New Year’s Eve with Señor Fred

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Location: 13730 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks

With the Christmas season and our Carmel getaway behind me, one last important celebratory holiday milestone to go – New Year’s Eve. My boyfriend and I decided to keep it very low key this year, with an intimate dinner at Señor Fred Restaurant in Sherman Oaks; followed by a casual movie night at home with a Martinelli’s Apple Cider toast at midnight.

Señor Fred offers a perfect dark sexy ambiance, balanced with delectable Mexican cuisine. Since it was New Year’s Eve, the expectation was that every restaurant in town was going to be pretty packed. God bless Open Table! We put in for an 8:00pm reservation and when I called the restaurant to check to see if they were only serving a prix-fixe menu or if patrons could order from the regular menu as well, I was less than enthused by the guy who answered the phone. He wasn’t rude exactly, but told me that he thought he had blocked off all Open Table reservations during the 8 o’clock hour, so that people entering after 9:00pm would be charged the $10 cover for the night.

I almost wanted to cancel my reservation altogether when he told me that as long as we were done between 9:30pm-10:00pm it should be fine. While this seemed like plenty of time to finish our meal, the fact that he even communicated a time limit made me nervous. The idea of being rushed to accommodate the fact that he screwed up with the reservation system should not have even come up in the conversation.  Bottom line: that was between him, Señor Fred, and Opentable.com.

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{Margarita selection.}

While Señor Fred certainly didn’t make the best first impression, or second for that matter when there was a slight mix-up in where to seat us, by the third impression – once the chips and guacamole came out, Señor Fred had begun to redeem himself. From there, the night went flawlessly (minus some service issues from a seemingly distracted, but pleasant waiter).

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{Chips and guacamole. Divine.}

I went with the Grilled Salmon infused with Mexican flair served in a roasted chile cilantro sauce, over sweet corn, shrimp picadillos and mashed potatoes. For dessert, I splurged on the Chanpurrado con Churros (translation: churros served with Mexican Hot Chocolate). Fabulous! 🙂

Needless to say, this gal was more than impressed with the food and the ambiance for her last meal of 2012; but service, service, service always brings the dining experience to absolute perfection. Senor Fred can cook, but he seriously needs some help on his people skills.

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{Dinner: Grilled Salmon.}

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{Dessert: Mexican Hot Chocolate and Churros.}

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{Back at home – N.Y.E. toast.}

Sfixio, Beverly Hills

Location: 9737 Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills

A night out with the girls for dinner. A new dress. An Italian restaurant. Beverly Hills. Free Parking. All the makings for a perfect Saturday night.

To celebrate a friend’s birthday, 9 of us met up at Sfixio located on little Santa Monica Boulevard just past Wilshire. I was elated that parking turned out to be a breeze. After 6:00pm the parking structure no longer uses the meters. Score!

Alternating neon lights over the outside restaurant signage draw you in as you walk into a 2 story dining room dressed completely in white. The ambiance: sexy low lighting, candles on the table, and music at an appropriate level (meaning I didn’t have to yell at my friends over dinner and end up sounding chain-smoking-hoarse the next day).

I went with the Salmone ai 3 pepi con Patate in Crosta. Translation: Grilled salmon topped with a mini potato hash brown looking thing, with a side of asparagus and spinach. Things always sound better in Italian.

While it took forever to get appetizers and then the main course, it allowed us gals plenty to time to catch up. I was slightly disappointed with the speed of service, but learned from my more well-traveled friends that this is likely intentional, attributed to a more European way of dining where it’s supposed to be more of a lengthy experience. I can appreciate that, but it seems to be pushing it to take almost an hour for 3 salads and a serving of calamari to come out – but you live and learn. I did think it was pretty cool that they make all of their pasta in-house from scratch.

You know me, I always L.O.V.E. checking out a new place so I’m glad we got to spend a night in “The Hills” supporting a small privately-owned restaurant run by a husband and wife duo. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be someplace I would likely ever go again. Since there are too many restaurants in the City of Angels to explore and a new one popping up every 5 minutes, I can’t say it left an impression on me in any special way. The positive experience came more from being with my girlfriends than in the dining itself. The food was delicious, but servings were small (not surprising); and the service (because we’re in L.A., not Italy) could be picked up some. Us L.A. gals have places to go, people to see, and things to do!

{Salmone ai 3 pepi con Patate in Crosta.}