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DineLA 2009: Water Grill

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The Water Grill in Downtown LA has a reputation for being a world-class seafood restaurant with accompanying prices to prove it. Since our budget runs more along the Red Lobster line, we jumped at the chance for the $44 DineLA* opportunity for a three-course Water Grill dinner. It’s practically a bargain, right?

Umm. Not really. While the wine menu offered a great selection of wines -- except the least expensive bottle was $40. So we opted for the bargain wines and specialty cocktails by the glass -- and limited ourselves to one each.

The service and decor were exactly what you’d expect from a swanky downtown restaurant that caters to business people on expense accounts, and so we were looking forward to the meal. It started off great when the waiters came around with tongs offering us a selection of olive, ciabbata or French bread. Fancy. (Much fancier than the cheddar cheese biscuits by the basket at Red Lobster -- although those are so so so tasty, too.)

Then it came to choosing our meals. This writer opted for the white chowder (normally $14 a bowl!), the California Pacific Ridgeback Swordfish and the blueberry mascarpone cake while two other dining partners opted for the other two appetizer choices, the sturgeon entree (who wants salmon at a restaurant like this?) and then red velvet pudding with mascarpone ice cream and sorbet sampler.