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Feb 19, 2010 11:01 PM

Cafe Bizou Santa Monica is back

I passed by on my walk tonight. They're now re-opened for dinner Wed-Sat. The better news is that they're back under the original ownership/team. A few years back they had a switch in ownership/management and frankly went way downhill, then closed for dinner. I'm not sure of the business dealings, but they're back to the original ownership.
I spoke with one of the owners/chef and he said he'd be overseeing their return to the successful formula. That being very solid, if unspectacular, classics at a very reasonable tally. The old menu, which looks just like the Sherm.Oaks menu is in play. Monkfish, Lobster Bisque, Au Poivre, The $1 salad or soup add-on, nightly special, and best of all $2 corkage remain. There aren't many places this way to bring a bottle of wine and get an extensive meal for $30-35 including tip. Hopefully they'll return to form, and do well, but remain less crowded than the Sherman Oaks branch.

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  1. Good to know, John. Thanks for the heads up. Just noticed that they have quite a nice happy hour menu too:

    1. Is this the same as the Pasadena location?

      Did not feel it was all that, back a while ago when we went. It was fine, but nothing special.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Phurstluv

        Yes, now back to the same owners as the original in Sherm.Oaks and the Pasadena one, though I've never been to the latter.
        I don't know that I'm saying it reaches "all that" level. The food is neither cutting edge or superb. One has to consider the price in the analysis and definitely wouldn't expect a Melisse or even Anisette dinner. However it has solid basic dishes and the price seems pretty reasonable.
        I'm an eater and a drinker. So the $1 salad or soup and the reasonable desserts make for a well-priced meal say $23 pre tax&tip. The big win for a wino like me is the $2 corkage. If you don't like to drink and bring good wine it would be less of a draw. It's not uncommon for us to bring a bottle per person. Corkage has really crept these days in LA and $15-20 is typical for the mid-level places. The way I figure it, $2 at Bizou saves $10 off a meal. The room is very mundane in decor, but there is space between tables, the tables are good sized. it's very clean, and not loud.
        I'm going in this week to see how the old regime is doing and will post back.

        1. re: john gonzales

          You're right, John, those prices are very good. I just remember it being hyped up a little, back 10+ years ago, and tho we weren't disappointed with anything, I remember my impression being it was just meh. And this was before we had ever been to Melisse or Anisette, so I certainly wasn't comparing it to that level of food & service.

          Looking forward to your review.

        2. re: Phurstluv

          Sherman Oaks is better than Pasadena, but the restaurant in Pasadena is much nicer looking. If they were charging $50 per head and I couldn't bring in a bottle of wine, I would have another opinion of the place, but there is no where else I can get good soup (or a so-so salad), lamb chops and dessert and pair it with a nice bottle I bring from home for around $35 a head. I wish they had one in the OC, since I am getting up to LA less and less these days.

            1. re: happybaker

              I think closed forever. That was my understanding from our discussions with the wait staff regarding the situation last time we went (lease). Santa Monica location is totally off their website - only Pasadena and Sherman Oaks are listed. We only get over there for dinner, so not sure about the lunch listing but that would seem unlikely.