After leaving cold and dark Cleveland, we were definitely looking forward to a little bit of fun in the sun. And that’s just what we got on our first day in L.A. It started with a walk through Beverly Hills with coffee at Urth Caffe and snacks at Buchon. We moved to the beach for volleyball and tacos. And then ended the night at the appropriately named Sunny Spot.
I had no idea what to expect with Sunny Spot. I didn’t pick it, or look it up or anything. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was something funky and a little different. We walked into a relaxed atmosphere, a little modern meets beach with reggae music playing, low lights, but an upbeat vibe. A quick once over of the menu showed a plethora of island rum drinks and Jamaican inspired fare. It all reinforced the fact that I was a thousand miles from Cleveland.
We got to talking and laughing and perusing the menu when we realized something was missing…our drinks. It was a good 15 minutes after we had been seated before we ordered them, and another 20 minutes after that before they arrived. This, as it turns out, would be the lasting theme of the evening.
Dinner for me consisted of a Jamaican roasted lamb. The sauce, a big spicy punch that hit you with each bite just before finishing with a very subtle underlying sweetness, dominated the plate. It was cooled slightly by the bites of rice and black beans that I alternated between. And while the lamb was tender, the sauce overpowered the distinct flavor, leaving one to wonder if it was lamb, beef, or any other meat.
The dish was definitely unique, and good, but not a “wow” dish, and definitely not good enough to overcome the service. I’m not sure if it was because we were a large group, or if there was only one server, but we were pretty much abandoned all night long. In fact the only three times I saw our server was to place our drink orders, place our food orders, and get our check. There wasn’t a mid-dinner check-in. Drink #2 had to be ordered directly from the bar. And dessert was out of the question as we’d already been there for more than 2 hours and were ready to go. But I guess when you get a 20% gratuity added to the check, there really isn’t any incentive to be helpful.
It was nice to try something a bit off the beaten path, and I think the food was good enough to try again. There were some appetizers that were pretty good too. But the service just left a bad taste in my mouth. While I usually try to keep the impact of the service to a minimum and focus on the food, this was to a point that overrode everything else to do with the meal. Just the time we had to wait for everything, the fact that we only got one drink, that we had to flag her down to pay, and that there was such a hefty gratuity tarnished what was otherwise a good, interesting, and potentially enjoyable dinner.