Restaurant Review: Little Lion in South Ocean Beach

by on March 3, 2015 · 2 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

OB Little Lion jc avotoast

The avocado toast sandwich.

Restaurant Review by the Widder Curry

Little Lion
1424 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92107

I have been anticipating my first meal at the “Little Lion” ever since I heard it was getting ready to open. (The old “Belgian Lion” was always one of my favorite restaurants and I was sorry to see it close. )  For some reason it took me awhile to go the “Little Lion”, and it is taking me a longer time to write my review.

It seems that I have been celebrating my birthday forever, and the occasion presented itself, again, for my widow support group to join me into the venture of the “Little Lion.”  We went on a Friday morning, around 10:45am, and it was not crowded at all.  There were three tables being used, and because of the cold breeze no one was eating outside.

I have reviewed three separate restaurants at this location. It is a very small eatery; very limited room, but charming at the same time.  And…I was prepared to rave about the restaurant to everyone.  Writing this review is not an easy thing for me to do, for it is not going to turn out exactly the way I wanted it to do so.

OB Little Lion jc fruit

Farmers Market Fruit Bowl

But let me start by saying that the food was excellent.  It was tasty, and very well presented. But the menu is very limited; so limited that when Irene asked if she could have scrambled eggs instead of poached eggs she was told “ . . . .that the kitchen is so small I don’t think we can scramble  eggs for you because we don’t have any room.”

The waitress later came back to Irene and told her that the chef would, in fact, scramble the eggs for her, but when she was served her food she received a poached egg, albeit cooked hard.  When we received the bill Irene mentioned that she did not get the scrambled eggs and she received great apologies from the owner of the restaurant.  (BTW – There are no scrambled eggs on the menu.)

The breakfast menu consisted of 10 items, none of them “ordinary” breakfasts.  There were the poached eggs that were served on greens, French bread; Farmers Market Fruit Bowl with Lemon Curd and House made Whip ($8); Granola ($8); Chia Seed Pudding ($8); Local Avocado Toast ($9); Organic Egg salad on toast ($10)  Classic Croque Monsieur with Bechemal, Ham, Swiss with organic greens ($10) as well as another three breakfasts.  It should be pointed out that the items other reviewers have mentioned – baked eggs, Belgium waffles, Eggs Benedict,  etc. are only available on the Saturday and Sunday brunch menu.

OB Little Lion jc chpsSas

home potatoes with 2 sauces

Ro had the avocado toast sandwich, which was very tasty and presented attractively. It had the avocado on French bread, and served with homemade ketchup, garlic aoile, watermelon radish, rainbow carrots, mixed greens and red onion.

I ordered the Farmers Market Fruit Bowl that had an excellent lemon curd, with slices of ripe fruit presented in a circular motion.

Both Irene and Candy had the poached egg plate, that was also served with a variety of organic greens on French toast and fresh fruit.  Both Irene and Candy were somewhat puzzled about how to go about eating the toast, because it was too hard to cut through.  It was not stale; just the typical French toast density.  We shared an order of the home potatoes and they were very good; served hot; with two sauces, and plenty for a table of four.

So, Curry, you say, if the food was good and presented well, what is your beef about the place?

OB Little Lion jc greens

poached egg plate

Let me tell you.  For starters, the table cloth was not very clean.  When I ordered my chai tea, it was served to me in a cup without a plate and a spoon that was dirty.  It was obvious it was dirty when it was brought to me because there were coffee grounds in the bowl of the spoon.  Coffee was also served without a plate and with a spoon, and after we all stirred our beverages, there was no place to put the spoon down, except on the tablecloth!  And then when we were poured a second cup – well, you can see where this is going and I’ll spare you the crummy details.

The Mexican music from the kitchen was out of place in this atmosphere. I am not sure if it was music the chef was listening to, or it was supposed to be for the diners, but with the noise from the fan (air conditioning) and the music it was distracting.

Although the waitstaff appeared to be very accommodating – the scrambled eggs, for example – the fact that Irene didn’t get that order is disconcerting.  And even though there was an apology at the end of the $56.16 + tip meal, it did not give us a satisfying feeling.

If you are looking for a “Denny’s” type meal, forget it. This is not the place for you.

It is a somewhat pricy, small portioned restaurant that caters to the more discriminate diner. I do not think I would go back for a Monday-Friday meal, but I might go back to try some of the items on the brunch menu.  Once again I need to say that the food was good; served well, but not particularly filling for a breakfast and there were areas that need to be improved upon.  It will certainly appeal to many; just don’t expect a typical breakfast fare.

Editor: See Matt Wood’s introductory article on the 3 sisters who opened the Little Lion.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Sammy March 3, 2015 at 3:27 pm

Frankly my Dear, The Little Lion is much ado about nothing.
Well, at least, very little. An OK concept but…… Bring $$$ and then an extra sandwich to eat on your way home !!!!! Bring your own plastic ware too!

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Avatar Ro March 4, 2015 at 8:56 pm

I was disappointed at the slow service as well Judi. It wasn’t busy and there was sufficient servers, but they just were very efficient. My cup of coffee too a while and then arrive lukewarm. They just seems to be very disorganized.

The food really was tasty and it gave me a chance to try veggies I’d never tasted before, but prices were high for what we received.

Happy birthday anyway Judi!

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