Monday, February 8, 2010
If you are fortunate enough to either live or work near the Water Garden Building in Santa Monica, you can enjoy lunch at Bizou Grill (they have two other locations in Pasadena and Sherman Oaks). If you don't live or work nearby, you can park for three hours gratis with a validation from the restaurant, so there is no excuse not to come and enjoy this unique sprawling complex of fountains and garden paths on a sunny day before, during, or after eating your meal. I came in through the building entrance from the parking garage, so I had to ask the security desk gave me directions to the restaurant entrance (marked only "cafe" above the door). Bizou Grill is worth the hunt.
I was greeted by the energetic server James as I walked in and escorted to a table of my choice by a window looking out over the garden. Since I was here for Dine LA week, I was very happy to be presented instantly with the Dine LA menu ($16 for three courses), along with an encouragement by James to order from it. Ah, a far cry from last week's experience at Ago. I chose to start with the Caesar Salad, a nice presentation, albeit a bit light on the anchovies for my taste (which only means most other diners will adore this salad).
I was in the mood for Steak Frites (my go to comfort dish in France), served here with a creamy peppercorn sauce and four perfectly steamed spears of asparagus hidden under the crisp fries. I was a bit worried after ordering that my meat would not come to me very rare since I have seldom found a restaurant in Los Angeles who actually understands that definition. Ah, again, I am pleasantly surprised to find it is cooked perfectly and tender as well. I relax and order a glass of Kendall-Jackson Pinot Noir ($9) that is poured so generously that I felt as if I was drinking two glasses of wine.
I have no idea how I managed to eat any of the flourless chocolate cake served with a berry coulis and vanilla cream. All I can say was it was warm and light, so I felt as if it was not as heavy as it might seem, while somehow managing to still be densely chocolately.
This restaurant definitely deserves an encore visit. I was especially impressed by how the staff worked so well together on making sure all the patrons were happy. It would be nice if every restaurant had servers that waited on every table as if it was their own instead of just saying "I'll get your server"; that happens here and I felt like a guest who was both appreciated and special.
Good food and good service always make me say happy, and people say you should do whatever makes you happy, so I will be returning to Bizou Grill soon.