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7 Courses @ Bastide

I met up with a few friends for dinner at Bastide this rainy evening. For $100, the seven courses were a great deal. So here's the rundown:

Three Amuses-Bouche
1. A Lobster Taco Deconstruction - There was a flour tortilla crisp, then a spoon of lobster and avocado, followed by a shot of tequila that contained a lime sorbet. This was a great way to start the meal.
2. Bluefin Tuna
3. Tuna Tartare and Uni and Lobster Sashimi - The star of this was by far the tuna. In the small bowl, it appeared as if the tuna was sitting in vinegar (hence the tartare), but it was actually a gelee. Underneath was a layer of incredible uni! It provided the perfect balance to the tuna. This single thing, this 1/3 of a course, exhibited a ridiculous amount of finesse.

The next course was a soup made from carrot and coconut milk, combined with those other familiar Thai flavors of ginger, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf. Lumps of crab rested at the bottom, and there were a small amount of crushed peanuts also. The soup was not as thick as some coconut milk soups I had, but it still had a nice sweetness due to the carrot (though personally I could have used more carrot and less ginger)

The fish course was an impeccably cooked piece of seabass. It was accompanied by peeled grapes and chanterelles. I loved the slight bit of sear on the seabass, as it provided a nice textural contrast, but the fish itself was so wonderfully succulent.

Another shining star for the evening was the pasta course, and it was so simple. Pumpkin ravioli, shaved parmesan and a few drops of 30 year old balsamic. In the center was a hard-boiled quail yolk, meant to add a bit of "silk" to the texture, but in my mind it was extraneous. The rest of the dish was amazing.

Our beef course was a piece of short rib. Good fat content, and while it wouldn't have hurt to keep it braising a little longer, I still think it was a great piece of meat. It was accompanied by a host of mini-sauces and mini-sides on the plate, including hollandaise, a piece of celeriac, a gratin of potato and a few others that escape me.

There was a selection of four wonderful cheeses, though my favorites were the semi-hard cheese and the blue cheese.

1. Mascarpone ice cream with strawberries
2. Hot chocolate and chocolate cake with coconut sabayon - There was an accompanying quenelle of ice cream but at this point I was completely decimated and didn't really note it. I'm sure it was delicious, though.

The wine pairings were, for the most part, good but not great. Only the fish pairing (Antoine Arena, Carco, Vermentino, 2005) and the beef pairing (Redoma, 2004) stood out. The trockenbeerenauslese with dessert (Familie Schreiner, Sonnenmulde, TBA, Samling 88, 2002) was also pretty good.

For $100, it's a phenomenal deal given the quality of food, the amount, and the service. Next time I'll skip the wine pairings (an additional $100) and just stick with the two outstanding bottles; unfortunately there's no BYOB.

While the whole meal was excellent, the two standouts were the tuna tartare amuse and the pumpkin ravioli. The tuna was inventive and exciting while the ravioli was simply flawlessly executed. Both were extremely delicious, but again the whole meal was fantastic. After four hours at dinner, Chef Walter greeted us and even let us poke in the kitchen (and we met the pastry chef there, too).

I also appreciated the fact that the 4 course tasting menu was completely different, but for only $20 more, why not go for the 7 courses? Either way, I highly recommend Bastide.

Bastide Restaurant
8475 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, CA 90069

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  1. Our sentiments exactly.
    Bastide's TM for $100- is a great deal but how long will it last? I almost suspect it will be $125- before we know it? We are rushing back soon.
    The two other TM deals in LA are still Providence 125- Chef's TM and Melisse 140- Carte Blanche TM and they allow corkage. Honorable Mention for Urasawa $275- which is a good deal for what you receive.

    1. So glad you enjoyed. We had the fortunate pleasure of going during the opening week, when he was "giving it away". Sounds like our menus were similar. I thoroughly enjoyed my lobster taco, Thai soup (remember the French press?), seabass, and short rib. We were so sad about the BYOB, but who cares when all the wine was free too!

      1. Thanks for breaking it down so well. It was a fabulous meal and we all agreed that there weren't any really weak dishes. I'm still fantasizing about that uni. As Sauce mentioned, the beef course wasn't as tender as I would have preferred, but it was still delicious and full of flavor. For my fellow bread lovers (you know who you are) the bread selection made me very very happy. Gorgeous freshly baked bundles of joy - a gruyere brioche, bacon brioche, basil focaccia, rosemary potato, olive and crusty French.

        I'll echo Sauce's sentiments about the wine. I'm very glad we decided to go with the pairings because it gave us a chance to meet and interact with Bastide's lovely sommelier Chantelle. She was so knowledgeable and passionate about the wines and was a pleasure to listen to. Having said that, the next time I eat at Bastide (and there will be a next time), I'll ask her to pick a couple of bottles from the list in lieu of the pairings.

        I'd also like to give kudos to the valet parkers, who escorted each of us ladies to our cars under umbrellas to keep us out of the torrential rain. A very nice touch!

        1. Quick thoughts: A few weeks ago, we had two four course menus, but asked for a couple swap ins/outs. Loved the amuse, clever without being trite, loved the thai soup. The fish course (at the time halibut) was cooked beautifully, but with only an artichocke puree, it wasn't aMAYzing, but very good. The short rib: I wanted less gristle, more silkiness because that's how i like my shortribs. It was hard for me to get passed that. Didn't have cheese, but it looked fabulous. And desserts that night were divine, though i can't remember what they were; i know we liked them. We still made it in for the free wine pairings, and the sommelier couldn't have made it more exciting (something from Sweden, I think) and perfect. Still remembering the chocolates from the pastry chef at the end of the meal. They should box and sell those suckers.

          While I think chef Manzke is an extremely talented chef and we're so so happy to have him back in LA, I told my dining comp that night that I'm waiting a couple of months before going back. I want it to be perfect; I hope it will be.

          1. Thanks for writing up our meal! Highlights for me (aside from the great company) were definitely the tuna tartare/uni amuse, that insane pumpkin ravioli, the cheese course, and our incredibly enthusiastic sommelier. It really is an incredible value for $100.

            1. I am going this saturday for dinner, but we could only get the patio - do you remember if that was a good place to sit? Also - does dinner really take 4 hours? We made 8 pm reservations - should I make it earlier? The other time available was 6:30 pm.

              9 Replies
              1. re: allisonteal

                We sat on the patio, it was lovely. Our meal lasted over 4 hours. The res was 8:30 and we didn't get out until 12:45ish, after a tour of the kitchen and a chat with the chef. The pacing of the dishes was perfect and we were neither rushed nor left waiting at any point.

                1. re: allisonteal

                  We were on the patio and it was great although it got a little chilly, particularly when the rainstorm started. It's covered by a canopy. The meal does indeed take 4 hours. Our reservation was at 8:30 and we finished at quarter to 1.

                  1. re: allisonteal

                    I've sat on the patio twice, I prefer it out there. however, try to avoid the table directly in front of the private room.

                    1. re: Renault78law

                      I believe there's an inner patio (where we sat) and an outer patio near the entrance. I quite like that inner courtyard as it gives you a peek into multiple rooms (wandering eyes are inevitable when you're sitting in one place for a while).

                      1. re: SauceSupreme

                        No, I don't think there's an inner patio. That room with the plant wall and trees is all indoors. Maybe a skylight, but as far as I remember, it's all enclosed. The patio outside is all outside. Lovely, but it's not enclosed at all. When I went, they wren't serving out there yet, but sounds like they are now. Make sure they have heat lamps.

                        1. re: diningdivala

                          The section with the dining room on one side and the Chef's Table on the other is not really indoors, it is covered by a canopy.

                          1. re: hrhboo

                            Thanks everyone for all the details - I am so looking forward to it, and I think the patio will work out fine! One more question - how did you both have the opportunity to meet the chef and see the kitchen - did you ask or was it offered up after dinner?

                            1. re: allisonteal

                              Our meal ended at 1am, and Chef Walter and the rest of the kitchen were closing up shop. He came by, we offered our praises, and then he asked if we wanted to see the kitchen.

                              1. re: SauceSupreme

                                allison, how did the patio work out? i have a reservation there next week, and they only offered the patio, which apparently has heat lamps, but we're going through a cold snap now, so i'm not sure if it's a wise idea.

                                anyone else have input? thanks

                  2. Wow. thanks for the great review. I am glad that chef Manzke is doing well. Hopefully he gets a michelin star or two in 2009.

                    I need to get over there before they jack up the price!
                    Actually, I dont care if they jack up the price, what I care about is if Manzke leaves LA or if the hollywood crowd takes over before I am able to try it.

                    For now, I will have to eat Ludovic Lefebre's cuisine at breadbar. For $30 and casual setting, I can swing that a few times before hitting up what seems to be the best resto in Los Angeles. Wow, three chefs, three wonderful incarnations of Bastide.

                    How exciting for our dining scene.

                    1. What a review SS! I'm sorry to hear about the wine pairings. Did they serve the nun-made herbal liquour sitting in a tub of ice?

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: SauceSupreme

                          Oh no!! A friend of mine said they served it to his table paired with one of the desserts. He said it was sublime, like a spa in his mouth. Apparantly they don't pair it consistently (maybe out of stock?), so I'd make sure to request it specifically in the future.