Sunday, May 14, 2006

Taste test: What's up, Tiger Lily?


salmon dynamite

I'll try not to hold it against the new Los Feliz restaurant Tiger Lily that they stole the name of a perfectly good Woody Allen movie (ok, my dad produced it, but still). Kathy and I decided to try Tiger Lily for some some drinks and appetizers before a full-moon hike in Griffith Park. The huge space, formerly home to the Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop, has a spare Asian look now, with an open ceiling and a larger patio. The small room which used to be the bar is now the main dining room with comfy booths, while the large room is more loungey with an illuminated bar.

The food: The menu is Asian fusion with a few Indian/Malaysian touches (the owner also owns East India Grill). We asked if they had any special cocktails, but the recommended saketinis didn't tempt us, so we ordered unfiltered sake, a salmon dynamite appetizer, miso-marinated black cod and a "crispy beef salad."
The salmon dynamite was about what you'd expect -- mayonnaisey, spicy, tasty if you like that sort of thing. But there was no sign of the crispy rice cake it was supposed to rest on, just a clump of loose sushi rice. We enjoyed the black cod, also served on sushi rice, although I think that dish is hard to mess up. The crispy beef salad was less successful -- although the baby greens and curry-flavor dressing were fine, there were only a few tiny shreds of some sort of deep-fried beef substance present -- more of a beef garnish than an actual ingredient. And the generic won ton strips that top the salad don't win any prizes for originality.
By the time we left, the cavernous space was starting to fill up, but it's hard to see how they're going to keep a place that size full -- I guess they're expecting a large late-night bar crowd. Some interesting cocktails or a happy hour promotion would certainly help interest the neighborhood.
Verdict: I'm not sure I'll be back to try the main dishes (in the $20-$30 range), since the food seems like pretty generic sweet, crispy Asianish food, but it's a perfectly fine place if you need to meet, oh, 50 people or so for a drink.
Tiger Lily (open 11:30 am to 1:30 am daily)
1745 N. Vermont
(323) 661-5900

7 comments:

Erin S. said...

aha! This will probably sound weird, but I thought that may have been you sitting next to my husband and me on Friday night at Tiger Lily. We, too, were underwhelmed by the food and put off by the emptiness of the cavernous space. Though it's just down the street from us, so maybe we'll stop again for drinks...

Naama said...

As long as you're in Los Feliz, have you tried San Sui on Hillhurst? They stole my heart with the first bite of Spanish Mackerel...

Anonymous said...

the space is too big and so is the menu. i had a weird experience there. there was a drunk guy at the bar who was literally sleeping his chair. he ended up getting into a confrontation with anohter guy and threw a glass beer mug on the floor. and everyone just stood around dumbfounded. no one ejected him. i'm not paying $11 for a martini to be in that kind of place.

marissa said...

there's also a "VIP" room behind the bar. a friend and I were given a tour by a friendly waiter who told us they didn't want to be an "it" spot and then proceeded to define that: paris hilton is a no-no, danny masterson, however, would be acceptable. we thought they have a long way to go before there is ever a chance either one would go there.

Anonymous said...

My friends and I went Saturday night for an event at The Tiget Lily. The event was a bust only due to a third party promoting, but we were ENTHRALLED with the restaurant! We sat in the VIP room and had some of their amazing cocktails and mouth watering appetizers. You must try their shrimp eggrolls and calamari. The pot stickers were out of this world. One of my friends "does not like seafood" and she could not get enough of the popcorn shrimp!!!! It had just enough sweetness yet a real extra "kick"! The staff was fantastic! The owner and executive chef were genuine and thoughtful. Our waiter Evan was so attentive and charming. It was a much needed girls night out and Tiger Lily gave us the atmosphere we needed and wanted! We live in South Orange County but we are already planning our next trip for that popcorn shrimp!!

Anonymous said...

The food is good, but there is NOTHING on the menu for those counting calories-all fried or creamy.

Anonymous said...

We ate a ver disappointing meal at Tiger Lily. We tried the vegetarian plate as well as the shrimp skewers & a bowl of their miso. Everything tasted as if it had been cooked in the washing water. I can't describe it others than a very strange aftertaste in all the dishes that really lingered, and no it was not a spice. It just tasted like poor quality. Also I sent back my fish because it tasted & smelled of ammonia, a sure sign of bad fish. I was bummed since it looked cool from the outside. However, I echo everyone else's comments regarding it being to large of a space for the small crowd that was inside