Elements Kitchen

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This outpost of Old Pasadena’s Elements Café occupies a light and roomy space beside the courtyard of the moribund Pasadena Playhouse. The menu scrambles from crispy fried chicken livers to Vietnamese steamed sablefish to frisée and Scotch duck egg salad. The variety’s nice, but the kitchen could use more focus. The triple oxtail consommé is rich and flavorful, and the PF&J (pistachio butter, foie gras torchon, and jellied sauterne) has a tasty balance of sweet and savory. Still, we’d be happy for more flavor from the flank steak and the kimchi tacos and for a better fit between the seared black cod fillet and its bed of feisty Basque chorizo pipérade. » 37 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena (626-440-0044 or elementskitchen.com). L Tue.-Fri.; D Tue.-Sun. Full bar. New American    $$$ 

Photograph courtesy elementskitchen.com