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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Not Your Ordinary Diner

November 07, 1986|RUTH REICHL

"Patrick Terrail may have made Astroturf chic at Ma Maison," the man at the next table was saying, "but I don't know if he'll be able to pull off this diner stuff." But there was Terrail himself presiding over the hilarity at his new Hollywood Diner (945 N. Fairfax Ave., (213) 655-7051), sitting down with the customers, helping himself to their food, shouting jokes at them through an enormous old bullhorn. He, at least, seemed to be having a wonderful time.

This is not, obviously, your ordinary diner. It has valet parking. It takes credit cards and reservations. It has caviar (with miniature pancakes and sour cream), fresh oysters and sauteed shrimp sprinkled among the hamburgers, hot dogs and pork chops. Unfortunately, what it does not seem to have at the moment is very good food: nothing that I tasted, be it haute or humble, was very impressive.

Le tout L.A. has been waiting for months for this place to open, and now that it has, they have descended en masse. It's too much too soon--the Diner needs a few more weeks to get its act together.

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