Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro

A few years ago while exploring Napa Valley, I visited Thomas Keller’s Michelin star awarded Bouchon Bistro in Yountville for lunch. The menu featured Keller’s roasted chicken, regarded by some as the best in the world. I still remember how I thoroughly enjoyed the crispy skin and moist meat paired with a glass of dry rose’ wine.
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Recently, I wanted to compare Keller’s chicken from the Yountville Bistro with his roasted chicken at Bouchon Beverly Hills. Located along the Beverly Canon Gardens and across from the Montage Beverly Hills, it’s a larger, more formal venue than his wine country restaurant. As my husband, daughter and I walked up the stairs to the large reception room, the hostess greeted and escorted us past the oval shaped pewter bar into the main dining room. Designed by Adam D. Tihany almost 10 years ago, the formal dining room’s classic features include high ceilings, colorful mosaic flooring, hand painted murals and antique lighting. Since it was a beautiful summer evening, we requested to sit at a table on the outdoor terrace overlooking the gardens and hotel.

Our waiter Claude, a consummate professional, has been at Bouchon Beverly Hills since the day it opened in 2009. “There are still five of us,” he said as he told us about the les plats du jour and the daily oyster selection from the raw bar.

Similar to the Napa location, a server arrives with a braid of warm crispy French bread perfectly accented with hints of sea salt. The bread’s soft air pockets offer perfect crevices to fill with French butter.IMG_4578

The menu features numerous hors d’ oeuvres. We chose the Oeufs Mimosa (deviled eggs) to start. The plate includes four delicate eggs with bright yellow creamy peaks topped with sprinkles of paprika, sliced chives and fried capers. I loved the crunch of the capers and thought the frying added a delicious nutty essence to the dish.

IMG_4579Next we ordered the confit de canard appetizer that was large enough for an entree. The beautifully cooked duck thigh and leg were crispy on the outside and tender inside and rested in a country-style stew of pearl barely mixed with sweet and soft carrots, al dente fava beans, beech mushrooms and a duck jus broth. I’m glad we still had some French bread to soak up the jus at the bottom of the bowl. I would definitely order this dish again.

As we looked over the menu to select entrees, we chose between a multitude of classic French dishes that included steak frites, roast leg of lamb, Loup de Mer, trout Amandine and mussels steamed in white wine.IMG_4583

Since the duck was larger than I had anticipated, I ordered one of the salads, an endive with watercress. When it arrived, it was sprinkled with small pieces of Roquefort cheese. This colorful salad was stacked with pale yellow and purple endive leaves, mixed with bright green watercress and half walnuts peeking in-between. I wish there were a few more Roquefort pieces, but the walnut vinaigrette glaze was light and full of earthy flavor.

IMG_4586Our daughter enjoyed the Le Burger Bouchon that arrived with a generous handful of crispy frites. She exclaimed, “Look how juicy this burger is Mom!” The grilled prime beef patty arrived open face with a large beefsteak tomato slice on top. With a choice of cheese to enhance the burger, she selected a Bleu cheese that had melted nicely on the beef patty. Crisp Bibb lettuce rested between the patty and pain au lait bun. The bun is not as rich as a brioche, yet a tad sweeter, made with honey, milk, and butter. The house pickle isn’t a typical dill spear, it’s slightly sweeter, similar to a cross between a dill and gherkin pickle.

IMG_4584My husband ordered Keller’s famous chicken served on petits pois a la Francaise (peas) cooked with bacon lardons and simmered in chicken jus. This is another dish to definitely save a piece of bread to soak up the jus at the end. It was as good as the chicken I remembered enjoying at Keller’s Yountville Bouchon.

Also in Yountville, Keller has Ad Hoc, which is known for his signature buttermilk fried chicken on the menu. To appease his Southern California fans, Bouchon Beverly Hills makes Keller’s crispy fried chicken every Monday. Sometimes Keller himself fries the chicken in the kitchen when he visits.

In addition to a comprehensive wine list and array of hand-crafted cocktails, Bouchon presents a unique “Vin de Carafe” program that highlights one-of-a-kind wines from some of California’s top wine producers.

IMG_4594We saved room for the strawberry rhubarb Mille Feuille made with flakey puffed pastry, and layered with vanilla diplomat creme, and a large teardrop of rhubarb compote next to a large scoop of fresh strawberry ice cream. It was heavenly and inspired us to walk down the stairs and visit Bouchon Bakery to buy some of the ethereal and flakey pastries to bring home to enjoy the following morning for breakfast.

During dineL.A. Restaurant Week from July 14-28 Bouchon Beverly Hills offer a lunch menu for $25 and a $49 dinner menu. $$ 235 N. Canon Drive (310)271-9910.

This was published in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News on July 13, 2017.

dineLA 2015 – Top Ten Lunch Spots

connie-and-ted-sConnie-Ted-sKick off the New Year with a resolution to eat better in 2015 by dining at various restaurants in LA that are serving menus on the “Resolve to Eat Better” theme. dineLA begins on January 19 – February 1, 2015 with over 300 new and returning restaurants offering fixed price lunch and dinner menus showcasing their best dishes.

This year, dineL.A. restaurant week is offering an exclusive dish only available dineL.A. and a menu that is 15% off the existing menu price. Diners will enjoy a lavish lunch menu for $15, $20, or $25 or plan a night out on the town with dinner options priced at $30, $40, or $50 per person. Follow dineL.A on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all updates and tag dineL.A. in social media posts during restaurant week to be entered to win dineL.A. for a year with fifty-two $50 gift cards, a total worth $2600, from a selection of participating restaurants.

Here are my Top Ten Favorites for Lunch:

a-o-c-suzanne_goin01.  a.o.c. – Acclaimed Chef Suzanne Goin serves up a two-course California-French style lunch for $25. Pair the lunch with Caroline Styne’s wine selection of organic, biodynamic and sustainable vintages. The menu features a choice of a cheese and cops plate, Spanish fried chicken or a small chopped salad with apple, bacon, walnuts and roquefort. The entree selection includes a Farmer’s lunch with winter vegetables, burrata and grilled toast or a roast turkey focaccia sandwich with a salad or fries. There is also a Torchio pasta dish. a.o.c. is located at 8700 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (310) 859-9859.

2. Blue Plate Oysterette is serving a two-course dineLA lunch for $25 that includes a choice of four appetizers: Chef’s blue-plate-oysterette-los-angelesIMG_64080Crudo plate, four oysters on the half-shell, Butter lettuce salad, or butternut squash soup with crabmeat. Next, select a crab or lobster roll, Branzino plate or Ahi or fish tacos. 8048 W. 3rd St. Los Angeles, (323) 656-5474.

3. Bouchon Bistro has a $25 three-course dineLA lunch that includes a soup of the day or two different salads. The salmon tartare is offered for an additional $5. Entrees include a grilled Croque Madame; Maine Bouchot mussels in white wine with saffron and frites; crispy duck leg confit with Brussel Sprouts (+$5) or house made ricotta gnudi with bouchon-beverly-hills-seating-0squash puree. For dessert you have a choice of a caramel custard; brownies with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream; Meyer lemon bar or Chef’s selection of artisan cheese with seasonal garnishes and Bouchon Bakery bread. 235 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills. (310)271-9910.

4. Connie and Ted’s is offering a three-course lunch that consists of Jo’s Wicked Good Chowda’ Sampler with three different chowders: New England, Manhattan and Rhode Island clear. Also to start is a Little Gem salad or 1/2 a dozen of Chef’s selected half-shell oysters. The second course offers a batter dipped cod sandwich; clam strip roll; fried oyster sandwich or Hook burger. All are served with a side of fries or cole slaw. Finish with one scoop of house made ice cream or sorbet or a chocolate chip cookie for $25 per person. 1871 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood (323)848-CRAB.

5. Fig & Olive Melrose Place offers diners either a bowl of Provencal carrot & thyme soup; lobster bisque; fig-olive-melrose-place100921FigOlive-27404-webtruffle mushroom croquette zucchini carpaccio or salmon crudo. The entree selection offer five dishes that includes truffle risotto; grilled thyme chicken paillard; salmon tartare; paella del Mar; or Rosemary lamb for an additional $4. Dessert offerings include a crostini made with Amarena cherry, mascarpone and pistachio shortbread or chocolate pot de creme for $25 per person. 8490 Melrose Pl. Los Angeles. (310) 360-9100.

6. JiRaffe Restaurant begins their dineLA Winter menu on January 23 with a $25 lunch menu that consistsjiraffe-restaurantjiraffe-sign-0 of three-courses from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Start with your choice of grilled Pacific line-caught swordfish or wild mushroom salad. Another appetizer is the house made spinach ricotta and Reggiano Parmesan Ravioli with Rancho San Julian beef Mangalitsa pork Bolognese. Entrees include black linguine with fresh shellfish; herb chicken escalope or Angus filet of beef with spiced apple potato gratin. Dessert is a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie sandwich with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream. 502 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica. (310) 917-6671.

7. La Grande Orange Cafe is serving a dineLA lunch for $15 per person that includes a soup of the day or shredded kale and quinoa salad or deviled eggs. There are three entrees on the menu to chose from. One can order the grilled salmon tacos with a Mole sauce; Sandy’s Green Chili burger with melted Tillamook Cheddar cheese or a wood-fired Rotisserie chicken with fresh vegetables. Hopefully there will be a fresh made salted chocolate chip cookie for you in the cookie jar on your way out. 260 S. Raymond Ave. Pasadena. (626) 356-4444.

lucqueslucques-interior-08. Lucques is another Suzanne Goin foodie favorite with its warm, comfortable Cal-Med dining room serving a two-course $25 lunch with a supplemental $8 to $10 dessert menu. Start with a Beluga lentil and roast beet soup or arugula salad with Asian pear, winter grapes and hazelnuts. The second course is either a chopped chicken salad with kale or fregola pasta with vegetables and chestnuts. Dessert is a fruit and nut olive cake or bittersweet chocolate torta with Sherry ice cream. They are also serving seasonal sorbets with butter cookies. 8474 Melrose Ave. West Hollywood. (323) 655-6277.

9. Mr. Chow Beverly Hills is serving a dineLA lunch Monday through Friday only. Start with squab with lettuce; minced beef pancakes or chicken satay. The second course includes chicken Joanna; green prawns or crispy beef. Entrees are served with sautéed rice or seasonal vegetables. Dessert is a choice of mixed sorbet or ice cream for $25 per person with a two guest minimum. 344 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills. (310)278-9911.

10. The Gadarene Swine Chef Phillip Frankland Lee’s second restaurant (first is Scratch Bar) is a casual the-gadarene-swine970424_741281279240293_2063247594378873595_n0vegetarian experience with innovative and playful cuisine. The $25 lunch menu offers two choices that include hummus; seaweed snacks; roasted carrots; strawberries & champagne or blackened cauliflower. Next select one dish that includes vegetables in a box; hand rolled pasta or roasted mushrooms with burnt sweet potato. Chef Lee’s wife, Margarita, makes a lovely pear pie that will cost an additional $9 a slice. The dineLA menu is served from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and dishes are subject to change without notice based on availability. 11266 Ventura Blvd. Studio City. (818) 508-5500. Go to http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/dinela-los-angeles-restaurant-week to learn more.

This article is featured on GPSmyCity – https://www.gpsmycity.com/gps-tour-guides/los-angeles-631.html