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DineLA 2009: Circa 55

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Circa 55, our first DineLA lunch, was pure serendipity. After covering the Oscars luncheon at the Beverly Hilton, I wandered downstairs to my old standby, Trader Vics. But my commitment to DineLA soon lured me over to the classy yet casual Circa 55. The design is reminiscent of a mid-century modern living room, uncluttered and airy, with sunlight streaming through the windows.

The way the chatty server fusses over you makes you feel like you are being waited on by your mother. She never crosses the line into being intrusive, and her concerned questioning makes you feel kind of warm and fuzzy. Were I a stranger to the city traveling miles from home, the care and attention would be more than comforting.

The DineLA menu is offered with the regular menu, and not only explained, but practically recommended. The options are appealing and varied. They also offer vegetarian options, which is noticably rare with this year's DineLA. There are a few minor issues with the unwieldniness of some dishes, but portions are generous, desserts are heavenly, and if you ask nicely your server might tell you stories about the Hollywood stars that used to frequent the Beverly Hilton way back when. Esther Williams likes her Chardonnay by the pool, but you didn't hear it from me.

More DineLA 2009 on LAist: The First Bite, SimonLA, Campanile, Locanda del Lago., Thousand Cranes, Asia de Cuba, Water Grill, Dakota.