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French 75: Run away! Run away!

We had dinner there tonight and it was an abomination. Mr. Writergirl, who's much more forgiving than I, called it "the worst meal we've had in Los Angeles." First of all, they make their signature cocktail wrong! A "French 75" is supposed to be made with champagne, gin, lemon and sugar. They make there's with champagne and cognac, which I had never heard of before (although according to Wikipedia, that's a "French 125," which explains why they spent about $1.25 on the bottle of champagne they used.)

On to the food. The coq au vin (one of their "specialities") tasted like they had baked the chicken for way too long, and then poured Heinz coq au vin sauce on it. There was no simmering and merging of flavors in a lovely sauce. Dry chicken covered in an oily flavorless sauce. Served over a pile of mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes were dry and flavorless. I added salt liberally, hoping to make them edible. It was futile. Summer squash and green beans were also forced to participate in the coq au vin, in protest they refused to give any flavor.

The pommes frites were tasty, but not as hot as I like them. My husband said the gin and tonic was strong (which doesn't necessarily mean good.) The service was friendly, but spotty. It's like they read a manual on how "fancy" restaurants behave (refold napkin when guest goes to the restroom etc.) but couldn't quite pull it off (water? helloo? may we PLEASE get that water we asked for? My husband can't choke down his entree without it!)

My husband ordered the beef stroganoff (another "specialty"), which he couldn't even come close to choking down. It was bland, except for the huge peppercorns. Mr. Writergirl, while he can tell a good meal from a bad one, doesn't usually complain openly about meals. "It's food" is the worst he usually has to say. So when he says without prompting "it's the worst meal we've had in L.A." take heed! Really, this meal was so bad I almost wanted to cry. Including tip, we paid exactly $100 ($83 + tip)

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  1. Which French 75 did you go to? Sounds like you had a very melodramatic experience.

    What restaurants in L.A. do you like??

    1 Reply
    1. re: Francesca

      I went to the new one in Century City. I haven't been to the other branches (in fact, I didn't know it was a chain until I read Chowhound.) What restaurants in LA do I like? I'd say most of the ones I've been to have been enjoyable. None have been been anywhere near as bad as this. In fact, if you search my name you won't come up with a completely negative review I've written on another restaurant. Sorry you thought I was being melodramatic, I was actually going for funny...dammit, I knew I should have added an emoticon! ;-)

    2. I've always enjoyed French 75 - though never been to LA one. Was quite the description though.

      1. I've never been impressed at all with the Laguna branch - steak frites are the only thing I've ever had done well there, but people here get all over my case when I complain about it. Worst 'French' food I've ever tasted. Last time I was forced there, waiter was so obnoxious & then so unbelieving that 'his' food was almost inedible. In contrast, I do like Rouge (which is going to become French 75 too soon & Chat Noir, his other restaurants, but neither is trying as hard to be a formal venue). I've heard the Irvine branch is better, but not willing to spend the $$ to try & give them a 4th chance!

        1. My mom had a less-than-stellar experience at one of his restaurants, and mentioned it to one of their corporate staff when she was booking a luncheon for work. The woman was very gracious and apologetic, and sent my mom a gift certificate to use at any of their restaurants.

          1. Since I just posted pretty much the same experience, let me just say that I concur.

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