Bouchon Beverly Hills

Restaurant: Bouchon Beverly Hills

Location: 11712 San Vicente Blvd.Brentwood, CA 90049 310.826.9222

Date: October 15, 2011

Cuisine: French Bistro

Rating: Good, but expensive

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In the last three-four years there’s been a bit of a French Food revival in Southern California, but the emphasis has been on Bistro fare. Of course this is consistent with the post-recession trend toward less formal restaurants anyway. Bouchon is the small-chain spawn for Thomas Keller, the highly acclaimed chef of The French Laundry.


Here is the brunch menu. My snapshot is still at the doctors (Canon service center) so this is a test run for the new iPhone4S camera. Better than its predecessor, but no match for either of my real cameras. The Photostream sync to the desktop is however, pretty sweet.


My obligatory cappuccino.


The Beverly Hills space is very pretty. Check out the bar (both raw and booze). Lobsters oversee the diners.


The elegant dining room has a very spacious, even Parisian feel.


The have good bread here, as well as amusements for the three-year-old set.


Pain Perdu” (i.e. french toast). Brioche toast with macerated strawberries, creme Chantilly & vermont maple syrup. I’m slightly confused about the strawberries, as these sure looked and tasted like apple. But it was good nonetheless.


“Chicken & Waffles. roasted chicken on a bacon & chive waffle with Tahitian vanilla bean butter and sauce chasseur.” The chicken was a nice bit of roast chicken. If the waffles had bacon and chive in them, I couldn’t tell.


It came with the butter, the gravy, and good maple syrup. I ended up shredding the chicken, cutting the waffles, and adding syrup. It was good, but not quite Roscoes.


Downstairs is the much anticipated takeout bakery.


Not a huge space.


Serving various classic pastries and some salads and sandwiches.


Salads, sandwiches, macarons, cookies, etc.


The breakfast pastries, like croissant and coffee cake. The chocolate croissant was good. The coffee cake and banana nut muffin were a bit dry. Really I expected more. I’ll have to try a lemon tart at some point.


A closeup of the macarons. I had one (passionfruit) and while large, and pretty good, it wasn’t as good as the divine Paulette Macarons (reviewed here).


Good luck trying to read this blurry iPhone photo.

Overall, while Bouchon and bakery were fine, they are very expensive and failed to wow me. The chicken and waffles was $27! This is almost triple Roscoes! I would have forgiven the prices if the food were superlative, but it was just good. Sorry Mr. Keller, you’re rep sets a higher bar.

For more LA dining reviews click here.

Quick Eats: Mon Ami Gabi

Restaurant: Mon Ami Gabi

Location: 7239 Woodmont Ave.  Bethesda, MD 20814. 301.654.1234

Date: Nov 29, 2010

Cuisine: French Bistro

 

Out with friends in Bethesda we checked out this small chain French Bistro.  After 10-20 years out of favor the bistro seems to have returned in spades.

An “Amuse” of marinated carrots, quite nice.

The menu.

Parker gives this a 92, “Potentially the finest Gigondas made here since their sublime 1978 (still going strong, by the way), the 2007 exhibits gorgeously sweet black currant, kirsch, and mineral notes intermixed with hints of cigar box and forest floor. Full-bodied with elegance married to considerable substance and power, a beautifully textured mouthfeel, and a long, heady finish, this will be a long-lived Gigondas. Give it 2-3 years of cellaring and enjoy it over the following 15 years.”

The classic goat cheese salad.

Steak Bernaise for a young carnivore.

An excellent lump crabmeat cake. I don’t get enough of these out west.

My two-year-old’s grilled cheese and fries. He seemed to enjoy it.

French onion soup.

Steak frites. Lots of frites.

Bacon wrapped pork, with dijon mustard coated potatoes.

Breaded cod.

With frites.

This was a solid place. Not blow-you-away, but good.

Quick Eats: La Cachette Bistro

Restaurant: La Cachette Bistro [1, 2]

Location: 1733 Ocean AveSanta Monica, CA 90401(310) 434-9509

Date: Nov 13, 2010

Cuisine: (Cal) French

Rating: Great food, good value for what you get.

 

We’ve been going to La Cachette in Century City for over 10 years. Last year, it closed and reopened in Santa Monica with a new format — and it’s a winner. The old restaurant had great food, but it was a little stuffy and very “gray hair.” The one is more casual, cheaper, closer (to us), and just all around more approachable. But the food is great. Less haute cuisine, more Bistro, but very good.

Again I forgot the medium sized camera so it was iPhone 4 to the rescue, I apologize for the mediocre photo quality as a result.

My dining partners wanted white. So for French, and white. In my cellar, there is is always Chablis. Parker gives this a 94-96, “From this cru’s steep, riverside slopes, the Fevre 2006 Chablis Bougros Cote de Bouguerots reveals its oak in lanolin, toasted almond, and spice aromas, along with notes of chalk dust, sweet lime, and heady, lily-like floral perfume. With enveloping richness, luscious juiciness, and flattering creaminess, yet underlain by a vivid sense of crushed stone, this saturates the palate so completely and intensely and with such a palpable sense of extract, that the finishing stain seems almost severe. This remarkably concentrated and polished wine should be worth following for 15 or more years. The 2005, too, is superb.”

Bread of course.

The menu top half. click to zoom.

And bottom. click to zoom.

“Organic Beet Tower with Feta Cheese, Avocado, Heirloom Tomato, Crispy Goat Cheese Ravioini and Cumin dressing.”
“Lightly Creamed Lobster Bisque, served with Rouille.” This bisque is a good compromise. While it might not be 100% as tasty as the fully creamed sort, it’s like 98%, and it doesn’t hit the gut so hard.
“Wild mushroom Risotto with Truffle Oil, Parmesan Cheese and Mushroom Sauce.”
“House smoked whitefish with potato salad, shallots and olive oil.” This vanished quickly off my wife’s plate. She declared: “I’d order it again.”
“Lamb stew with Merguez Sausage, Coucous, Root Vegetables and Harissa Broth.” This was very tasty. Tender lamb, yummy Moroccan sausage, a complementary broth.
They have really great traditional French deserts (and some newer types as well), but we were too full.
I highly recommend La Cachette Bistro. It’s modern French, done really well.