Service from waiters in long-sleeved solid-colored shirts and ties is genial and relaxed. But the front of the house can be ditsy. Sometimes the welcome feels lukewarm, other times calculated.
With all that the new restaurant has going for it, it may not have enough action for the trendy Hollywood crowd and probably not enough for the fine-dining crowd either, who crave specials and tasting menus and more pomp and circumstance. This is not Citronelle or even the original Citrus but an abbreviated take on Michel Richard's cuisine performed by an excellent chef and his team. Even that is quite a lot, and Citrus at Social easily outshines most of the recent newcomers in town. There's not a boring dish on the menu. Well, maybe the lobster burger, but it does have its fans.
The surprise is coming out of the restaurant on a weekend night to the parade of girls in shivery dresses with no wraps and guys in leather jackets and hip-hop gear lining up to get into the club that occupies another part of the building. Two crowds, the dining and the club, passing in the night.
Citrus at Social
Location: Social Hollywood, 6525 Sunset Blvd. (at Schrader Boulevard), Hollywood; (323) 337-9797; www.citrusatsocial.com.
Ambience: Chic new iteration of the restaurant at Social Hollywood in the historic Hollywood Athletic Club building. Now it's all sunny citrus colors with mirrored columns and a stunning frescoed ceiling. The menu is from consulting chef Michel Richard (now of Citronelle in Washington, D.C.), one of the best chefs in the country. As executed by chef Remi Lauvand, the food is witty and polished.
Service: Genial and attentive.
Price: Appetizers, $10 to $21; main courses, $29 to $46; sides, $8; desserts, $11 to $12.
Best dishes: Chicken "faux gras," onion tart, mussel chowder, mosaic carpaccio, cuttlefish carbonara, lobster with fennel, 72-hour short ribs, duck orange, mushroom vacherin, orange souffle, kit Kat Bar.
Wine list: Stronger on French and global selections than California ones. Corkage fee, $15.
Best table: One of the corner banquettes.
Details: Open for dinner from 6 to 11 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, until 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Full bar. Valet parking, $10.
Rating is based on food, service and ambience, with price taken into account in relation to quality. ****: Outstanding on every level. ***: Excellent. **: Very good. *: Good. No star: Poor to satisfactory.