Le Saint Amour

Posted in French on February 3rd, 2011 by Yelena – Be the first to comment

January 30, 2011 at Le Saint Amour in Culver City, CA

dineLA part II
Surrounded by neighborhood boutiques and cafes, this inviting little French Bistro had alot to offer. High vaulted white ceilings, white table cloths, bright lighting and French painting screamed classic Parisian style. Our party of 4 was seated at one of the many very crammed tables along the wall; you could easily eavesdrop on surrounding conversations as you wait to be served. Needless to say the place had just enough energy and buzz about it to provide an enjoyable experience. So far so good.

Wine: bottle of French Rosé. Light. Crisp. Medium-sweet. So good, we had to order a second bottle.

Food: the authentic French menu was a bit overwhelming. It had everything between French onion soup to Escargots to Duck Confit to Beef Bourguigno. Luckily dineLA menu limited me to only 9 choices.

Appetizers: Endive Salad was fresh, light and crunchy tossed with Champagne vinaigrette and candied walnuts. Nice start to the meal. Terrine de Foie Gras was served on a toasted brioche with a side of green salad. The Foie Gras, served with touch of jam was just excellent. Both dishes were delicious and full of flavor.

Main Course: While we each had ordered our own main course, I will only discuss the two dishes I enjoyed the most. Jarret de Porc – braised, slow-cooked pork served with butternut squash and pepper sauce. YUM is all I can say. The pork was cooked so tender, falling off the bone, melting in your mouth. Had it not been for the overly sweet butternut squash, the dish would have been a perfection.

Beef Bourguignon (also called Beef Burgundy) is a traditional French stew with beef cheeks braised in red wine, flavored with garlic, carrots, onions, mushrooms and gnochi. The waiter raved and raved about this dish, yet something about it was just not right. Sure the dish came in a large, hearty portion, but I found the beef to be a bit too fattening and the broth a bit too runny and the gnochi (the one ingredient I was so excited about) a bit too dry.

Overall: Wether it was the great company or the two bottles of wine or the chocolate dessert, our evening was a great success. I must, however, talk about the awfully slow service. Not only was the staff very casually dressed, which in fact took away from the overall appearance of the restaurant, but to flag down a staff member was almost impossible. Of course I understand that dining at an authentic French restaurant comes with the authentic French service, but waiting almost an hour for appetizers is just plain ridiculous. All I can say is that we were very close to walking out … fortunately, we stayed to try the deliciousness of this French kitchen.


RH in WeHo

Posted in French on January 28th, 2011 by Yelena – Be the first to comment

January 26, 2011 @ RH in West Hollywood, CA – a group of 4 of us came here for dineLA.

Located on the lower level of Andaz Hotel, RH is a hip, sophisticated restaurant with a warm vibe of a chic, modern lounge. We were seated inside a round booth cushioned with decorative pillows overlooking a beautiful, large, open kitchen.  Oh how I would love a kitchen like that inside my house! And the glass showcase of wine bottles! Marvelous!

After our surprisingly casually-dressed waiter explained our menus, a plate of assorted veggies (radishes, carrots, cherry tomatoes) served with a side of ranch dressing, followed by slices of warm bread and butter. Honestly, the veggies were dry, bland and not extremely appetizing. We did enjoy the bread while we waited.

$40 bottle of Pinot Grigio and on to the food:

Appetizers:  I decided to order the Roasted Holt Farm Beet Salad. The colors of the salad were wonderful. Dark red beets, pink beets (at first they appeared to be tomatoes), fresh radish and light vinaigrette. I love beets; however, I wanted the salad to taste as great as it looked … I did manage to taste the other two appetizers on the menu. Both the Mussels and the Foie Gras left me craving more of the much needed authentic French taste.  Main Course: Field Mushroom Risotto with Black Truffle Sauce. Just hearing risotto and truffle sauce in the same sentence makes me salivate. I couldn’t wait to try this dish. Came topped with Parmesan cheese and arugula, the risotto hit the spot. Every bite accentuated the mix of truffle and cheese – pure genius! I also had the pleasure to taste the Perigord Cassoulet. More of a hearty dish – duck confit, pork sausage, pork belly, bean stew – yet so simple and elegant in presentation. I’m usually very picky when it comes to eating beans, but this stew of white beans was fantastic. Duck confit was falling off the bone, tender and juicy, which the sausage and pork belly giving the dish enough fat to satisfy all cravings. Wonderful, wonderful dish. I want the bean recipe!  Dessert: While usually my favorite part of the meal, the Chocolate Pie & Frozen Praline Bar fell just a bit short of my standards bar. It was ok. It was not awful, but it just wasn’t great. The presentation was simple and so was the chocolate mousse placed in a thin pie crust.