Lemonade is a popular restaurant in Los Angeles. Chef/Founder Alan Jackson was a chef of fine dining cuisine which he left to start Lemonade. He and his wife were frustrated at the inconvenience of dining out, especially with a child. They sought to open a restaurant that made things more efficient while still maintaining a healthy quality menu.The chain has become a huge hit in SoCal and is now expanding up North. Lucky for us, Palo Alto’s location is open. Here’s my experience from the preview day the other week.
The restaurant is set up in a cafeteria style with areas called Marketplace, Leafy Greens, Land & Sea, Sandwiches, Hot Dishes, Dessert and Lemonade. You can skip any area and order any combination of food. The food is served by employees from behind a glass sneeze guard. Below I will list menu prices for each item, although for the media dinner, the combinations were set and the meal was complimentary.
($2.95) Watermelon radish with seared ahi tuna – The tuna pieces were larger than expected, which is a good thing, and the snow peas were nice and crisp. I wasn’t a huge fan of the watermelon radish in thin slices. They seemed to wilt as they had been sitting in the serving tray. Maybe a different veggie for this or a thicker cut. It was also a little bitter. I’m a big fan of watermelon radishes when they’re pickled.($2.95) Sesame marinated lo mien noodles – No complaints about the noodle. They were very satisfying. It’s a cold noodle salad.
($7.95) BBQ brisket – This item is from the hot bar and it’s really good. Very flavorful, good bbq sauce, and tender meat. I think the price for the portion size is steep. It only gets you this little bowl which is not filling and you will need to spend more money for sides.
($2.95) Chinese long beans – The beans were crunchy and the portion was hefty. I was very satisfied with this dish.
($2.95) Heirloom carrots – They also scooped a decent portion of the carrots. I love heirloom carrots. These were just a bit plain. I tasted more parsley and parmesan and less of the truffle and vinaigrette.
($6.95) Seared ahi tuna – Super satisfied with this item. The cuts are large and they gave me 3 slices. It was seasoned just right and the fish was fresh. My favorite item of the night.
(Top) Old Fashioned Lemonade ($3.50) and the dessert is Strawberry Smores ($6) in a jar – The dessert was too expensive and not very tasty. It’s hard to eat out of a jar too. I do recommend the classic lemonade. They do it well.
(Bottom) Guava Limeade ($3.50) and the dessert is a Chocolate Chip Cookie ($3) with a glass of blood orange sangria on the house – I didn’t taste much guava in my limeade and it was just ok. The cookie really hit the spot and was quite large and chewy.
The cafeteria style serving is an interesting concept. I like the convenience of skipping the line and choosing your food as you see it. This can lead to over ordering though which leads me to my biggest concern. The prices. A meal here can be cheap if you stick to the marketplace items. But I assume most of us need more, like protein or hot food, and those items are pricey. Lemonade has a variety of options that seem healthy and you can make a satisfying and meal if you don’t go overboard on quantity.