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Bistro K - short review and pondering...

Finally got to Bistro K last night -- I'm in love with the place.

Had the 6-course TM (crab tower, scallop, john dory, herring, sweetbreads, mousse).... My favorite was the john dory (amazing lobster sauce and spinach tapioca)...

Everything was fantastic for the most part - I wasn't put off by wait time (although, it did end up being an almost 3 hour experience), the food combinations were insane (who would have thought sea urchin and corn puree would be to die for?!) and can't wait to return (and for $55 it was a DEAL!)

The thing that was off for me was the service -- I didn't feel neglected as much as I felt the staffing was short. There was only 1 waiter and 1 busboy for the entire place. Is that the norm there??

They were frantic and seemingly over-worked the entire time -- I sat against the wall facing the kitchen and it was dizzying seeing them scurry back and forth from the kitchen to the patio (where there was a party of 10 doing the TM).

I think the experience would have been better for me if there was one additional wait staff.... I would imagine that they would have been more relaxed and we would have been a little better attended to. Again, we still had decent service.... it just could have been better.

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  1. That's not surprising re: the wait staff. It's a small joint and on a Thursday night, they probably feel like there's not a great need to staff to the hilt.

    I still have day-dreams about the scrambled egg with vodka cream and caviar appetizer that I had ...

    1. Yes, I agree that the food is very fine -- we went on a Friday evening about a month ago and we couldn't fault the food. But the service was simply not good. There seemed an army of busboys scurrying about to little effect -- and one waiter to take orders. We waited, seated at our table, for almost 30 minutes until our order was taken. In the meantime, I had to actually get up from the table and hunt down somebody to open our wine. (Maybe since no corkage charge, you're supposed to bring your own cork screw.) I don't know what happened to that small army -- they all managed to disappear from view at the same time. Then we had to ask for bread to tide us over. And the food, as others have noted, appears at a very leisurely pace. We passed on desert -- too long a sit at that point. Our conclusion: return sometime soon for another try and see if the service issues we experienced were a fluke. The food is very good -- and it is great to bring your own wine with no corkage.

      1. weel, nothing seems to have changed since I was first there in 2004 -see last paragraph of my post, (linked)... guess it's just meant to be part of the BK dining experience, and I think regardless of time or day. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/62297

        1. Bisto K officially has a new chef. i left a message today to make a reservation for tomorrow night. The chef called me back and said that they were reopening saturday night. They were closed a few days to revamp the new menu. I'm bummed...i really wanted to try it before any changes were made.

          6 Replies
          1. re: jamiepinkpanda

            We have a reservation for the 19th and I just got a call from the charming new chef/owner, Andre, to confirm the reservation. (It's not "Dining with Andre" Andre.) I asked how his menu would differ from Laurent's and he said that he cooks more classic French food. I asked about prices and he said they were "a little bit more reasonable." I didn't think they were $$ before, especially as you can bring your own wine w/no corkage. I asked about a tasting menu and he said they wouldn't have ready for this Saturday, but would for the 12th. We loved the old BistroK, but I'm happy to give a new chef a try. I'll write a review after we go.

            1. re: jamiepinkpanda

              well - the nice thing is he plans to open a new spot - so all is not lost. I really wanted to get back there before May 1st as well -- it's a huge loss to the neighborhood.

              1. re: The Oracle

                Oracle, it sounds like you're not optimistic about what's ahead for BistroK under new ownership. Is that correct? I'm hoping to get an updated review before we go on the 19th.

                1. re: mocro

                  Since very few chefs in all of LA County cook as well as Laurent, the new chef has large shoes to fill, and it would be difficult for most mortals to be his equal. Nonetheless, he did get some help from Laurent in transition, so go and share your thoughts with us all, keeping in mind that he will still be getting his legs(duck, maybe!).

                  1. re: carter

                    Anybody knows where did chef laurent move to now?

                    1. re: marioboustani

                      He's doing occasional tasting menus at Vermont Restaurant, and planning to maybe open a restaurant downtown at some point.