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Cafe Bizou Dinner

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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. http://www.cafebizou.com/

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.

              2. I like Bizou in Pasadena. Very nice restaurant, consistent, good food at very reasonable prices, especially considering how high the odds are that you're going to get a mediocre to worse meal at plenty of restaurants in the price range to more expensive. They also have a good good combination of happy hour/bar menu with discounted apps & lighter proportions.

                1. Bizou is decent. I like it for the 2$ corkage and the 1$ soups and salads. I've had good experiences at both the Pasadena, Sherman Oaks and Santa Monica locations.
                  Although one night at the S.O. location there were a few service issues: 1) the hostess forgot we were waiting at the bar and we kept seeing person after person come in and be seated before us. At first we just assumed they all had reservations but then the amount of time became ridiculous (45 minutes when we were quoted 15) so we went up to her to ask about our status and then were seated.
                  2) While waiting at the bar we ordered a glass of pinot noir. The bartender served us the wrong wine. twice. First a glass of pinot grigio then a glass of red but not the one we ordered. I think he was distracted b/c he was in heavy conversation with friends at the other end of the bar.
                  3) when the food was delivered, it came crashing down like bad airplane landings practically knocking my glass of water over. I think I actually caught it before it was pushed over.
                  You would think this would make for a horrible dining experience but it wasn't. Our server was very competent and amiable. The food (can't remember specifically what I had either! lol) was good. And I'm not sure what Barcelona wrote but no one treated us snidely or with arrogance. In fact, I've never had an experience at any Bizou (Pasadena, S.O. ,Santa Monica) where I've been treated rudely.
                  It's a good place to have a "nice" meal with friends that aren't foodies and I mean that in a good way.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Hapafish

                    Beware that the Santa Monica location is no longer affiliated with the other two! It was sold nearly two years ago.

                    1. re: carter

                      good to know