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Oct 27, 2001 10:10 AM

Anniversary at Josie

  • m

We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary at Josie last night. It's located at 2424 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica and is all of 7 minutes from our house. It was an absolutely wonderful meal, perfect service and the restaurant is beautiful inside. We sat in the back half, which seemed much quieter than the front part, in the corner of the banquette so that we were at 90 degrees to each other. I enjoy that seating best because you can talk easily and still play kneesies under the table.

I kidded with my wife about the service because we had an older man as a waiter who was so good at sharing information, being there before you finished thinking you needed something and just taking such good care of us, that I mentioned it must be a sign of age on my part that I no longer find the "actor/waiter" even remotely to my liking in terms of wait service. This guy was really, really terrific without even a hint of attitude. I would say that I have never had a better waiter, anywhere.

I wanted to surprise my wife, so knowing that she has always liked beef Wellington I asked Josie if she could prepare one for last night. She was wonderful about the request and it was the single best tenderloin that my wife or I have ever tasted in our lives, wrapped in a fantastic puff pastry. She did a bordelaise sauce that came in a tiny copper pan with a handle that was set on to the plate and grilled asparagus with garlic mashed potatoes. It was cooked perfectly, rare.

To start my wife had the wild mushroom sandwich, which she said was excellent. It must have been because she would only give me the smallest bite to try and I then wanted more, but being threatened with her fork I decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and backed off.

I had the special heirloom tomato salad with figs, japanese eggplant, arugala and things I am forgetting, but it transported my tastebuds to a planet beyond K-PAX. I had the wild boar for dinner. A very pleasent dish with flavor to spare, but next month when I go back I think I will try one of the fish dishes.

We ended with the three little pot de creme dessert sampler, which was so rich, creamy and sweet that it is probably a good thing that the little cups were to small for me to lick clean. One was caramel, one was chocolate and one was coffee. I also want to mention that the complimentary amuse was a slice of wild mushroom quiche, which was terrific. Hmm, I wonder how much a whole pie would be? Only kidding.

Tax and tip came to $150, and also included a before dinner drink, and a glass of red wine for me, on top of the bloody mary for my wife. Due to the fact that they share a huge lot with Rite Aid in the back I parked my own car, which is a big plus in my book. It was a really magical dinner, and night. I am a lucky man that my wife said yes when I proposed to her.

Finally I want to say that the bloody mary my wife had to begin has become our new gold standard for bloody mary's. I am going to be having one next month when we go back for my wife's birthday. The only drawback was was no olive or celery, but plan to ask for it next visit.

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  1. One of the great romantic (almost erotic) restaurant reviews of the year.

    1. Happy anniversary. Best wishes for the years to come. And thank you for the lovely recounting of your evening. AZ

      1. La Grubbe & I had virtually the same experience at Josie recently -- right down to the "back corner" banquette. She luxuriated in two nightly specials & the Grubman ecstacized over the boar. Truly one of our most memorable dining experiences.

        Lovely muted room that does not shout when full. Knowledgeable waitstaff who cooperatively tag-team without ever seeming intrusive.

        Two negatives, one minor, one major. Minor: sorbets were served in a dishwasher-hot bowl, causing premature melting. Major: well-selected wine list appears to be priced at 4 times wholesale, 3 times retail, or $20 corkage. The food, while pricey too is well worth the premium. The wines are predatorily overpriced.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Mr Grub
          Mike Kilgore

          Since my chowette does not drink wine I am always a "one glass" guy. I saw two lists, which I glanced at, one very upscale, ie. expensive $$$$ and the other much bigger and with seemingly more reasonable prices. Did you look at both lists? We are going again for my wife's birthday this month. I will probably post again, just to see if my feelings are the same on the second go round.

          1. re: Mike Kilgore

            As I recall, there was the one, reasonably extensive, well-selected list. It held 2 wines with which I am very familiar & even have at home, which is how I quickly calculated the 4x,3x estimated costs. We had a robust zin that was in the $50 "Encino" neighborhood, but would not have been out of place in the $35-40 "Northridge" neighborhood. Irrespective, the food experience & ambiance is so overwhelmingly wonderful, there will be a next time & we'll probably BOO & eat the $20 corkage. Look forward to your next report.

            1. re: Mr Grub

              the wine list is over all at a 2.7% mark-up

              1. re: lebalch

                Thanks, Josie, for a simply outstanding meal. May hounds everywhere beat a path to your door.

                I'm thinking you mean your wine list is 2.7 times, not percent. Is that times your cost? Retail?

                1. re: Mr Grub

                  Mr. Grub, sorry not to get back to you until now, I've been in and out of town and working, working, working.
                  We mark most of the wines by 2.7 times, and we buy wholesale. We have a second list of mostly hard to get and expensive items. We also check-out other wine list in town to see what others are charging. We try to be fair market value for what we offer all around.

                  1. re: le balch

                    Thanks again, Josie. I think all "premium" restaurants have inflated their wine lists in the very recent past. Pre-theater dinner at Impresario last night also revealed a wine list with no reasonable choices under $35. End result is shutting out folks like the Grubs who will pay any market-bearing premium for delicious food, but are less selective with wine.