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Sep 12, 2007 02:16 PM

Dinner at Taix

After reading all the mixed reviews, what finally got us there was yet another request from Pops, who asked to go there on his birthday, as it had been 40-some years since his last visit...and now that we've been, I can say we come down firmly on the side of those who've defended the food and hailed the prices.

The place was not exactly crowded on Tuesday night, but busy enough to have us wait a bit for our 7:30 table. This was one of those U-shaped settee thingies, suitable for four to six diners, that I usually find uncomfortable - either the wrong relative heights or too tight - but this one fit just fine. The wine list offered two of my favorite Beaujolais (Morgon and St.-Amour) for pretty cheap, but as Pops and I were the only drinkers, and I was the driver, we just ordered a glass each of the generic Beaujolais ($7). The waiter was a personable guy named Christian, and we put his Christianity to the test over the butchered French in the menu, with three misspellings and one real howler, the "Pre-Fix" meal. Then we settled down and ordered dinner.

Mrs. O said she'd bet Maman would want the Moules Marinière and Pops the escargot, and so they did, and loved them enough not to offer us any. Maman ordered the onion soup as her main course, and then regretted her choice when the mussels showed up in a soup plate with a good meal's worth of very good broth, of which she happily ate all. Pops asked if it were possible to have rabbit on a Tuesday, but it wasn't, so he got the sautéed trout, a nice presentation boned and butterflied and spread with an almond sauce. Mrs. O requested the Tuesday special, braised oxtails with mashed potatoes, and I continued my pursuit of LA's best Steak Frites by ordering the grilled sirloin with fries. This was, I'm happy to say, a genuine contender, with a good if not brilliant steak cooked EXACTLY as I'd specified, and fries that were perfectly crisp without being burnt at all. The maitre d'hotel butter on the steak was nice, but was a smoothly cut oval shape that I'm sure was sliced from a tube of it bought somewhere. Its reluctance to melt and lack of any real herbal flavor would seem to confirm that. Mrs. O was happy with her bite, though, and I found her oxtail to be rich, melting and wonderful. Maman liked her soup very much, but it stayed a little too hot for her clear through the meal, and she'd had her fill from the mussels anyway, so she managed to finish about half of it.

The bus person demonstrated the dismal level of training common these days by asking each of us if he or she was done while others were still eating and removing plates immediately, but we're getting used to that. When Christian reappeared and asked if anyone wanted dessert, Mrs. O asked after some sorbet. "Sherbet," he said. "Pineapple." Pops asked, "How about ice cream?" Christian said, "I think we have some vanilla back there..." so the women ordered sherbet and Pops and I just finished our second glass of wine.

All of the above, with tax and 20%, came to a smidge over $130. Valet parking was $2.50, with excellent service, so we made that $5. Despite the few rough edges and the pretentious gaffes in the menu, we were all pretty pleased with the food and the experience, and won't wait any 40 years for the next visit.

Oh, and one more thing we all noticed and appreciated: NO MUSIC! That was probably the most French touch of all...

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  1. Thanks for the review.

    An old friend of mine really loved Taix's "sherbet" ...

    3 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I had a bite, and it tasted exactly like the stuff my mom used to make - and delicious. Given the age of the restaurant (both physically and attitudinally), I wouldn't be surprised if it were made from the same recipe.

      1. re: Will Owen

        Taix is REAL old school.

        If you ever go there for lunch, you will notice that hardly any tables will have only women dining other women. And when it happens I think the waiters consider it uncouth.

        I bet that place still has a stack of Ladies Only Menus in the back somewhere.

        Lots of the City Hall power players will lunch there.

      2. re: ipsedixit

        I grew up on that sherbet...
        my father was a main cook for over 30 years there and my grandfather another 30 before he.
        In the bar they have a sheet of paper with the names of the workers who have been there the longest.
        As an adult I still go from time to time and find their salmon, soup and the roasted chicken to still be my favorites.
        Great place for a pre Dodger game drinks and ....although I don't get how the place turns into a rock venue on the weekends.

      3. Hmm, interesting. A friend had a birthday party here, in a private room that held about 20 people. But I wasn't impressed by the food -- I had the roast chicken, which I had read here was the thing to get. The meat was tasty enough, but the skin was completely flabby. Much like the cheapo roast chicken from Spain on Glendale Blvd. I don't think anyone got the dishes you mentioned, though, so perhaps it's worth another try.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Cicely

          There is a school of taste that thinks "luscious" instead of "flabby" when encountering that kind of skin. My own preferences run the gamut: I slightly prefer crackly skin to gooey, but not at the cost of dry meat. I'll just need to go try it myself; one of us was going to do that last night, but it didn't work out. Good excuse to hurry back.

          1. re: Cicely

            The short ribs are also very good.

          2. WillOwen-

            Thanks for the review, been looking to try out this place for awhile as it's up the street, and DTLA news just did a small blurb about. What's a per plate price?

            3 Replies
            1. re: ns1

              Entrees range from $13-27 with most entrees under $20. For $4 more, all entrees include soup, salad and sherbet. You really can't beat it for value.

              Here's a link to the webpage, which has lunch and dinner menus with prices and daily specials:

              1. I love the place, especially the nightly specials. Good solid foot at a fair price. A lot of foodies dont care for the place, but sometimes a straight ahead meal sans culinary pyrotechnichs really fits the bill.

                4 Replies
                1. re: rednyellow

                  One special to avoid is the pot roast which I believe is served on Sundays. It was meant for the bottom of your shoes, and no other place. It was dreadful. Soups are fine enough, and the side veggies are either canned or frozen, with a possible exception of the potatoes.

                  1. re: carter

                    It's been a while, but the few times I had the pot roast, it was perfect and fork tender.

                    1. re: rednyellow

                      Mine was not even ax tender!
                      And you gotta love those side veggies, canned or frozen, who cares. Dennys does the job better than that last meal I ate at Taix.

                      1. re: carter

                        You should try it again. The last meal I had at Taix was in the bar, and we had soup, salad, roast chicken and frites, and it was much better than decent. For the price, service and ambiance, it was well worth the money -- in any universe, better than Dennys.

                2. Also, extended through Sept 14, a pretty good deal:

                  Celebrating our 80th Anniversary

                  Roast Chicken Dinner

                  Dinner includes; Soup du jour,
                  House salad, bread & butter, potato, vegetable and sherbet for dessert

                  5:00-7:00 p.m.