it’s very expensive — overpriced in fact. So I don’t think I’ll be back for a while.