Papilles Bistro – Tantalize Your Tastebuds

If you blink, you may not see the sign for Papilles Bistro. Driving on Franklin near the 101 freeway, we spotted this newer restaurant tucked away in a small strip mall between the historic Castle Argyle and Hollywood Tower building. The restaurant is tiny, yet serves delicious California cuisine with a French flair.

The owners are two, young, local guys who met while attending Loyola High School. Oenophile Santos Uy is the owner and wine director at Papilles. He grew up in La Cañada and graduated from USC. He worked in various restaurants around Los Angeles including Silverlake Wines, and the hip AOC restaurant.

The amiable Executive Chef, Tim Carey, is from Pasadena. After a few years of college, he realized he wanted to be a chef and attended culinary school. His first restaurant job was working in San Diego at the Point Loma Fish Market. Later, he moved to Los Angeles and acquired his French culinary skills at Joachim Splichal’s Patina under the direction of Executive Chef Tony Esnault.

Carey and Uy met up when Uy considered becoming a chef. After shadowing Carey for a few days, Uy changed course and propositioned Carey to be the Executive chef at his restaurant. The two opened Papilles in Hollywood in Dec. 2011.It’s a quaint and comfortable restaurant with a small chalkboard menu hanging on a wall. Local hipsters living around Beachwood Cyn. frequent the bistro often. On the night we dined, they had a sell-out rehearsal dinner until 8:30 p.m. We waited a few minutes for all of the guests to leave and the tables be reset for a second wave of dinners.

Once inside we took a table near the open kitchen and looked at the limited, prix-fixe menu. Diners may choose from two of the listed appetizers, three entrée choices and two desserts. That’s it! The three-course meal changes weekly and is between $30 to $40. The evening we dined, it was $36.

Carey, wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers hat, shared that he frequents the Pasadena Farmers’ Market at Victory Park on Sat., the Hollywood Farmers’ Market on Sunday and the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market on Wed. His menu is market-driven and changes weekly. The food tantalizes your tastebuds with all of the fresh ingredients.

I started with the velvety smooth tomato with basil velouté soup. A small red colander with slices of delicious French bread was delivered to our table. The thin slices were soft in the middle with a crunchy crust. It was ideal to dip into the slightly sweet soup.

My husband’s salad arrived with slices of bright orange cantaloupe melon decorated with curly frissée and thinly sliced chorizo. The chorizo was a savory choice to liven the salad up. Our appetizers paired nicely with a glass of sparkling Le Canon a Bulles wine. Uy explained that the wine didn’t finish its fermentation, so it had a nice bubbly fizz to it. It’s made from 100 percent Eastern French grapes.

Papilles offers a small selection of natural French wines along the back wall. They can be ordered by the glass or bottle. With Uy’s background, he confidently brings out the best wines to enhance each dish.

He poured a Rose from Domaine du Pas de L’Escalette and a 2010 Le Rocher des Violettes 2010 La Negrette from the Loire Valley. Both went nicely with our entrées. My Bouride (Provençale fish soup) was loaded with black cod, clams, market squid, baby octopus bathed in a clear fennel broth.

My husband chose the sliced duck breast with tomatoes, potatoes and brussel spouts resting on top of a ruby-red cactus flower sauce. It was beautifully presented.

Click here to continue reading my review of Papilles. Published on 8/23/2012, courtesy of the Beverly Press.

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