Le Saint Amour

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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.


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