After trying Muddy Leek during Dine LA last week, I went back with a friend for lunch today. The house salad with arugula, baby beets, pistachios, and goat cheese is a fresh way to start your meal for $10.

Today’s salad special was made with avocado, mandarin orange segments, radishes, candied almonds, and arugula with a citrus dressing. No matter which salad you prefer, each is made with farm fresh produce and prepared with a light dressing which enhances the ingredients instead of masking or drowning them.

The special soup was chicken with a fermented cabbage (think of a mild version of kimchee). It’s a wonderfully hearty dish and I could have easily made this my meal. If you like hot & sour soup, you would probably enjoy this milder version made with chicken thigh meat. They also had a turnip puree and a sweet potato rosemary soup if you prefer other more vegetable based soups for $5.

I chose the leek and potato tart for $12 which came with a nicely dressed arugula salad. The tart needed some salt, and the crust was a bit underdone, but overall it was a pleasant vegetarian dish.

The hit of the meal was the grass fed sliders with wasabi aioli on brioche mini buns and sweet potato fries for $14. We asked for extra rare and got it :) The excellent buns with just the right amount of aioli to slider ratio made this the perfect small bite (two 4 oz sliders). Sweet potato fries were a nice creative variation on the standard fries that accompany burgers.

The warm chocolate cake with freshly made whipped cream for $7 was such a delight that I actually ate more than one spoonful! The consistency of the warm cake with chocolate sauce and freshly whipped cream made this about as close to perfection as I have eaten in a chocolate dessert. Not too sweet and not too rich, but sweet and rich enough to satisfy a dessert lover (my friend the former pastry chef)!

The decor is modern with music by Nina Simone, and outdoor seating on warmer days makes this a perfect spot for a lazy afternoon, especially if you can stop by for happy hour between 4-6pm when they serve bites like pizzettes and merguez “hot dogs”.

Eating in a place which embraces local organic and sustainable ingredients with servers like Sergio providing the paradigm of excellent service makes Muddy Leek a wonderful stop next time you’re shopping at nearby Surfas for that must have gourmet spice or gadget.

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