When I first looked at the menu for Lemonade, I was a little bit skeptical. It looked like a hodge podge of salads made with a spectrum of hip and healthy ingredients like snap peas, avocados, beets, wild mushrooms and couscous that are supposed to be good for you. They also included some interesting sounding stews and not so interesting looking sandwiches. The reviews were good, and although Sdho was equally positive, I didn’t feel totally convinced until my sister reminded me of her review on Lemonade and said that I would like it.
The Beverly Hills location had quite a bit of outdoor seating, and on this particularly warm and sunny day, a rather long line of people waiting to choose their selection of salads. Between Pdho, Sdho and I, we decided to order a sampling of 10 salads and 2 lemonades to share.
In spite of the restaurant’s namesake, I wasn’t all that intrigued by the selection of lemonade mixes. Each combination seemed to include a fruit with a vegetable, so even though I liked the sound of peach, I was hesitant about the mix with ginger. I gave it a try and thought it tasted just fine. It was quite concentrated and needed a fair dose of water to dilute its extreme sugariness. Similarly, Sdho’s Cucumber Mint choice sounded like it would be a little to hip and healthy, but it was quite surprisingly refreshing and subtly sweet. It didn’t taste overpoweringly like cucumber or mint, but it had a light mix of both flavors with a much lighter hint of sweetness (especially compared to the Peach Ginger one). It was definitely my favorite of the two.
The Nectarine Rice salad was mixed with bits of white cheddar cheese and mint. Although the rice was a bit firm with an almost nutty texture, the light sweetness of the nectarine and mint gave a freshness that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The Tomato and Avocado was mixed with some pine nuts and lime and pretty much tasted like a fresh and healthy guacamole mix. It tasted just fine, but I guess it just wasn’t as interesting as the other salads.
Although it looked rather wilted and unappetizing, the broccolini and yellow beets salad was surprisingly tasty. There were bits of feta, and I think there was supposedly some Hungarian paprika, but it didn’t tasty spicy as much as savory.
The Sweet potatoes were mixed with pistachio, and I would say it was probably my least favorite. It still tasted very good, but I think it was a little too starchy for my liking.
The red beets and pickled onions were tossed in a hazelnut vinaigrette, and although it wasn’t particularly different in terms of flavor, I still quite enjoyed it.
With a mix of achiote salmon, white corn and green tomatoes, I thought this would taste better than it did. It wasn’t bad by any means, but the salmon gave everything a mushier texture in spite of the crunch from the lime-chili corn nuts. It was still an interesting flavor combination even if it wasn’t as good as the others.
The cauliflower was seasoned with some light curry powder seasoning, and the raisins added a touch bit of sweetness. It really tasted like this was one of the more healthier salad choices.
I think I really liked this choice, because of its distinctly Asian flavor profile. The drunken soy chicken, soba noodles and peanuts were lightly mixed with a creamy sesame dressing. It was a familiar taste, and one that I found very satisfying.
I was helpless against the intoxicating essence of lemon truffle oil that was used in the Israeli Couscous. Although subtle, the truffle oil blended so splendidly with the wild mushrooms and couscous that the bits of parmesan cheese didn’t even both me. The Israeli version of couscous was much tastier than normal couscous as it seems more substantial in taste, kind of like mini pasta balls.
I had never seen a watermelon radish in my life, so I was utterly fascinated by how pretty this particular salad looked. The radish seriously looked like watermelon slices and the black sesame seeds only enhanced the optical illusion. Although there were a few bitter ones in the bunch, the watermelon radish seemed to soak up the sesame-based dressing quite well and the addition of the of the ahi tuna, snap peas and ginger really completed the Asian twist on this dish. In addition to being truly delish, I thought this was probably the prettiest looking salad of the bunch.
All in all, I really thought this was a great little gem of an eatery especially for lunch time dining. I absolutely loved the variety of different salads that they offered, and I truly appreciated the ability to choose a variety of different salads. I actually think that it might not taste as good having to eat so much of just one salad choice. Nevertheless, I was pretty pleased with almost all of the salads. They were extremely fresh and the flavor combinations were spot on. Some of them were creative and others were at least solid. I definitely would love to come back and give the others a sampling.
9001 Beverly Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048
PAFO Ratings for Lemonade:
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 4 stars