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Let's Eat Out

Deli Not a Classic, but It Brightens Downtown

October 09, 1986|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Lindsey's is as adequate as it can be for a Jewish deli in Los Angeles' downtown garment area.

Not that it's another Canter's, or even Nate 'N Al's (neither, in my opinion, comes close to the Carnegie Deli or Katz' in New York). Operated by Jeff Sundy, a native of South Africa, it is more like its sister (or brother) deli in Beverly Hills, the Bagel Nosh/Deli.

What that means is that the rye bread may not be the hard-core Jewish rye you expect, even though it is baked on the premises and is as fresh as the morning dew. The sandwiches, though completely adequate and fine, really don't have the usual high-rise factor going for them. The potato salad is much too weak a link in the lineup of deli items and needs to go back to the drawing boards.

But--and this is a big "but"--the place is the best thing that has happened in the area in a long time. There is nothing that comes close at the fast-food level nearby, in a district which has generally been regarded as a dining wasteland. (Except, of course, for the biggies--Seventh Street Bistro, Rex, the Tower and one or two others--that save it from oblivion.)

Lindsey's is attractive, beautifully laid out in its black and white high-tech motif, terribly clean and filled with the beautiful people from the fashion world.

Some of the food, too, is excellent. The pastrami outdoes Canter's and Nate 'N Al's, and perhaps even Katz's, though we would have do a serious blindfold study to be perfectly sure about it.

All the food is absolutely fresh and ample. There are even attempts to include expensive baby vegetables, such as baby yellow tomatoes and squash, in a pasta dish which, by the way, wasn't quite drained of the cooking water when it arrived packed like noodle kugel instead of fettuccine primavera. But it was tasty, anyway.

The salads--all--were so crisp-fresh, you could almost see them spring from the earth. And they were also adequate to the best of their ability. Not great, mind you, but quite nice. We had a lovely Chinese chicken salad that contained huge chunks of chicken, served with an excellent creamy French or Italian dressing. Couldn't tell which. The Lindsey's salad is also a bargain for the amount of fresh seafood--scallops, crab meat and shrimp--served with the vegetables and a so-so herb dressing.

There is a sandwich section on the menu called "Grilled Jaffles." The waffle-style sandwiches come filled with roast beef, ham and goat cheese, chicken Dijonnaise (with mustard sauce), tuna Nicoise or cheese and mushrooms, which gives you a good idea of the direction in which the menu points.

The sandwich go-with is a choice of the potato salad, coleslaw, which we haven't tried, and a rather sweetish cucumber-in-sour cream side dish, which we found OK.

There is an inadequate wine list of very ordinary California and Washington state wines. The restaurant really should consider expanding its selections.

The service people--at least those we met--were lovely and highly presentable. And so was Sundy, the personable owner who gives Lindsey's a pleasing human touch.

The place has an oyster bar serving clams, mussels, scallops and shrimp, a full bar, happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., a catering service, a bakery rolling out bagels, breads, croissants, Danish pastries, scones and delicious-looking cakes almost hourly, and a takeout counter.

Lindsey's Restaurant, 112 West 9th St , Los Angeles, (213) 624-6684. Open Monday through Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sunday. Major credit cards. Reservations accepted. Salads $3.75 to $ 7 .95; sandwiches from $1.95 (a plain hamburger is $3.95); appetizers $1.25 to $5.95.

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