Pairing a good time at the theater with a good meal is one of the pleasures at the Pasadena Playhouse now that Elements Kitchen has moved next door. This is an excellent place to dine before or after a show. The menu is bold and creative, made with seasonal ingredients. My husband and I had sampled their food before at assorted receptions in the past, but we decided it was time to have a real meal and what a deal it was.
Read the menu carefully because when they say crab cake, they really do mean one–uno. The crab and corn cake ($16) was a single crab cake that comes on top of an ample bed of crispy calamari salad, rouille, pepperoncini and cherry peppers. The crab cake had good taste but the corn gave it a bready texture. We would have appreciated two crab cakes more than the bed of calamari.
The dish that stuck in our minds days after this meal was the mouth-watering lamb burger and polenta fries ($18). The lamb patty was decorated with homemade lamb bacon, goat cheese, harissa aioli and ketchup and grilled peppers. This has all the taste of a good lamb chop with the easy eating of a hamburger. The goat cheese, grilled peppers, and especially the lamb bacon all are exquisitely chosen to enhance to flavors.
Another memorable dish was the soy caramel glazed salmon ($29). The salmon is glazed with miso citrus emulsion, and ornamented with a shiitake gyoza, all over crispy sweet rice and ginger cake, with a touch of togarashi (Japanese red pepper). Don’t worry. It’s not too spicy. If anything it was a bit too sweet. The sweet glaze is amply applied to the salmon. If that is a little too heavy and sweet, take some of it off. The crispy rice cake adds a unique crunch with each savory bite.
The menu has so many interesting choices, we can’t wait to return for another round. We hope that the Playhouse with draw traffic to this wonderful restaurant and this wonderful restaurant will draw traffic to the Pasadena Playhouse.
- Elements Kitchen
- 37 S El Molino Ave.
- Pasadena, CA 91101
- phone: 626.440.0044
- fax: 626.440.0130
- Monday – Thursday & Sunday: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
- Friday & Saturday: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
- Saturday – Sunday: 11:00 am – 2:30 pm
- Bar Service
- Monday – Sunday: 5:00 pm – 12:00 am