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May 7, 2007 10:04 PM

Cafe Bizou Dinner

The setting was nice, casual but classy. The service was very good, especially considering we had a 3-week old at our table (thankfully quiet).

The mushroom appetizer was not exceptional. The sauce was good, but the filling was blah.

The dinner salad was good for what it was…. a dinner salad. But it lacked anything special.

The rack of lamb was above average (not great). They cut the meat from the bone, so you really get about 10 lamb medallions (which were a little fatty), along with the actual rack of ribs for enjoying the tasty part. It comes with outstanding potatoes au gratin (hidden under the bones for discovery later), green beans that are difficult to eat due to their size (I would prefer some nice thin haricot vert), and sautéed carrots.

The real winner was the beef short ribs. This dish was nothing short of outstanding. It was rich and very beefy. I only got a bite, and I may have tired of it if I had a full plate, but to me, this was delightful.

Dessert was profiteroles. Meh. <--- I forget who first wrote this, but it totally sums up a LOT of recent experiences.

They have a $2 corkage, which we should have taken advantage of. But they also have a wine list with about 6-7 wineries per major varietal.

Their website is very cool, as kissy lips follow your cursor.

Café Bizou
14016 Ventura Boulevard (btwn Beverly Glen and Woodman
)Sherman Oaks
(818) 788-3536

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  1. Totally agree on that mushroom app. There's a chicken entree I liked last time that was really moist. For dessert, the apple tarte tatin was the winner last time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Emme

      bizou was very popular years ago (still is), but I'm guessing by their drop in the zagat that it's going down in quality. Still, thanks for the update, I will go there again one day (especially if Cafe Beaujolais is closed)

      1. re: risottoman

        I hesitate to use Zagat to show a decline in food -- a decline in popularity, certainly.

        I like Bizou for what it is -- a nice, normal, not terribly high-end place to have good ol' Cal-French and Cal-Italian food. The French-inspired stuff is better, generally, than the Italian-inspired stuff.

        The lobster pasta is really tasty, I've always had great experiences with the steak frites, and I really like the salad -- their mustard vinaigrette is very good. (For $1, how can you go wrong?)

        Their appetizers are really terribly boring, though, and we never bother. On the dessert front, the creme brulee is OK, the profiteroles are OK. They had an apple crostada one day that was transcendent but I've never managed to be back when they've had it again.

        Will sums it up really well below -- not a destination, but a comfortable, reliable place to take Aunt Gertrude when she visits.

    2. In my experience Bizou's strong suit is seafood. After trying and liking some meat entrée or another (but see? It wasn't memorable at all) on my first visit, I followed the rest of the family's advice and have stayed with fish on every return. I did get ONE sand dab out of a plate full that was a tiny bit fishy, but not send-it-back fishy...and on one trip, our anniversary as it turned out, the service was so bad that I kept waiting for someone to jump out with a microphone and TV camera to tell me we'd been set up. No, it's not a Temple, nor even a Destination, but it's usually plenty good enough for the price.

      1. YEp, a hound favorite love/hate thing for a long time.

        I like the balsamic glazed chicken and the sesame seed crusted salmon.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Diana

          I have a niece who is practically addicted to that salmon. Gave me a really good feeling about the younger generation...

        2. There aren't too many places around that have Sweetbreads on the menu so when I saw that on the appetizer list, I asked for an entree portion. They were good but a bit too bland and not exceptional.

          1. I also like Bisou (I go to the one in Pasadena) for brunch. It's not crowded at all (holidays excepted).

            3 Replies
            1. re: CookieEater

              I went there a couple of nights ago and the entrees were solid. The bread wasn't as delicious, but for the price, they're still excellent. I got the monkfish, which comes on a bed of shrimp saffron risotto and lobster sauce. All for under 20 bucks.

              1. re: barcelona

                Cheap eats? Aren't you fortunate to be able to afford nice places, then. Most of the Valley can't afford $15-$20 entrees very often. "Cheap eats" to me means a couple of tacos off a taco truck or a falafel sandwich with hummus for under $5.

                The folks who run Bizou do have class -- and my experiences that make me say so have very little to do with the food, so it's not really relevant to this board. Now, some of the middle-aged "let me tell you about my FABULOUS trip to Bilbao, daaaaahling" patrons have no class at all, but that's nothing to do with the owner or the staff.

                Bizou, while nothing startling or revelatory, is a nice safe place to take out-of-towners without having to brave the traffic over the hill to one of the trendy restaurants where you have to make reservations two weeks or more ahead of time.

                1. re: barcelona

                  Arrogance is not classy.

                  Insulting a restaurant or anything or anyone for that matter without being able to spell its or their name is not just NOT classy, it's laughable.

                  Play nice -- even if you have something negative to say -- then people will respect your opinions and not roll their eyes everytime you post something.