1/07/2013 01:49:00 PM

Best Thing We Ate This Weekend: An Array of Mezze at Cleo

We learned a valuable lesson this weekend. When going to a sold-out movie at the Arclight in Hollywood, do not write off a restaurant like Cleo, which is always packed packed to the gills when go in, for a quick meal before the feature begins. If you go before 8 PM even on a Saturday night, there's a good chance the place is almost empty, assuring you a seat at the bar and fast service. Considering its close proximity to the theater (walkable, even), we decided to stop in for some of the delicious flatbread,and dips, a couple of salads and a cocktail, and once again blown away by how good the food is here.

We tore into flatbread hot out of the wood-burning oven to dip in a smooth carrot-harissa dip and babaganoush. We ate handfuls of charred brussels sprouts leaves tossed with vinegar and almond slivers. The salads were fantastic, especially the gem lettuces layered with roasted pumpkin in a sweet and tangy vinaigrette. And the lamb kefte, sort of a spicy sausage kabob, was just enough meat to add to the mix. This is by far our favorite of the SBE-owned restaurants, if only because it's much more everyday than The Bazaar. If you plan it right, you can eat cheap too, with most dishes topping out around $15 or so. Add a couple cocktails, however, and you're racking up the bill. But hey, at least you won't need to eat crappy theater popcorn during Django.

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