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Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks

Many years ago, when the Cafe Bizou originally opened , my wife and I were one of their first patrons during their first week of operation. Through the years, until she passed away ten years ago, the Cafe Bizou was always on our short list as where to go for a special evening. I haven't been there since. I'm seriously considering it for a special congratulatory dinner. Can anbody tell me if it has changed, and if it has, did it change for the better or the worse? Thank you.

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  1. I may not be a regular, but go often enough to know it's still pretty terrific. The owner is very warm and personable, and the food top notch IMO.

    1 Reply
    1. I think it's slipped a peg from what it initially was, but still good. The Pasadena location, however, is pretty ordinary.

      6 Replies
      1. re: mc michael

        Thanks, mcmichael. It was the Sherman Oaks one I was referring to. Thanks for your help[.

        1. re: mc michael

          jwrites4u, i apologize for the minor threadjack...but 1 quick question.

          mc michael - would you mind sharing how different and better the sherman oaks location is? we've been going to the pasadena location for years. i love their sweetbreads and monkfish, among other things. thanks.

          1. re: jacknhedy

            Maybe the night I went. Maybe the comparison of Pas Bizou to the prior Tra Fiori in Pasadena. Maybe the crowd. Everything just seemed brighter, more upscale, more professional in terms of service in SO than Pas. It just seemed more French in SO than Pas which seemed kinda one step up from a chain. And the lobster was nothing to write home about. Given the nearby competition of Vertical and Red White N Bluezz you'd expect better, but not.

            1. re: mc michael

              The owners are nearly always in the Sherman Oaks location and keep their eyes on the operation. I mean, with Philippe at the door offering his best French greeting, what is not to like as an opener to an evening out?
              I find the food fairly pedestrian, however, and the room when full, which it is very often, is cacaphony - cannot hear the person sitting next to you. Totally off-putting for me.

            2. re: jacknhedy

              I've eaten at both quite a bit, and the Pasadena location is by far the nicer physical plant. More comfortable, more roomy, a real restaraunt. But the food in Sherman Oaks is just a touch better across the board. I don't know why, but it just seems fresher. Maybe it is the 10,000 degree plates that are fooling me.

              1. re: ocshooter

                Chef/owner Neil Rogers cooks in Sherman Oaks most of the time.

          2. Hello... I recently dined at the Cafe Bizou's Sherman Oaks location for the first time, just two weeks ago (for a birthday celebration). I was very pleasantly surprised. On a Saturday evening, it was quite full and brimming with patrons across a wide spectrum. I began with a lobster bisque, with good flavor and generous lobster morsels (but could've been served hotter, in my view). Then onto steak frites, likely the best rendition I've ever had. Served medium rare (and the cut was surprisingly thicker than I'd expected), the meat was both tender and lean; the frites were textbook perfect. Service was fine, and the prices were incredibly reasonable. The lighting in there, by the way, makes everyone look attractive and cosmopolitan (even me!). A good choice for a celebration...

            1 Reply
            1. re: silence9

              Thank you, silence. You have told me precisely what I wanted to know.


            2. Their Steak Au Poivre with brandy peppercorn sauce is very good.

              1. My husband and I have started going there recently (at first, it was for their $2 corkage fee). I think they do fish well, and he loves the steak prix-fixe special. For a special occasion, I feel the staff goes out of their way to make you feel special, and the food is above par (especially the appetizers).

                1. Cafe Bizou gets a lot of mixed reviews. I like it, though I'll admit it's one of the places I think of when I need to take an aunt "of a certain age" out for a nice dinner—not exactly young, hip and happening.

                  The food is pretty good; it isn't going to be winning a James Beard award or a Michelin star anytime soon, but it is pretty decently executed and mercifully free of the overly-creative flourishes that so many places try when they're trying to be upscale. The $1 salad is well worth the money, with an excellent mustard vinaigrette (why on earth do so few places make an excellent mustard vinaigrette for a green salad), and the choices are down-to-earth. I enjoy their steak-frites; my wife loves the lobster.

                  The service, though, is what makes us go back to Cafe Bizou SO. Top-notch without being stuffy.

                  Case in point: we'd gone with a friend who, unbeknownst to us, had done some serious "pre-partying" beforehand. We sat and ordered dinner, and after the first course was cleared, the friend started showing signs of alcohol poisoning. The ladies at the table took her to the bathroom to try and help her.

                  I flagged down a busboy and handed him my credit card—even if the friend felt better, we weren't going to want to hang around—and just then my wife called from the bathroom asking me to come get the friend, who was getting worse, not better. I carried the friend out fireman-style through the restaurant and deposited her on the bench outside where we called 9-1-1. By the time the ambulance arrived, the staff had boxed our untouched meals, wrapped them up, ordered my car around from the valet, and put the food in the car. As the paramedics were working on our friend, I signed the ticket (with the biggest tip I've ever seen in my life), got in the car, and followed the ambulance to the hospital.

                  Unbelievable service, and done without even a flutter of the eyelashes.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Great story, Ubergeek. Sincere thanks for your response. We've just about decided on the Cafe Bizou. Since the one we're celebrating is 26, her sister is 22, and their mother is 50, we'll try to restrain our exuberantly boisterous enthisiasm. Jeff

                  2. You have to be kinding me!! This restaurant only serves food with sauce to cover the great taste...