A Taste of Manhattan at 59th & Lex Café

59th & Lex recreates a bygone era of tasteful lunching while shopping.

No, you don’t have to wear white gloves to 59th & Lex Café, inside Bloomingdale’s at Sherman Oaks’ Westfield Fashion Square. But the little restaurant named for the address of Manhattan’s flagship Bloomingdale’s store (at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue since 1886) conjures nostalgia for an era when a day of shopping meant chic dresses, hats and a stop for a relaxing luncheon instead of flip-flops, food courts and iPhones.

Maybe this era never existed in Valley malls—but 59th & Lex is a great place to pretend. Even the New Yorker cartoons framed on the walls feature characters in winter coats to make you forget the California sunshine outside.

You’ll spend a little more at 59th & Lex than you would outside at the food court, but sometimes it's nice to have a waiter who smiles, hovers and just won’t forgive himself for forgetting the shredded cheese that goes with your cream of broccoli soup. The menu includes salads such as steak and quinoa and mango chicken, burgers, pastas and specialty plates including tandoori salmon and coulotte steak (the restaurant is open until 9 p.m.).

The Sauce tried the Flagship Trio Platter—half a salad sandwich (your choice of egg, chicken, tuna), soup or green salad and, oddly, frozen yogurt. This dessert mystery was solved when I discovered that frozen yogurt has been served at the flagship store’s Forty Carrots restaurant for decades. I chose the basic chocolate soft-serve (the other choice was tart plain). Toppings are extra. Not really a revelatory addition in SoCal, land of Extreme Yogurt shops, but dessert-included provides the perfect excuse to eat it.

My chicken salad on toast was lovely and light, and the soup delicate and flavorful with or without the cheese. One note: During most of a recent lunch, the clientele was exclusively female. While finishing my yogurt, one man (with woman) showed up. He spent most of his time texting.

14006 Riverside Drive, 818-325-2200

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