After opening their doors in 2011, serving breakfast and lunch, Leo and Lily has finally received their long awaited beer and wine license. In honor of this accomplishment they built a dinner menu with complimentary beer and wine, and opened their doors to the public on March 1st for their first ever dinner service.
Upon arrival we were offered either an outdoor or indoor seat, both simplistic and still in ‘diner’ mode – no linens, no decorations, and very basic furniture. After taking our seats one of the owners presented us with the new menu and informed us the pre-selected items would come out of the kitchen but we were welcome to order off the menu as well. We sat with our glass of house red and waited for the food to come out.
Leo and Lily is a small restaurant situated in the heart of Woodland Hills honoring European and Mediterranean flavors from fresh organic ingredients.
The first item that was served was a gluten-free vegetarian dish of traditional falafal with pickled veggies, sweet potato hummus, pita and a tahini dipping sauce. The falafal balls were very light and delicious, a nice chunky texture on the inside and light green and bright in color. The pickled veggies were a good contrast to the very light falafal. The tahini was borderline too thin as it wasnt sticking to any of the food. There was a hint of garam masala on the falafal themselves. The pita, which I assume were made from a wheat substitute to eliminate the gluten, was slightly chewy but the humus was quite refreshing.
The second dish was chicken and turkey meatballs with orzo. The lemon in the meatballs was very overpowering, and the side of orzo was also heavy in citrus. The dish was made from avgolemono which is a soup/sauce made from chicken stock, egg yolk and lemon juice. While this traditionally makes the meatballs very tender, the meatballs were much denser than normal which is surprising given that turkey meat is very soft. Unfortunately with the orzo also having a strong citrus flavor there was no contrast to the meatballs and the orzo.
These first two dishes were on the house and we then asked for assistance on what to order from the menu in order to get the best well-rounded perspective on the menu. What was recommended to us was the cauliflower crispy treats. The cauliflower was lightly battered with chickpea flour batter, and made to order. Honestly there wasnt anything popping out on the flavor palette and the beets and feta did not seem to do anything for the dish either. It was quite surprising to have this be the one item the waitress suggested we try before calling it a night.
There were other tables ordering a variety of items off the menu which looked good. The menu is a mix of European and Mediterranean food along with the good ol’ American burgers and salads. While I am hopeful that their menu will be trimmed down and refined, I dont know that I will be going back for dinner any time soon.