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Comme Ça visit this weekend

acidspit Nov 14, 2007 12:01 PM

So I tried to get a reservation to Comme Ça this weekend but failed, so instead, my date and I will be there around 6pm and hope to get seated without a reservation.

Has anyone gone to this place yet? What should I expect (I mean more in terms of ambience, nose level, etc rather than the menu), and is there a dress code? And if there are women who're reading this... what's a girl to wear on her first date at Comme Ça??!!

  1. Chowpatty Nov 14, 2007 12:08 PM

    Noise level is on the excruciating side, hope you weren't planning on an intimate conversation. The ambiance is busy, buzzy, informal. Dress is fairly casual, yet since you are spending probably $100 -- $150 for two, it seems worth making a slight effort. Either a cute dress or jeans and a nice top would be fine. For guys, nice jeans or slacks, anything that's a cut above shorts, t-shirts and flipflops should be fine. And to include some food content, the chocolate bread pudding was wonderful, and I'm not even that big of a chocolate fan.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Chowpatty
      acidspit Nov 14, 2007 12:12 PM

      Thanks Chowpatty! I was really unsure about the noise level. Excruciating puts me off a bit, but then again, we haven't actually met in person yet, so casual is good even if a bit loud. Thanks for the jeans tip: I really am blanking out on what to wear. I haven't been on a first date in years.

      I'm looking forward to the desserts. I think the Comme Ça menu on their website says that they get their desserts from Boule, which is fine by me. I'm eyeing the Meyer lemon tart: a pastissiere friend of mine told me that tasting a lemon tart from a bakery is a great way to gauge the bakery's style and talent-- it has to have just the right amount of tart and sweet.

      1. re: acidspit
        Woolsey Nov 14, 2007 12:17 PM

        I must dissent on the chocolate bread pudding. I found it a bit like eating a chocolate kitchen sponge - not my favorite rendition of the dessert, and I'm a sucker for bread pudding. And as the desserts are from Boule, I'd recommend getting one of the few options that is actually made in-house, the textbook-perfect crème brûlée.

        1. re: Woolsey
          acidspit Nov 14, 2007 12:42 PM

          I have to confess I'm not a big fan of bread pudding myself, although I've never had chocolate bread budding. I always get crème brûlée when it's offered at restaurants, but it never really satisfies me. Too rich and too bland, all the time. Woolsey, did you have the crème brûlée, or something else (and did you like it)?

          1. re: acidspit
            Woolsey Nov 14, 2007 01:21 PM

            I'm not normally a crème brûlée fan, but Comme Ça's was really good, not too sweet but flavorful all the same. It was loaded with vanilla beans and had a very good texture.

            I think Comme Ça has a long way to go on their desserts, lacking a good tarte tatin, Paris-Brest, mille-feuille, flan normand, clafouti, dessert crêpes, and so many other classic French desserts. Profiteroles and crème brûlée are easy, bread pudding and lemon tarts are more American than French. (The profiteroles aren't even serves as a small croquembouche.) There is such a missed opportunity on the dessert menu right now at Comme Ça, and I hope they get things together on that end.

            1. re: Woolsey
              acidspit Nov 14, 2007 02:05 PM

              Woolsey, I thought croquembouche was more of a wedding thing since the French don't have a wedding cake...?

              1. re: acidspit
                Woolsey Nov 14, 2007 06:22 PM

                Yes, it often serves as a French wedding cake, but it's essentially a more festive way of presenting profiteroles (great for holiday parties - hint, hint), glued together with and topped with caramelized sugar. Most profiteroles are rather boring, especially when just laid on a plate. Even filled, I'm loath to pay a restaurant for what I can pretty much get in giant size at Beard Papa's for much less. I want that extra step.

      2. re: Chowpatty
        Gohantabeyoka Dec 14, 2007 03:17 PM

        How much is this scrumptious lunch time CHEESEBURGER J.Gold speaks of, CP?

      3. s
        slacker Nov 14, 2007 12:29 PM

        It is LOUD in there. We were shouting at each other, across the small four-top. I loooooove their specialty drinks: fresh juices squeezed that day, they chip their own ice from ice blocks, terrific and energetic bartenders.

        back to the food: the salade frisee aux lardons was bland and thus disappointing. The boulliabase was very good. Service was very pleasant but a little bit spotty, I'm certain it'll get better. It was a bit cramped in there, our waitress had to move our table over so she could access the table next to ours.

        David Myers (Sona, Comme Ca, Boule Atelier) is married to Michelle Myers (Boule, Boule Atelier).

        15 Replies
        1. re: slacker
          Servorg Nov 14, 2007 12:39 PM

          Was married.

          1. re: slacker
            acidspit Nov 14, 2007 12:40 PM

            Yes, I knew that David Myers is with Michelle Myers, although the last I heard from an LA Times a few months back, they were separated.

            I'm a little worried now about how loud it'll be there. Slacker, what time were you there? And it was that loud despite it being a Monday??!!

            Actual ice chips from ice blocks! I'm excited.

            1. re: acidspit
              s
              slacker Nov 14, 2007 12:52 PM

              We had a 7pm reservation. From about 6:45 to whenever we left, I had to shout at my friends. Once outside, we de-stressed and talked in normal voices again. lol

              The bartenders make a good show of shaking those drinks. :)

              Well, looks like the ex-Myers are on good terms.

              1. re: slacker
                acidspit Nov 14, 2007 12:57 PM

                What other dining options are near the restaurant? If we can't get a table (either at the bar or a real table), we'll have to move on to Plan B which I have to come up with. If it's that loud, we may not want to stay even if we could get a table.

                (and slacker-- sorry to be such a girl right now, but were there a lot of people wearing jeans there?)

                1. re: acidspit
                  s
                  slacker Nov 14, 2007 01:03 PM

                  LUCQUES.

                  Since it was a workday for me, I was in some decent work clothes. But otherwise, I'd go in jeans (designer, right?) and a nice top. Then again, that's how I walk into most restaurants. I really didn't take much notice of what others were wearing, specifically. But everyone was pretty casual, nice casual.

                  1. re: acidspit
                    Servorg Nov 14, 2007 01:15 PM

                    Check out the review of Melrose Bar & Grill (the former Doug Arango's) in todays LA Times. Might be an excellent alternative.

                    1. re: Servorg
                      acidspit Nov 14, 2007 01:42 PM

                      Thanks. I'll keep both Melrose Bar & Grill and Lucques in mind. I was hoping to save Lucques for another time (especially for their sunday suppers). Regarding these two Plan B options, the only things that I'm afraid of it that we'd end up waiting for a table possibly for a long time, as it looks like we'll be doing for Comme Ça.

                      1. re: acidspit
                        Chowpatty Nov 14, 2007 01:48 PM

                        I was there last Monday and it didn't look very crowded at 7:00.

                        1. re: acidspit
                          s
                          slacker Nov 14, 2007 02:19 PM

                          I kind of don't understand, don't you have reservations?

                          1. re: slacker
                            acidspit Nov 14, 2007 02:29 PM

                            Nope. Per my original post, I tried to get one and couldn't. We're just going to show up around 6pm and see if we can get a seating at the bar or maybe a seating at a table if one opens up.

                            1. re: acidspit
                              m
                              msg1 Nov 14, 2007 02:43 PM

                              I have one of those coveted weekend reservations on sat. I went a few weeks ago and the dress code is pretty open. a few in our party wore nice jeans, and some wore dresses. no one looked out of place. we loved the oysters and sweetbreads and tarte flambee. less exciting was the marrow, but the oxtail served with it was quite good.

                              for mains, my lamb shank was a little underseasoned but the lamb that was on special that night was fantastic. hoping to try the co au vin or steak frites this time around.

                              1. re: msg1
                                acidspit Nov 14, 2007 03:33 PM

                                I'm leaning towards the steak frites myself, but may go with a fish dish. (I'm afraid moules might be a bit messy.) I'll have to report back what I ordered. Thanks for the hints on the dress code!

                              2. re: acidspit
                                s
                                slacker Nov 14, 2007 03:39 PM

                                Oops. I'm guessing it'll be easy to sit at the bar at 6. It's a small bar, which is too bad, bc like I whooped about before, those drinks and bartenders are great. So hope you like your date, if you sit there, you'll be pretty close together. At least you'll be able to hear each other.

                            2. re: acidspit
                              m
                              mehfactor Nov 14, 2007 04:15 PM

                              Melrose Bar & Grill is not an appropriate alternative to either Comme Ca or Lucques. It's an okay, modestly priced neighborhood restaurant (expect chidren) but they serve things like chicken fingers and pretzels with cheese dip.

                              1. re: mehfactor
                                c
                                carter Nov 15, 2007 05:34 PM

                                Two stars my ***!

                  2. m
                    msmd310 Nov 16, 2007 12:21 AM

                    was there 2 weeks ago- Sunday night-
                    we had the very back table in the back dining room, and I wasn't bothered by the noise...
                    more bothered by the runner who kept bumping me everytime!

                    dress was totally LA casual

                    the food was very good-
                    rec the cocktails!! (the one with cucumber was YUMMM)
                    the steak tartar, the duck, and the skate wing
                    for dessert we all liked the "boule" cake- chocolate with some delicious cream on top, and dark chocolate sauce-
                    I would remember the description if I hadn't enjoyed the cocktails so much

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: msmd310
                      hungry4more Nov 16, 2007 03:13 PM

                      We managed to get great service and a great table despite no rsvp last week for my birthday- a Wednesday- and we found everything lovely.
                      We had oysters, frisee aux lardons, sweetbreads, marrow w/ oxtail marmalade, duck confit and the chocolate brioche pudding.
                      Yum yum yum.
                      If I were to be super picky, the sweetbreads could have been more jazzy; they lacked spark. The marrow should have come with a little dish of fleur de sel. When we asked, the waiter brought us regular salt. And the toast points served with it could have been less crisp- they were really like croutons or crackers- would have been just perfection with having it be less done.
                      Other than that, the service was great, very attentive, friendly, the food spare and presented well but so rich within the spareness so it was like eating the perfect bite.
                      My boyfriend said it was the best duck he had ever had.
                      The frisee was delicious and the portion of the marrow and oxtail very generous.
                      I see where some have not liked the chocolate brioche but we really loved it. The icecream served with it so wonderful.
                      I see where people say how loud it is. I recommend going earlier and maybe during the week b/c we did not have that problem.

                      1. re: hungry4more
                        acidspit Nov 19, 2007 08:57 AM

                        So, the Verdict:

                        It was FANTASTIC. No problems getting two seats at the bar, although we were trying to get a table. The hostess wasn't particularly gracious about saying no and cut us off (when we inquired at separate times) when we asked about the possibility of getting a table. The thing that miffed me off the most was that there were tables that were empty the entire 2.5 hours we were there!! There were at least 6 tables that remained empty from the time I showed up and met my date (6pm) to when we both finished our dessert and left (8:30pm).

                        The food and service was excellent. The bar was actually a very good choice because we had to be fairly close to each other in order to hear, although it didn't start to get really noisy until about 8pm or so. Bar seating was a cinch at 6pm. Not sure if we would have been seated at all if we had shown up at 7pm, which was our original plan. So we had--

                        oysters-- half doz. Very good.
                        steak tartare-- omg so GOOD!!!!
                        2 mojitos-- The waiters (I think they were all wearing suspenders-cute!) did make a good show about shaking those drinks. If I had to do it again, I'd get one of the cocktails with a huge chunk of ice. I mean, the ice was about the size of a fist, and it floated like a little iceberg in the cocktail. They don't have very many drinks listed in the menu, but Penicillin on the menu is one of these drinks with the huge ice chunk. The bartender said that they can make just about any drink you ask for, so if you want anything, just say so. They certainly have a fully stocked bar.

                        coq au vin (him)-- he said it was "VERY GOOD."
                        sole meuniere (me)-- very tasty, but I thought the coq au vin looked better. The potato puree underneath it was very, very tasty.

                        creme brulee (him)-- I had a taste, and it was fine. Nothing to write home about, but I don't really enjoy creme brulee much.
                        meyer lemon tart (me)-- also very tasty, though I thought the crust was way too thick, and I wish the filling had been a bit smoother, not so thick a consistency. But the lemony-ness of it was just tart enough and not too sweet.

                        The ambience was great and we had a great time sitting at the bar. The place is very cozy, and the food was great, especially that steak tartare!! I highly recommend it. When we were finishing up on our entrees, we saw chef David Myers come out from the kitchen for a bit. I pointed out the chef to my date. (I was rather excited to see David Myers come out of the kitchen.)

                        I wore a very nice black skirt, with a semi-dressy top. He showed up in a pair of dark jeans and a jacket, and we didn't feel overdressed nor underdressed. LA dressy-casual for everyone in the restaurant (dark jeans, cute shirt; most men seemed to have jackets, but with a more casual shirt underneath.)

                        Can't wait to go back!

                    2. p
                      pws Nov 21, 2007 09:42 PM

                      We had called and gotten reservations several weeks back but we weren't in their book when we got there. After having us wait at the bar for an hour and a half (and assuring us that they couldn't have possibly made a mistake) we left; there didn't seem to be a whole lot of effort into correcting the mistake on their end. I've never been treated so poorly at a restaurant in my life. I can confirm, however, that it was noisy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pws
                        Woolsey Nov 21, 2007 10:18 PM

                        A call for confirmation could have cleared that up and helped speed you to a table. I got a call from them to confirm the day before my second visit, though I'd planned to call them. (I got to them before they called me on my first visit.)

                      2. z
                        zack Dec 10, 2007 08:13 AM

                        Had to try this place out for myself. It was packed on a Sunday night. No problem with reservation, arrived 15min earlier and was seated right away. Noise level is off the charts in this space. Run down of items ordered: glazed sweetbreads, steak tartare, duck confit, crispy skate, chocolate tart. The highlights were the bread/butter and the dessert (go to Boule). It's been mentioned here before and it's true...food is a salt-fest! Chef definitely has a heavy hand on the seasoning. Didn't have any standout dishes even if I choose to overlook the salt factor. Disappointed, I was looking forward to a great brasserie. Given the pedigree, was it too much to expect something better than another neighborhood french? No wine, bill was $110 after tax/tip. Will not be returning!

                        1. s
                          sue veed Dec 10, 2007 04:07 PM

                          We've been to Comme Ça twice now. Our first visit was flawless. The food and service were fabulous. We saw that David Meyers was at the restaurant that night and everything ran smoothly. Our second visit was a disaster. My steak frites were burnt. Both the steak and the frites. I really felt offended that whoever was in charge in the kitchen that night thought I wouldn't notice a burnt black charred crusty steak and dark brown fries. The server apologetically took the dish away and said they would make me another one. My husband finished his dinner and still no food for me. What really made it worse was friends of the manager came in and sat down next to us and had a number of complimentary dishes sent out immediately from the kitchen. I still had no food. Even though the manager kept coming by the table next to us, he never apologized or said food would be coming out shortly or anything. By this time it was ridiculous and we left. I've never left a restaurant hungry and without a meal before. I had to go by Vito's Pizza to get something to eat on the way home. I don't think I will be returning. Everyone can make mistakes, but it was really the attitude I didn't care for.

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