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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

A Company of Pleasant Surprises

March 07, 1986|RUTH REICHL

It doesn't look very promising from the outside. But when you open the door to Partners and Company, (1836 Hyperion Ave., (213) 661-0711) you find yourself in a large, lovely airy room, done in shades of peach and filled with plants and flowers. Pick up the menu, and you get another surprise: While both the ambiance and the menu are quite sophisticated, the prices are extremely reasonable.

At lunchtime a tuna sandwich virtually redefines the term. Nestled between two slices of toasted bread is a simply grilled piece of fish slathered with indecently delicious homemade garlic and saffron mayonnaise. Good shoestring potatoes and something called "pickled tomatoes" share the plate. There is a fine fat hamburger, to which you can add all sorts of things like bleu cheese, grilled Maui onions, avocado or bacon. There are soups and salads and pasta dishes as well.

At night the entrees, which are in the $10 range, come with soup or salad. All are generously served. There is spicy fried chicken (mysteriously puffed up to almost mythic size), grilled fish, moist turkey served with a mousse of corn and wild rice and a skinny slice of blackened prime rib.

At the moment the food is good, but more enthusiastic than polished. This is not a place that you'd want to drive to from the Westside. But for anybody in the neighborhood this new Silver Lake restaurant is a very welcome addition.

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