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Bite Bar & Bakery - seriously good croissants

soniabegonia Mar 25, 2010 07:04 PM

I haven't been this excited about a croissant in a long time. It's better than Euro Pane when it was good, better than Maison du Pain in both texture and flavor, better than Hygge & La Brea Bakery by a long shot.

I've only had their croissants so far and was absolutely blown away by them. Amazing crunch to the exterior, tender and buttery sweet ribbons on the interior, perfectly seasoned and perfectly sized.

Looking forward to trying their other baked goods though it's really hard to pass up a perfect croissant.

In the old Violet space: http://bitebar.com/about-bite-bar-a-b...

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  1. mnosyne RE: soniabegonia Mar 26, 2010 11:08 AM

    Wow! Just got back from Bite. I had a fantastic, light and flaky pain au chocolat that was memorable, and a very nice capuccino. Their samples promise many delicious treats, and I'm looking forward to lunch and dinner in the future. They've done wonders for the old Violet space (I wonder how many coats of paint it took to cover the old murals), and the staff is welcoming. I'm really glad to have them in the neighborhood.

    1. c
      ciaolette RE: soniabegonia Mar 26, 2010 05:26 PM

      Oh My, I am so in trouble, this is right on my commute. I have been struggling to make do with
      ( pricey for their size) Pain du Jour croisants, I will be trying BB&B for lunch, menu looks very fresh, good range from Pulled pork to tasty sounding vegan.( is that an oxymoron?)
      I don't see any pricing online...what range are things?

      1 Reply
      1. re: ciaolette
        soniabegonia RE: ciaolette Mar 26, 2010 05:37 PM

        I only glanced at the menu but I think the prices were in the 8-12 range. Cash only for now until they get set up for credit cards. I'll be stopping in real soon for lunch. And speaking of samples, I tried 2 things last time I was there - something chocolate & a bread pudding - and those were very promising as well.

      2. mollyomormon RE: soniabegonia Mar 26, 2010 05:32 PM

        Thank you, thank you for posting. I wanted to post asking about this space when I noticed as I was pulling out of TJ's yesterday that something had finally opened in the Violet space, but I couldn't remember the name. Very exciting!

        1. liu RE: soniabegonia Mar 26, 2010 05:58 PM

          Thanks for posting, soniabegonia!
          This location is good after the Pico Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. The menus, both for breakfast and lunch, really appeal to me. I am looking forward to a visit there -- soon!

          1. b
            bulavinaka RE: soniabegonia Mar 30, 2010 11:49 AM

            We had breakfast at Bite this morning, and I really have to thank you for posting them on the board. It's a nice roomy space for its size, and casual - right up my alley. I get a strong sense that Elizabeth has put a lot of thought into just about every aspect of her place. The space itself, the service, and of course the ingredients and preparation of the food.

            The layout, the spacing, the decor, and colors are very easy on the eyes and inviting. We found both the tables and booths were comfortable, and the layout to be generous with a smooth flow from front to back.

            The staff is very friendly as well. The young man (Goberde) behind the counter seems to really enjoy the interaction with customers, and is very helpful with the chalkboard menu. It's somewhat limited right now, but I see tons of potential here. They are still in a "soft opening" stage, so I think they're working on the right matrix of menu items and baked goods.

            We ordered four different breakfast items. The pain au chocolat; the egg souffle in croissant cup with side of fruit salad; the eggy bread sandwich with fruit salad, and the croissant sandwich filled with homemade nutella and strawberries with fruit salad. One thing I immediately noticed was the freshness and quality of the produce. The fruits in the fruit salad (gooseberries, segmented citrus, ripe blueberries and strawberries) were far beyond the average afterthought and the herbs for garnish were very fresh as well.

            The taste and texture of the pain au chocolat was amazing - crispy almost shard-like in texture on the outside, while flakey, soft and buttery inside, enveloping a nice strand of quality dark chocolate in the middle. If textures and taste are the criteria for a great croissant, I think Bite might have one of the best (if not THE best) croissant in the Westside, if not LA.

            The baked goods in general that are displayed on the counter are first rate. I would urge folks to try the samples as you will end up reaching for more. We sampled the key lime slice and and the blueberry muffin. Yeah, blueberry muffins are everywhere, and key lime desserts are not so uncommon now, but the balance of flavors, the amount of sweetness and the textures in these were exact. I think it's the kitchen using first rate ingredients and Elizabeth just being so capable at her craft that pulls everything together.

            The egg souffle was nice, light and eggy, and slices of sweet cherry tomatoes and a chiffonade of basil on top, all held in a cup of flakey croissant pastry. A truly wonderful package.

            The eggy bread sandwich is basically a well-executed panini breakfast sandwich. A nice layering of frittata, bacon and cheddar cheese sandwiched in between two slices of slightly sweet brioche that is then pressed panini-style. If grill marks get points, then this sandwich gets a 10.0 from my son.

            The croissant sandwich is a lighter breakfast item. As it's described, it is a sandwich, but with the filling being strawberries and homemade nutella, it is on the light side, but full of flavor. The nutella is pretty amazing stuff. Dark - almost black - and the flavor of hazelnuts is far more pronounced and truer than the "real" stuff. Each of us enjoyed a bite and were left with "moles" of nutella on our faces as proof of its abundance in the sandwich. Anyone who loves nutella needs to try Bite's version. The bursts of flavor from the nutella and sliced strawberries packaged in a croissant of epic quality, this is no ordinary croissant sandwich.

            We ordered hot chocolate for the kids and a coffee and a cafe au lait. The coffee is medium-bodied - not extraordinary but perfectly fine. The cafe au lait was proper with a deep rich flavor balanced with a nice amount of steamed milk - no foam. The hot chocolate is billed as "home-made." The first sip confirms this - made from scratch. Very deep and rich cocoa flavors. I wouldn't recommend this for the kids unless they enjoy dark chocolate (as ours do), but you can ask them to thin it out with more milk.

            We picked up some pastries to go. I have yet to try them but will report back on what I think. I know this is based on only one visit, but I'm going out on a limb here by saying that if Bite keeps up at this level but with an expanded menu and more choices on the baked goods counter, I can easily see this place being referred to in a similar vein as Tartine in San Francisco. I feel the same commitment from Bite putting in the effort and ingredients that results in excellent baked goods and menu items. The difference is, while Tartine's food is more rustic and "big," Bite's food feels more formal and focused. I hope Bite continues to pick up momentum - they're truly on to something really good in my opinion.

            20 Replies
            1. re: bulavinaka
              soniabegonia RE: bulavinaka Mar 30, 2010 04:58 PM

              Wow! Thanks for fantastic review. I really can't wait to eat there. So far I've only had their pastries to go... the morning shift guy actually recognized me the other day... yikes! I definitely think they have the best croissant in town. I can't remember ever having a better croissant, anywhere. My office mates were looking at me funny because I kept moaning :)

              1. re: soniabegonia
                b
                bulavinaka RE: soniabegonia Mar 30, 2010 05:37 PM

                I was trying to decide this AM between trying a new place - Bite - or going to one of the tried&trues - either Pann's or Original Pancake House. Each would put me in a different direction, and Bite is right across the street from the SM Trader Joe's, where I needed to get some groceries. I don't even need this excuse for Bite in the future. It stands on its own. I hope they get the business they deserve, and this will hopefully give them the momentum to go full-swing on the rest of their menu. Thank you again for bringing Bite to our attention!

              2. re: bulavinaka
                Dommy RE: bulavinaka Mar 30, 2010 05:08 PM

                OMG... Epic post... almost made late for my editorial meeting... I can't WAIT!!!!!!! until they open the bar portion... this has been my dream for a while... :)

                --Dommy!

                1. re: Dommy
                  b
                  bulavinaka RE: Dommy Mar 30, 2010 05:45 PM

                  I saw the owner taking a quiet break in the front corner that is cordoned off by the shelving that holds some of the functional decor. I wanted to approach her and get the 411 on her, the timeline, etc., but I thought her quiet time was more important. I really like her take on everything that I saw as well as tried. Her tastes are right up my alley, and I can't say enough about her pastries. I hope you get a chance to drop by soon - this Chowpup would be truly interested in reading the impressions of a serious hound like you.

                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    Dommy RE: bulavinaka Mar 30, 2010 08:42 PM

                    Aww Thanks... I figure we got a little bit once the license stuff gets straightened out and and she gets her legs in the kitchen. I've waited LONG enough for a concept like this, I can wait a little more... :)

                    --Dommy!

                2. re: bulavinaka
                  b
                  bulavinaka RE: bulavinaka Mar 31, 2010 08:51 AM

                  We picked up the following pastries/desserts to go after our breakfast yesterday and tried them this AM:

                  Pain au chocolat: I know I shouldn't rate a day-old croissant and I should forewarn folks that this will not be the same if not properly stored. I made the mistake of leaving it in the box which also had an Ooey Gooey cinnamon bun. The additional moisture from the bun killed the once-perfect texture of the croissant pastry. I salvaged it by heating it in the toaster oven. The texture was close but not the same. The taste was awesome as the one yesterday.

                  Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Bun: As the name implies, it's ooey and gooey! Nice sticky sweet generous slather of icing that complements the bun-portion well. The bun has a nice swirl of cinnamon in it and the bun itself is toothsome and just slightly sweet, which makes for a nice balance with the icing. Truly good with my morning cuppa joe.

                  Flourless chocolate cake: Really nice glossy appearance and the garnish of candied kumquats and mint sprig is a very nice touch. While the texture is perfect - a chocolate ganache coating on a slightly firm exterior that immediately goes to a rich creamy center with some sort of nut flour - maybe almond - I didn't find it as chocolatey as I thought it would be. Considering how chocolatey everything else with chocolate was at Bite, I was sort of puzzled. I'll get another one some time just to confirm. I can see this going very well with a port or some other dessert wine.

                  Lemon Bar: A-may-zing. Nice firm bottom layer of crust that supports a very tart lemony layer that is topped off with piped on layer of lemon curd and garnished with ripe blueberries and powdered sugar. I would suggest taking a fork and knife, and cutting it into small pieces, as it's really flavorful. The best lemon slice I've ever had.

                  Bite seems to pride itself in taking things a step or two further, but in a very good way. When Elizabeth sees an opportunity to add a little more texture here (the croissants), a special garnish there (fresh herbs, berries, candied kumquats), a little more umph (that wonderful layer of piped on lemon curd), it is a measured and thought out effort. This place truly deserves a lookover by my fellow hounds...

                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    liu RE: bulavinaka Mar 31, 2010 02:57 PM

                    bulavinaka --
                    The lemon bar...better than Euro Pane (Pasadena)?

                    I love your mention of Elizabeth's little extra efforts to add a berry here and a piped lemon curd there. Those little extra efforts speak volumes to me. It is as though the owner/chef is saying to me: "I know you will notice and appreciate these little extra touches and I get great pleasure from that; it is my passion"... or something like that! It tells me that this chef cares!
                    This happens for me in sushi bars as well. When a sushi chef puts that little bit of sea salt or yuzu paste on my fish, I know that he cares about me as a customer. For me...and you, too, it's all about these details!

                    1. re: liu
                      b
                      bulavinaka RE: liu Mar 31, 2010 04:07 PM

                      Liu, now you've flipped up the interest-meter on Euro Pane. I've only enjoyed a croissant and an espresso cookie there on one visit - I think it was in the afternoon after one of my visits to the Huntington. So their lemon bar was very good. I'm usually much further south and east in the general SGV area but will keep this one in my pocket.

                      I think you will appreciate Bite. I saw you posted above, and I hope you get a chance to drop in after the FM and please share your thoughts!

                      1. re: bulavinaka
                        liu RE: bulavinaka Mar 31, 2010 07:51 PM

                        Seriously, after reading all of your posts here, bulavinaka, I'm already there!

                        As I mentioned, I love places that pay attention to the details...I love places where their passion shows! I am planning a visit soon!

                        And -- yes, the lemon bars at Euro Pane are quite delicious. I would prefer the crust to be more delicate, and then it would be perfect!

                        1. re: liu
                          b
                          bulavinaka RE: liu Apr 17, 2010 03:38 PM

                          Hi Liu,

                          I mentioned on exilekiss's "Euro Pane" thread that I've tried and truly enjoyed Euro Pane's lemon bar. And while I personally consider it to be a well-executed pastry, I personally prefer Bite's version. And I think that is what it comes down to - personal preference.

                          Euro Pane's lemon bar should be labeled, "the wallflower LEMONY bar." It's so diminutive and unassuming in appearance. The tray of lemon bars were sitting on the bottom shelf of the case - I almost missed them. I picked up a couple and tried one of the two - POW! A mouth full of lemony goodness with a rich eggy undertone - I could actually taste egg yolks and it was as if someone was simultaneously squeezing lemons and pushing lemon zest along with just the right amount of sugar in my mouth. This version leaves no lemon unsqueezed. But on the same token, I found this to be a tad too much for me. The shortbread crust is sturdy enough to hold up to each bite - a bit on the doughy side.

                          Bite's version is lemony, tart, sweet and smooth - just a little restraint on the tartness and impact of flavor. Not as lemony (which I prefer) as Euro Pane's, but it also has two levels of lemon-ness and texture to it. This comes from the standard filling one finds in lemon bars, but also the piped-on layer of lemon curd. This not only brings a different dimension of flavor, but to mouthfeel as well. I could be blowing smoke up my own @$$, but my flavor perception of Bite's lemon bar is that it does come from these two components, but maybe it does have more to do with mouthfeel. Their crust is more fragile than Euro Pane's - I pick up a little more butter in this version. And Bite's version is very pleasing to the eyes. Again, the layer of lemon curd is pleasing, as is the garnish of fresh berries and the dusting of powdered sugar - little details in the architecture that still keep it simple yet elegant. Kinda like comparing a well-built nicely appointed Craftsman home versus a Greene & Greene home.

                          1. re: bulavinaka
                            liu RE: bulavinaka Apr 18, 2010 03:46 PM

                            WOW! ...Hi, bulavinaka!
                            Whether this is an ode to the lemon bar or a lemon bar dissertation -- I think you have accomplished both! In my years, I have never heard the lemon bar described with such eloquence...what a masterpiece!

                            The "fragile crust" convinces me that Bite's version is the one to try. I also like your "pleasing to the eye." And then you made me laugh with your Craftsman vs. Greene & Greene...we were talking about lemon bars...how did your brain get THERE?

                            I enjoy all your posts, bulavinaka! You help to make these Chow boards so terrific!

                            1. re: liu
                              b
                              bulavinaka RE: liu Apr 18, 2010 04:52 PM

                              Hi Liu,

                              gee thanks... the activity and the commitment that so many hounds have makes focusing on food far more simple at first, then it takes one to another level where the little details and subtle differences begin to play into what makes the difference between great and greater, or just plain personal prefrerence. At the end of the day, it's not a matter of who's right or wrong, who really does have the best this-or-that. It's like traveling to a destination or meandering through the wonder of life in general - the journey of what makes you happy is what it's all about. :)

                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                liu RE: bulavinaka Apr 19, 2010 12:41 PM

                                Amen!
                                I love your spirit and your approach
                                .
                                I've never seen this as a contest and I have never chased the answer...it's all so much about having fun and personal tastes. For me, the pleasure is in the diversity and in the artistic details of all of that. Every bite is such a unique experience! Even if I were to find the perfect lemon bar bite for the moment, the next time it might be just a little different: the crowd will have changed, the temperature in the restaurant might be different, the background music will not be the same. For me, it is all of the variables coming together in such a way that makes the moment special or memorable...and I might not duplicate that the next time. So, I am very much in-the-moment present for those single awesome experiences. Each to his/her own.

                            2. re: bulavinaka
                              b
                              bulavinaka RE: bulavinaka May 3, 2010 04:47 PM

                              Hi Liu,

                              Just thought I'd mention that on my lunch visit to Bite yesterday, two exquisite lemon bars were asking about you - I'm one of those few who is fluent in citronese. :) The bars were well-coifed with the lemon curd as usual, the blueberries were perfect and I think the bars themselves have actually grown in size - too bad as I know you like them more petite in size. Looks like you'll have to ask them to cut it in half and leave the other half with my name on it. :)

                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                liu RE: bulavinaka May 4, 2010 08:23 AM

                                Greetings, bulavinaka!
                                You're a kick! Seriously, though, I am touched that you thought about me and lemon bars in the same bite!
                                I couldn't get to Bite last Saturday...was at Europane enjoying some egg salad and a lemon bar...a nice yellow lunch. Their lemon bars are so good, but the base "cookie" is still too heavy for me.
                                As you know, I have yet to try Bite's bar, but when I do, I will look for you there!

                                1. re: liu
                                  s
                                  sel RE: liu May 4, 2010 09:44 AM

                                  He's easy to find liu........friendly smile and a big bag full of assorted croissants on the table!
                                  Just kidding friend!

                                  1. re: sel
                                    b
                                    bulavinaka RE: sel May 4, 2010 11:57 AM

                                    Youch - I've been exposed... will have to put pork pie hat and sunglasses on my bag of croissants next time. :)

                                    PS: I was a good boy last Sunday - only took one croissant since they only had about four left. Wasn't sure if you or Liu might be dropping in as well. :)

                                    1. re: bulavinaka
                                      liu RE: bulavinaka May 5, 2010 01:43 PM

                                      You're funny AND thoughtful, bulavinaka...a charming combo.

                                    2. re: sel
                                      liu RE: sel May 5, 2010 01:42 PM

                                      Very funny, sel!

                      2. re: bulavinaka
                        a_and_w RE: bulavinaka Apr 22, 2010 09:12 AM

                        A better croissant than Amandine? I gotta try this place!

                      3. keepon RE: soniabegonia Mar 30, 2010 07:44 PM

                        I went after their Sat brunch rush - they were out of croissant, but I got the Sea Salt Caramel Espresso Square. So good!!!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: keepon
                          Dommy RE: keepon Mar 30, 2010 08:41 PM

                          Okay... that did it... we are going Saturday morning...

                          --Dommy!

                          1. re: Dommy
                            b
                            bulavinaka RE: Dommy Mar 30, 2010 09:23 PM

                            I forgot to mention earlier that at least up through today, they are still cash-only. They have yet to get a credit card machine in so you might want to call before hand if that might be an issue...

                            1. re: bulavinaka
                              Dommy RE: bulavinaka Mar 30, 2010 10:36 PM

                              Not a problem tomorrow is pay day *dances!*

                              --Dommy!

                        2. b
                          baloney RE: soniabegonia Mar 31, 2010 10:42 AM

                          Thank you, sonia for letting us know about this place! I stopped by this morning to grab a bunch of pastries and so far everything I've tried has been delicious. We got the plain croissant, choc. croissant, scone, salted caramel espresso bar, brownie, homemade oreo, and a latte. The salted caramel bar is ridiculously addictive! I would highly recommend not getting more than one at a time because it is likely you will eat everything in one sitting. The plain croissant was indeed very good, if a bit small for the price. And the oreo is also great though the cream does not particularly stand out. The cookie would be super just on it's own actually. I can't wait to come back and try more items from their breakfast and lunch menu!

                          1. n
                            noahbites RE: soniabegonia Mar 31, 2010 11:14 AM

                            Just stopped by. It was 10:30 and they only had one croissant left. They said somebody had just come in and ordered a bunch of them. Though it was, I must say, quite delicious.

                            My companion really enjoyed her fruit salad, and I had a sample of the salted espresso caramel bar and it was pretty darn good. I also noticed they had a special on the menu, which was a sandwich with pork belly, bacon AND pork cracklins. May have to try that next time...

                            Anyway, they are clearly still getting their bearings while in "soft open" mode, but the staff was nice and I liked the space a lot.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: noahbites
                              soniabegonia RE: noahbites Mar 31, 2010 02:49 PM

                              Just got back from having lunch at Bite - my second visit today - and had the special - Death by Pig ($13.75), with a generous portion of pork belly and cracklins. Some of the cracklins were too hard to chew through but the sandwich was still quite good. Had some sort of herb aioli and lots of tomatoes and served on a brioche-type bun. I could only eat half of the sandwich and brought the rest back for some heavy snackin’. But the real star of the dish, IMO, were the fries. They were twice-fried (maybe even three times?) Belgian style, reminiscent of Benita's Frites (boy, do I miss them!). Perfectly seasoned and impossibly crisp and light at the same time. Also came with a side of a rustic cole slaw with a lightly mayonnaise-y dressing. I thought it could have used just a little less dressing, but it was still nice.

                              I had stopped in this morning for a pain du chocolat, which, as other have said, was excellent, but I think I still prefer the plain because, well, maybe I’m just a purist or maybe I just like pulling it apart and letting the shards of the crust fall on the plate and seeing the ribbony layers come apart. Then picking up the crusty shards with my finger tips… You lose a little bit of the ribbon effect with the pain du chocolat. But hey, if that’s the first thing I had gotten at Bite, that would be my cat’s meow.

                              I’m in big trouble because I’ve already been in here 5 times since last Tuesday and it’s on my way to work (well, kinda sorta if I re-route my commute just a tiny bit…).

                              1. re: soniabegonia
                                b
                                bulavinaka RE: soniabegonia Mar 31, 2010 04:01 PM

                                I was planning on going to Bite for lunch today to try that specific sandwich, but a twist of fate kept me away. I'll live vicariously through your wonderful post until I get another shot at it. :)

                            2. mollyomormon RE: soniabegonia Apr 5, 2010 01:24 PM

                              I went on saturday and tried the chocolate chip cookie (oh my lord, this is insanely good if you're a fan of the thick, chewy style of chocolate chip cookie), the lemon bar (as good as everyone says), the hot cross buns (i'm guessing only for easter, but very tasty), the egg quiche (this was nice, although it had been sitting for a while and i'm sure was better fresh), the chocolate espresso bar (i loooove the toffee layer in this, although it was quite difficult to cut and eat, making it a difficult item to share), and the caramel apple crostada (good, although this was a bit too sweet for my taste).

                              We also tried the oasted Crab Sandwich with Paprika Aioli on Sourdough with watercress Salad which had plenty of fresh, well-seasoned crab, and then Mumma BITE’s Chicken Pot Pie! Has anyone else mentioned this?? This is really amazing. So homey and comforting, with a perfect amount of spice in the filling and a beautifully flaky puff pastry crust on top.

                              I'll definitely be back.

                              29 Replies
                              1. re: mollyomormon
                                n
                                noahbites RE: mollyomormon Apr 5, 2010 01:48 PM

                                Yeah, I've been pretty impressed so far. Popped in quickly the other day and had their bacon and leek egg soufflé. I really enjoyed it. Crispy exterior, yet a nice balance of fluffy and gooey inside. Very decadent, perhaps a bit too large, but quite nice.

                                1. re: mollyomormon
                                  mnosyne RE: mollyomormon Apr 5, 2010 05:39 PM

                                  I had the chik pot pie last week and have to say I was surprised by the sweetness of the carrots. They were like candy! Loved the crust and everything else. Generous portion of chicken. Made my tummy happy.

                                  1. re: mnosyne
                                    m
                                    maudies5 RE: mnosyne Apr 15, 2010 05:24 PM

                                    I would love to know how the chicken pot pie compares to Clementine's? Guess I'll have to go to Bite and find out.

                                    1. re: maudies5
                                      mnosyne RE: maudies5 Apr 15, 2010 05:29 PM

                                      Or I'll have to go to Clementine's....

                                      1. re: maudies5
                                        mollyomormon RE: maudies5 Apr 15, 2010 06:11 PM

                                        I've never had Clementine's chicken pot pie didn't know they had it! I'll definitely have to try it.

                                        1. re: mollyomormon
                                          m
                                          maudies5 RE: mollyomormon Apr 15, 2010 06:31 PM

                                          Delicious. Not too rich. Lots of good chicken& well-prepared vegetables. Excellent crust. Individual pies are $9.25.. They also make a large one which serves 4, but have never bought that size.
                                          I have two in the oven right now @ 375 for 25 minutes. They are far far superior to the Daily Grill's. I will definitely try Bite Bar & report back.

                                          1. re: maudies5
                                            Funwithfood RE: maudies5 Apr 16, 2010 09:57 PM

                                            I love the Clementine pot pie--always get the large, feeds a family of four for under $30. (and it's photogenic!)

                                            If Bite Bar has a great chicken pot pie, then there's another reason to go!

                                        2. re: maudies5
                                          Azizeh RE: maudies5 Apr 17, 2010 11:40 PM

                                          I had the pot pie at Bite and I thought that the broth/filling was very tasty. They made a point of telling me you can taste the white wine, for people who have to avoid that, I'm guessing.

                                          When I had it, it was just shredded chicken and mushrooms. I really would have liked more vegetables in there. Even the traditional peas and carrots would have pleased me. The crust wasn't special at all. I expected more because their pastries are so delicious, but it was kinda chewy, not flakey. The flavor was typical bland dough, not buttery like their amazing Croissant.

                                          By far, I think their Pain au Chocolat is the best thing on the menu, but I have a feeling they will be improving with time.

                                      2. re: mollyomormon
                                        b
                                        bulavinaka RE: mollyomormon Apr 24, 2010 05:13 PM

                                        Hi Mollyo,

                                        We went today for lunch and enjoyed their crab sandwich, chicken pot pie, deviled eggs, chickpea nanwich, and Cajun fries.

                                        First, let me preface this with the fact that I normally cannot stomach any iteration of an egg that even remotely resembles a hard-boiled egg. Taking in Euro Paine's egg salad sandwich last weekend might have softened my phobia a bit - the eggs are soft-boiled. When my wife ordered the deviled eggs, I sneered at her saying, "Are you nuts?" Three deviled egg halves later, I think I'm now over my phobia. These were excellent. Aside from the yolk-portion being so sublime and tasty, the paprika on top was actually pimenton. I love its smokiness and it just adds another dimension to the dish. And the plate itself had a nice line of a tabasco-inspired sauce that should not go to waste. It was as if tabasco, pimenton and sri racha were having a threesome - so naughty it's hard not to get involved. :)

                                        That crab sandwich was not only killer, the size of this thing is impressive! When I think of crab dishes in general outside of the SGV, crab is minimalized because of its preciousness. Not the case here. This is a sandwich living large. The size, the perfect toastiness from the panini press, the simple yet bold yet rich flavors of the aioli complimenting the savory crab flavors and aromas. This is what crab is all about for me. The watercress salad is a nice touch too. Fresh watercress with a lemon wedge. Another example that the produce here at Bite is still excellent.

                                        The Cajun fries were perfectly fried. When I hear Cajun, I think of bold flavors. I didn't really get this from the fries, but it's just as well. These fries really didn't need much, as they had just the perfect crunch and were seasoned just enough to let one know that there was something different about them.

                                        The chickpea naanwich is probably targeted to vegetarians. The naan is substantial and probably griddled to achieve doneness, a nice portion of a curry-seasoned chickpea mix is ladled on top the naan, and herbed cherry tomato halves generously garnish to complete the dish. The portion is quite large, and although I'm not vegetarian, I could easily order this again for a healthier change-up in lunch. It's not heavily seasoned, so for those who want something expressively Indian, it may disappoint. But the seasoning, as is most of the seasoning here at Bite, lets the basic ingredients do the talking. The tomatoes are a nice addition as well. The sweetness and acidity help balance the curry flavors and go well with the toasty naan.

                                        The Mumma BITE's chicken pot pie is an exceptional dish. From the flakey crust to the wonderful filling full of chicken, mushrooms and (I think small cubes of) butternut squash, it's a full satisfying meal for most. As you mentioned, it's homey and comforting. Also, as poster Azizeh mentioned downthread, one could pick up on the white wine - particularly in the mushrooms. Bite could easily make a vegetarian pot pie full of those wonderful mushrooms and hearty produce items.

                                        We were going to order the "Death by Pig" sandwich as well, but at this point, we probably would have died if we ate anymore. :)

                                        1. re: bulavinaka
                                          o
                                          Ogawak RE: bulavinaka Apr 24, 2010 07:05 PM

                                          Wow, we might have seen you. We had lunch there too, but for takeout. Wife had the crab and I had the Death By Pig. We loved the crab sandwich as well, definitely a keeper. I also loved my Pig. My first pork belly sandwich and it was a winner. We're definitely going to try the chicken pot pie and the cajun fries. I noticed all the croissants were gone by the time we got there, so I settled for the homemade oreo cookie which was more like a fudge brownie sandwich. Delicious.

                                          1. re: Ogawak
                                            b
                                            bulavinaka RE: Ogawak Apr 24, 2010 07:37 PM

                                            That very well might have been us! If the counter is out of croissants and you see a ravenous family chowing away with a bag of croissants sitting by our side, feel free to come on over and grab a couple - Chowhounds only. :)

                                            1. re: bulavinaka
                                              s
                                              sel RE: bulavinaka Apr 25, 2010 09:14 AM

                                              Hey there, were you the fellow that I chatted with at the counter about the pastries, lemon bars were sold out, bacon caramel chocolate popcorn balls, crowded TJ's across the street etc. before we ordered? When the hot batch of croissants came out I became weak and bought one then you went up and bought a bag full leaving only a couple? Shame!!!
                                              Anyway if that WAS you, it's great to have a face and family to visualize from now on when I read your very enjoyable posts!
                                              As far as the food and such, I've been about five times and have enjoyed all of their sandwiches except I have yet to try the Naanwich. I went for lunch Friday with the intention of ordering the Naanwich cause it was only a couple of hours before my bootcamp style personal training followed by an intense kickboxing class and I didn't want a heavy meal. Well the special of the day was a sandwich that I couldn't resist........Death by Pig and against my better judgement I ordered it and it was excellent! Just don't tell my USMC trainer that thinks that I am too focused on food!

                                              1. re: sel
                                                b
                                                bulavinaka RE: sel Apr 25, 2010 10:08 AM

                                                Hi sel,

                                                Wow - a true anonymous Chowhound connection! Yes that was us. I always wonder how many Hounds are around when I walk into a place to eat. I could tell when talking with you that you were not a casual eater. Likewise on seeing you folks as well. I bow in deep respect to the depth of your informative posts.

                                                I grabbed three each of the croissants and pain au chocolat. One for each of us, and a couple for my mom who is always munching on something. And the offer still stands - if I've hogged all the croissants and you find yourself in need, I'm always willing to share.

                                                The naanwich is definitely a healthy alternative, although that naan is pretty substantial. It's definitely California-inspired in my book - something that would be spa food but in probably half the serving size and twice the price at those hooty-tooty places. :)

                                                You look as fit and gaunt as a teenager - you can afford to take in a Death by Pig. I'm on the verge of considering a regular exercise regimen again. Chow is catching up with me and I'm not getting any younger either...

                                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                                  a_and_w RE: bulavinaka Apr 25, 2010 10:46 AM

                                                  It's chowhound fate LOL!

                                                  1. re: a_and_w
                                                    b
                                                    bulavinaka RE: a_and_w Apr 25, 2010 11:09 AM

                                                    Bite is one of those places where the probabilities are high - hope to see you soon as well... :)

                                                    1. re: bulavinaka
                                                      mollyomormon RE: bulavinaka Apr 26, 2010 10:36 AM

                                                      Thanks for the report back, bulavinaka! Maybe I'll run into you when I'm back in for some chicken pot pie!

                                                      1. re: mollyomormon
                                                        b
                                                        bulavinaka RE: mollyomormon Apr 26, 2010 11:11 AM

                                                        I would be honored!

                                            2. re: Ogawak
                                              hyacinthgirl RE: Ogawak Apr 26, 2010 12:52 PM

                                              Just want to add semi apologies. I got there early and grabbed two croissants... only one was left on the counter. I rarely get to be the early bird, but wow did it pay off!
                                              The best croissants I have ever tasted. Can't wait to go back and try an actual meal!

                                              1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                b
                                                bulavinaka RE: hyacinthgirl Apr 26, 2010 03:19 PM

                                                I think Bite is getting used to these runs on their croissants. As I mentioned above, it was after 2PM on Saturday and they still came out with at least two more small batches while we were there. You obviously have no shortage of karmic capital but I think if it were up to Bite - at least with this specific issue - they'd probably rather you behave like a viking and pillage the whole counter. :)

                                            3. re: bulavinaka
                                              Dommy RE: bulavinaka Apr 24, 2010 07:31 PM

                                              She's making deviled EGGS!! Dang, she must be have some secret list of making things that Dommy go YUMMMMM!!!

                                              Thanks so much for another awesome report!!

                                              --Dommy!

                                              1. re: Dommy
                                                b
                                                bulavinaka RE: Dommy Apr 24, 2010 07:38 PM

                                                Yupperoo... I found the texture of the egg whites and the deviled eggs to be perfect. The pimenton was a very nice touch as well...

                                              2. re: bulavinaka
                                                Azizeh RE: bulavinaka Apr 24, 2010 09:47 PM

                                                You're making me want to try the pot pie again. My crust was lack luster, but that could've been a fluke. The filling was delicious. I'd still like more veggies, but I can't think of a better thing to eat on our next rainy day.

                                                1. re: Azizeh
                                                  b
                                                  bulavinaka RE: Azizeh Apr 25, 2010 07:01 AM

                                                  The top layers of the crust on the pot pie were very flakey while the layers in contact with the filling were obviously not but rich in flavors - the white wine really completes a mouthful of tastes on this dish. I know that most chicken pot pies have a fair amount of veggies in them - relatively larger dice or baby vegetables is nice (eg, baby carrots, pearl or cipollini onions), and I'm kinda surprised that this one doesn't either. Bite obviously isn't shy about using quality FM produce and so it would seem logical. But when I consider any of their animal protein dishes, Bite's proportional use is considerably large relative to the other ingredients. So this is intentional. Whoever created this recipe had a goal of assuring pleasure by having plenty of flavor and also to be true to the name of the dish. If a menu item has crab, chicken, pork or beef in its name, you won't have to find it - it most certainly will be front and center. By the by, the mushrooms in the pot pie were memorable. And the side salad is wonderfully fresh as usual, which included a generous confetti of diced multi-colored beets as well.

                                                  1. re: Azizeh
                                                    mollyomormon RE: Azizeh Apr 26, 2010 10:37 AM

                                                    I suspect (or at least hope) your pot pie might have been a fluke since my crust was definitely flaky. I say give it another try!

                                                2. re: mollyomormon
                                                  b
                                                  bulavinaka RE: mollyomormon May 3, 2010 04:51 PM

                                                  Hi Mollyo,

                                                  Just an update on their crostadas. I don't recall the exact name, but in essence, Bite had a rhubarb/wild strawberry crostada on Sunday that was really good. Nice balance of tart, sweet and strawberry perfume filling the nose with each approach. We brought this home and I warmed it through in the oven this morning. This one's definitely a keeper.

                                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                                    mollyomormon RE: bulavinaka May 5, 2010 11:49 AM

                                                    I saw those and was very, very tempted to buy. How did they compare to Huckleberry's crostada, if you've tried the crostadas there?

                                                    1. re: mollyomormon
                                                      b
                                                      bulavinaka RE: mollyomormon May 5, 2010 01:53 PM

                                                      I've only tried the (I think) mixed berry crostada at Huckleberry - To compare the two would be difficult - two different animals, both of which I admire for different reasons. Huckleberry's crostada was mouthfuls of berries in a compact but substantial crust that envelops the fruit.

                                                      I did really enjoy the balance of sweet and tart on Bite's crostata. Their crostada had a smaller crust but almost like a crumb on top that was flavorful but didn't dominate in either mouthfeel or flavor - Bite is really good at establishing layering and balance of flavors and textures. What was really nice about this crostada was the aroma of the wild strawberries. As I mentioned, I warmed it through before eating it. As the little precious wedge of crostada approaches my mouth, a dose of the strawberry perfume rises through my nose first - this telegraphs thoughts of springtime in my mind. The slight tang of the rhubarb only confirms this.

                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                                        mollyomormon RE: bulavinaka May 5, 2010 02:18 PM

                                                        I'm sold!

                                                        1. re: mollyomormon
                                                          b
                                                          bulavinaka RE: mollyomormon May 5, 2010 02:31 PM

                                                          I just wish that Bite sold that crostada only by the dozen. :)

                                                3. b
                                                  bruinike RE: soniabegonia Apr 5, 2010 05:49 PM

                                                  Has anyone had the chickpea naanwich? I have my eye on that one.

                                                  14 Replies
                                                  1. re: bruinike
                                                    Mattapoisett in LA RE: bruinike Apr 5, 2010 06:17 PM

                                                    We had it the other day and It was very good. Dommy will post a picture soon. My one slight complaint with it is the Curry was a bit dry. I felt, in some respects, like I was biting into straight curry powder. That didn't bother Dommy but I would have liked it to be a hair more saucy.

                                                    1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                                                      b
                                                      bruinike RE: Mattapoisett in LA Apr 5, 2010 11:12 PM

                                                      Can't wait to take a look!

                                                      1. re: bruinike
                                                        Dommy RE: bruinike Apr 6, 2010 10:33 AM

                                                        Sorry for the delay... I'm in Work /Comps maddness...

                                                        And SO... as P. can attest, I have this thing about going to a restauant twice... I typically don't do it. There is just too much good stuff to explore in this city! Well not only did I return to Bite twice... it was a back to back visit!

                                                        First visit, by my lonesome for lunch. I ordered the Crab Sandwich...

                                                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                                                        Since this was my first experience with them, I didn't know what to expect. But I was suprised on how SIMPLE the dish was. Just a bunch of good crab

                                                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                                                        A gentle Paprika aoli to bind thing together, and undressed watercress with a lemon wedge. So simple, but SO good when eaten together. So many places claim to be the place where "The ingredients take the center stage" and believe me, I have no issue with condiments and spice but it was SO refreshing to find a place where it actually is true!! And of course the results were great!

                                                        So I was eager to return the next day with P. Here is where P. ordered the Naanwich.

                                                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                                                        Again, Not at ALL what we expected.... but nonetheless, simple with the tastes absolutely balanced. The Chickpeas used are very similar to the ones from Joans on Third (That were recently highlighted by the LATimes Foog Blog) but the inclusion of artichoke, tomatoes, peppers and cilantro leaves just added layers of flavor... As a sandwich, it didn't come together great. But as an entree it was VERY satisfying.

                                                        I came back for one thing... to try their Eggy Sandwich. I had in my head it was like a Montecristo with Bacon... so I was all over that... But instead it turned out to be something even BETTER... like a gourmet McGriddle... The Eggy Bread was thin and super crisp with the scent and taste of Maple Syrup just lingering on its edges. The bacon was plentiful, but it was the egg was perfectly fluffy but gave the sandwich its core. Super awesome. Also highlighting the simple goodness that is coming out of the kitchen, The fruit sald with its grapefruit, Baby Kiwis and Strawberries was a perfect compliment to the sandwich and a standout on its own.

                                                        Of course, we had to try some pastries over the two visits. We tried the Apricot Tea Cake, Lemon Bar, Hot Cross Bun, all which were okay. What really stood out was the Pecan Bourbon Cookie (The tingle of the bourbon was still there... SO good!) and the Croissant, which P. proclaimed his absolute favorite in L.A. In fact, the following day, we tried the the Croissant at La Maison du Pain (Just for science ;D) and we agreed, in terms of crispness and also body, Bite wins hands down.

                                                        In the end, Bite is not Huckleberry. BUT, honestly, I like the vibe and the approach SO much better. I can't wait until they get in the booze and open later... So we can have that Chicken Pot Pie properly!!

                                                        --Dommy!

                                                        P.S. They got their Credit Card machine up, so feel free to go wild with your order.... ;)

                                                        1. re: Dommy
                                                          k
                                                          kevin RE: Dommy Apr 6, 2010 12:00 PM

                                                          it's good that they take credit cards, i'll be there bright an early tomorrow to hit up a chocolate croissant and a capp, hopefully they also serve up that crab sandwich in the morning too.

                                                          1. re: kevin
                                                            c
                                                            citizenx RE: kevin Apr 6, 2010 03:48 PM

                                                            Was there today and ordered the crab sandwich also.
                                                            It was 11:20 and they had to check if it was OK to sell one since lunch doesn't start until 11:30, so kevin, you may be out of luck.

                                                            I liked the simplicity of the dish too. Dommy, my watercress was lightly tossed in a very citrusy dressing. It's more of a crab salad panini and it was good.
                                                            The place was empty when I was there but service for take out was very nice.
                                                            I have a bag on my counter with a cinnamon bun and an apple crostata waiting for my afternoon espresso. I assume they will be delicious.

                                                            I do plan to return soon and try more savory dishes.

                                                            1. re: citizenx
                                                              Dommy RE: citizenx Apr 6, 2010 03:54 PM

                                                              You are right... taking a look at the picture again (This is why I take pictures of everything, my memory is terrible) I see that was a very light dressing on it. A great compliment to the peppery watercress and the crab...

                                                              It's funny that you mention crab salad. I was trying to describe it to P and it was SO simple, I initially couldn't! LOL! He asked if it was like Tuna salad and I instantly said no because when I think of tuna, I think of Mayo, Onions and other thing. This was just Crab... but in the end came back to Crab Salad but in the way that Europanes Egg Salad is unlike every othe notion of Egg Salad you've ever experienced... LOL!

                                                              --Dommy!

                                                              1. re: citizenx
                                                                liu RE: citizenx Apr 6, 2010 03:55 PM

                                                                I can't wait!
                                                                How crowded is it on a Saturday at lunch time?

                                                                1. re: liu
                                                                  Dommy RE: liu Apr 6, 2010 04:03 PM

                                                                  Not.at.all! And even so, I find it SO hard to believe that the space was the old Violet.

                                                                  http://twitpic.com/1cp6jz

                                                                  It was so open and airy, the tables are WELL spaces apart. This is why I loved the Vibe so much more than huckleberry, it was so much more calm and less cramped. It reminds me of the vibe of LA Mill, where I very easily can do my homework (Free Wifi!) and enjoy amazing food (Not even a drink). L.A. NEEDS more places like these...

                                                                  --Dommy!

                                                                  1. re: Dommy
                                                                    soniabegonia RE: Dommy Apr 6, 2010 04:56 PM

                                                                    Really, it reminds you of the vibe of LA Mill? I think Bite is waaaay more relaxed. LA Mill feels kind of cramped and hectic to me. Also, I find it impossible to carry on a conversation there without shouting unless it's completely empty (which was the case only once for me, one early Sunday morning). I've been to Huckleberry only once and that was enough! I could not relax at all and felt like I had to shout to put in my order. Of course I want Bite to do well, but I hope it doesn't get so busy that it loses the chill vibe.

                                                                    Dropped in again this morning for a croissant & pain du chocolat (excellent as always) and got to sample the lemon bar. Having tried the lemon bar at Euro Pane (I think there's a comparison discussion going on somewhere...), I gotta say I much prefer the one at Bite. I find the Euro Pane version a bit too eggy. This one tasted of pure lemon with no eggy aftertaste.

                                                                    1. re: soniabegonia
                                                                      liu RE: soniabegonia Apr 6, 2010 05:23 PM

                                                                      Oooooooh...the lemon bar sounds perfect for my tastes!
                                                                      I like the one at Euro Pane, but I wish it were a tad more delicate.
                                                                      I think I am going to like the Bite Bar one -- as you describe it.
                                                                      Not even having been there yet, I can feel the calories! I am so glad this place is not in my 'hood!

                                                                      1. re: soniabegonia
                                                                        J.L. RE: soniabegonia Apr 6, 2010 05:32 PM

                                                                        I was just there today also. Agree about their superb lemon bar (FREE samples!).

                                                                        The Manchego Bacon Scone blew me away.

                                                              2. re: Dommy
                                                                b
                                                                bruinike RE: Dommy Apr 6, 2010 07:39 PM

                                                                Thank you for this! Pictures do tell a whole different story. That crab sandwich looks delish. I am not a mayo/aioli fan though. Hmmm. Nevertheless, can't wait to try their food!

                                                                1. re: bruinike
                                                                  s
                                                                  sel RE: bruinike Apr 6, 2010 08:29 PM

                                                                  My Toasted Crab Sandwich had very little aioli.

                                                                2. re: Dommy
                                                                  c
                                                                  cvc RE: Dommy Apr 7, 2010 02:27 PM

                                                                  Great to hear about the credit card situation and to see all of these posts. We went two Saturdays ago with $20 between us but still managed to share the ample and good pulled pork sandwich, an unforuntately dry red velvet cupcake, a very good double chocolate fudge cookie (not quite the quality of Buttercake's up the streeet, but hey, sometimes you're not inspired to go east of the 405), and a seriously over produced white chocolate mango macadamia nut rum cookie that might do better at happy hour. Agree about the vibe. Everyone was so welcoming that we'll go back sooner than later for the chicken pot pie and those croissants. Thanks.

                                                          2. Funwithfood RE: soniabegonia Apr 5, 2010 08:43 PM

                                                            Noted, thanks!

                                                            1. aching RE: soniabegonia Apr 6, 2010 05:25 PM

                                                              Oh man, this is a bad. I work about two blocks away...

                                                              I don't see their hours on their website - am I missing it? Or does anyone know what they are?

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: aching
                                                                J.L. RE: aching Apr 6, 2010 05:31 PM

                                                                They open at 8AM daily.

                                                                1. re: aching
                                                                  Dommy RE: aching Apr 6, 2010 07:56 PM

                                                                  Right now it's 8a-2p

                                                                  --Dommy!

                                                                  1. re: Dommy
                                                                    k
                                                                    kevin RE: Dommy Apr 7, 2010 11:18 AM

                                                                    the bakery closes whenever they run out.

                                                                    the chocolate croissant was awesome, flakey, buttery, ultra-goodness but maybe a tad too small. the smoked sea salt caramel espresso bar was way too sweet though.

                                                                    1. re: kevin
                                                                      b
                                                                      bulavinaka RE: kevin Apr 7, 2010 01:12 PM

                                                                      >>the smoked sea salt caramel espresso bar was way too sweet though.<<

                                                                      Only if you didn't have it with a large cafe au lait. :)

                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                        k
                                                                        kevin RE: bulavinaka Apr 8, 2010 09:23 AM

                                                                        that's true i didn't have a cafe au lait with it. nor any other coffee.

                                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                                          b
                                                                          bulavinaka RE: kevin Apr 8, 2010 10:12 AM

                                                                          I do have one problem with the smoked sea salt caramel expresso bar. Chow expert Mollyomormon already mentioned that it's difficult to share, let alone nibble on. Trying to bite into this seems futile. I ended up snapping off corners but in the process squished the chocolate with my lobster claw hands. In the future, I'll ask if they can cut it into small pieces if eating there, and will use my chef's knife if at home.

                                                                          1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                            k
                                                                            kevin RE: bulavinaka Apr 8, 2010 10:30 AM

                                                                            i just bit into it, and broke it apart, it really wan't that bad.

                                                                            1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                              J.L. RE: bulavinaka Apr 8, 2010 10:30 AM

                                                                              Their sea salt toffee espresso bar is delicious, but has a mineral hardness on the scale just below diamond. It requires a chainsaw to cut. The toffee makes it virtually indestructible.

                                                                              But again, delicious.

                                                                  2. mnosyne RE: soniabegonia Apr 9, 2010 12:36 PM

                                                                    I lucked out this morning, and got the last pain au chocolat. Yummy.

                                                                    1. liu RE: soniabegonia Apr 10, 2010 10:13 PM

                                                                      Another "OMG" for Bite Bar & Bakery!!!

                                                                      Thanks for posting on this oh-so-delicious place, soniabegonia!
                                                                      I so agree with all the positive words here. Everything we had this morning for breakfast was extraordinary...I agree: better than Maison du Pain and better than Euro Pane and better than Pain Quotidien and better than Amandine.

                                                                      We arrived about 11:00am and there were many open tables. The warm pain au chocolat was unlike any other I have had in LA: crispy and soft and gooey with fine chocolate.

                                                                      Both the egg souffle and the eggy bread sandwich came with a fruit salad that said: "I am not your ordinary fruit salad; I am something else." It contained a lot of fresh strawberries with kumquats and mini kiwis and blueberries and some finely shredded mint. This fruit salad was not a place holder or a decoration or an afterthought; it was seriously delicious!

                                                                      With one coffee, the pain au chocolat, an egg souffle and an eggy bread sandwich plus two fruit salads, we were just under $20 before tip. What value!

                                                                      When leaving, we tasted the brownies...the BEST! All of the bakery items looked great, but I'm going back to try their lemon bar and their chocolate bread pudding...after a few weeks in the gym!

                                                                      We were informed that they are going to serve dinner and be open afterward as a place for dessert. I do wish them well; they are doing something VERY special!

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Bite Bar & Bakery
                                                                      3221 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                                                      20 Replies
                                                                      1. re: liu
                                                                        Funwithfood RE: liu Apr 10, 2010 10:37 PM

                                                                        Wow, quite an endorsement if better than Amandine!

                                                                        1. re: Funwithfood
                                                                          liu RE: Funwithfood Apr 10, 2010 10:47 PM

                                                                          Hi, Funwithfood!
                                                                          I like Amandine a lot, but this chocolate croissant at Bite Bar was exceptional.
                                                                          Oh, please do give it a try...and be sure to order some fruit salad!

                                                                          1. re: liu
                                                                            b
                                                                            bulavinaka RE: liu Apr 11, 2010 07:17 AM

                                                                            +1 on liu's assessment. While I consider Amandine to be wonderful, I think Bite has put the better-knowns down one peg on the Great Bakes board. I've found that every aspect that I've taken into consideration (whether casual or critical) - looking at the layout, taking in the seating, considering what thought went into something supposedly simple like a fruit salad or even a garnish, the strategy of planning the architecture of a lemon bar, it's not random.

                                                                            One may not like this or that at Bite - I wouldn't be surprised. Everyone has their own personal tastes. But when taken in objectively, there's some serious mojo here.

                                                                            1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                              Servorg RE: bulavinaka Apr 13, 2010 03:48 AM

                                                                              Hi bula. I just went by a little while ago this morning (took a short detour) on the homeward leg of my morning ride and stopped to look in their window. Someone had added a note to one of the signs listing hours and other info (I used on of my headlights to read it) in red pen noting "dinner coming soon" and a big "we have WiFi" as well. Looks like a place we will check out soon (probably after they begin serving dinner).

                                                                              According to their posted hours they are open from 8 AM to 3 PM every day.

                                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                                b
                                                                                bulavinaka RE: Servorg Apr 13, 2010 01:14 PM

                                                                                Sir Servorg, thanks for the correction on the hours and the update.

                                                                            2. re: liu
                                                                              k
                                                                              kevin RE: liu Apr 11, 2010 06:01 PM

                                                                              i think i agree with liu on that chocolate croissant, makes me wish i didn't follow it with that smoke sea salt caramel espresso bar.

                                                                              1. re: kevin
                                                                                liu RE: kevin Apr 11, 2010 07:46 PM

                                                                                Hi, kevin!
                                                                                I'm smiling as I read your post...just thinking about that chocolate croissant. It was perfect.

                                                                            3. re: Funwithfood
                                                                              Azizeh RE: Funwithfood Apr 17, 2010 11:50 PM

                                                                              After being thoroughly impressed with the Pain au Chocolat, I decided to make it my pastry of choice for the last week. So, I've been sampling them when I see them.

                                                                              Amandine was totally average. The chocolate itself was nice, but the croissant was unexceptional. I did buy it at 5pm, so maybe it deteriorates over the day and I'd have to get it in the early AM for it to be thrilling.

                                                                              Anisette Brasserie is supposed to have an amazing one, also. I had it at the farmers market last Wednesday and it was tasty. But, it's still behind the one at Bite.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              Anisette Brasserie
                                                                              225 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                              1. re: Azizeh
                                                                                mollyomormon RE: Azizeh Apr 19, 2010 12:28 PM

                                                                                I like Anisette's pain au chocolat, but I didn't think it was anything to write home about. On the other hand, the raisin pastry at Anisette is one hundred percent worth the calories! I still haven't tried the Bite Bar one but maybe this week.

                                                                                1. re: mollyomormon
                                                                                  Funwithfood RE: mollyomormon Apr 19, 2010 09:21 PM

                                                                                  Agree had both the chocolate and ham & cheese at the Farmer's market last week. Good, but not memorable.

                                                                                  1. re: mollyomormon
                                                                                    Azizeh RE: mollyomormon Apr 19, 2010 10:36 PM

                                                                                    When we ate at Anisette a couple weeks ago, the chef was talking to some other patrons and was saying that their Pain au Chocolate was on so-and-so's list of 100 things to eat before you die. I really can't remember the specifics of whose name he was dropping (happy hour, if you catch my drift.) We wanted to try it then, but weren't offered a dessert menu anyway.

                                                                                    After hearing that, I expected a lot more. It didn't have that insanely buttery taste that Bite Bar has, nor the shatteringly flakey texture that leaves a mess allover my shirt. I'd get it again if I were at the market, but if I were driving to pick some up, Bite Bar would win out.

                                                                                    1. re: Azizeh
                                                                                      Servorg RE: Azizeh Apr 20, 2010 05:17 AM

                                                                                      "...the chef was talking to some other patrons and was saying that their Pain au Chocolate was on so-and-so's list of 100 things to eat before you die."

                                                                                      Golda Meir? Tracey Gold? The Gold Standard? Jonathan Gold? I think one of those is probably the answer... ;-D>

                                                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                                                        Dommy RE: Servorg Apr 20, 2010 08:14 AM

                                                                                        It would be Mr. Gold...

                                                                                        --Dommy!

                                                                                        1. re: Dommy
                                                                                          Funwithfood RE: Dommy Apr 20, 2010 11:43 PM

                                                                                          Hmm, must have been a better specimen than I enjoyed.

                                                                                    2. re: mollyomormon
                                                                                      groover808 RE: mollyomormon Apr 20, 2010 07:12 AM

                                                                                      That raisin pastry at Anisette is ridiculously good. For my local fix, the lemon swirl thing at 85 degrees in Irvine is ok.

                                                                                    3. re: Azizeh
                                                                                      n
                                                                                      namstermonster RE: Azizeh Aug 19, 2010 12:22 PM

                                                                                      the pain au chocolat at bottega is surprisingly good. i used to get one every wk (pretty much the only thing thr thas good, save for the white choco loaf). i prefer it to the one at anisette and bite. the last time i went, however, the croissant was not flaky but dense and mushy with a completely diff taste. haven't been back since but i hope that was just a fluke.

                                                                                      1. re: namstermonster
                                                                                        aching RE: namstermonster Aug 20, 2010 08:25 AM

                                                                                        I love that pain au chocolat too - it's my regular weekend treat!

                                                                                  2. re: liu
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                                                                                    bulavinaka RE: liu Apr 11, 2010 07:18 AM

                                                                                    What? No lemon bar? :(

                                                                                    1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                      liu RE: bulavinaka Apr 11, 2010 09:10 AM

                                                                                      laughing hysterically...

                                                                                      It was a cool morning yesterday...a rarity in our parts, so I thought I would pair that with the warm pain au chocolat.

                                                                                      For a moment last night while drifting off to sleep I regretted that I didn't carry out a lemon bar...but then I remembered that there is next Saturday morning for that! When the genie arrives I will wish for another stomach!

                                                                                      1. re: liu
                                                                                        b
                                                                                        bulavinaka RE: liu Apr 11, 2010 10:05 AM

                                                                                        >>When the genie arrives I will wish for another stomach!<<

                                                                                        LOLing!! Send the genie my way when you've been granted your wish. Please mention that I'll be wishing for the same!

                                                                                  3. n
                                                                                    New Trial RE: soniabegonia Apr 11, 2010 05:16 PM

                                                                                    This weekend, I had the potato and leek soup with bacon--decent but a little too sweet for my tastes (caramelized leeks?) with no real contribution from the bacon. The chicken pot pie was excellent, with a strong note of white wine in the sauce. The lemon bar for dessert was perfection down to the ripe blueberry on top. My to go bourbon pecan cookie for later was even better, though!

                                                                                    1. d
                                                                                      dharmathug RE: soniabegonia Apr 14, 2010 09:42 AM

                                                                                      So far Amandine on Wilshire gets my vote for the best croissant in LA as well as best viennoises. So I will need to check this out

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: dharmathug
                                                                                        liu RE: dharmathug Apr 14, 2010 10:22 AM

                                                                                        dharmathug - Please do report back because for a few of us, Amandine is a close second. I am, however, still thinking about the chocolate croissant at Bite Bar from a week ago.

                                                                                        1. re: liu
                                                                                          d
                                                                                          dharmathug RE: liu Apr 17, 2010 01:53 PM

                                                                                          Well, I got there at 1 PM and 1 croissant was left - a good test for a croissant is to have it after it has been sitting a while. It held up well, not as crusty of course as a morning one would be but nice layers inside and no rancid taste you would have with inferior ingredients. Almost sweet, a style I traditionally have not cared for. But over all it certainly is up there, but I'd have to do a side by side test with Amandine to fairly compare. But too small in size , definitely smaller than a typical one should be.

                                                                                          On a side note, I stopped in to Michel RIchard on Robertson the other day, after having driven by it hundreds of times over the years. Now that croissant is the perfect shape and size, bakers take note, and the taste was good. What a surprise, who knew a French bakery could produce a decent croissant here in LA? lol And they are moving to Melrose.

                                                                                      2. l
                                                                                        ladybarfly RE: soniabegonia Apr 14, 2010 11:31 AM

                                                                                        Always on the prowl for the best croissant, we're on our way.
                                                                                        Thanks for the suggestion.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: ladybarfly
                                                                                          mnosyne RE: ladybarfly Apr 14, 2010 12:42 PM

                                                                                          I hope you got there in time; the good stuff goes fast!

                                                                                        2. groover808 RE: soniabegonia Apr 14, 2010 10:08 PM

                                                                                          The bf and I took an impromptu vacation day and my first thought was Bite Bar and Bakery! We arrived around 11:30ish.

                                                                                          Plain croissant and pain au chocolat: Definitely a shatteringly crisp and flaky croissant on the outside with a tender interior. The layers are more pronounced and substantial so you'll see maybe 1/2 the number of layers in a usual croissant. Loved the end, crispy pieces of the croissant! The pain au chocolat is a more traditional squarish shape with a delicious ribbon of chocolate in the middle. Good stuff, they are much smaller than the usual croissant.

                                                                                          Salted caramel espresso bar: A oatmeal cookie-like base topped with a layer of caramel and then a rich, smooth chocolate ganache. It's all topped with a few sprinkles of salt (fleur de sel?). This thing is fantastic, lots of texture and pure unadulterated sweet goodness. The bf and I shared this, alternately taking bites, and it stood up, didn't crumble at all. This got the thumbs up from the chocoholic bf.

                                                                                          Lemon bar: Substantial crumb to lemon curd ratio (almost 50/50). This also didn't crumble as we bit into it. It's very attractive, with the curd piped all over in a nice pattern. I enjoyed this, the curd wasn't overly sweet. I would've preferred a bit more tart flavor, but that's just me.

                                                                                          We also had a mocha which was nice and strong, but I don't think their mocha is very sweet. You may want to taste and add some sugar if you prefer a traditional sweet "mocha". So glad I made it here, the guy working the front was really nice and made sure we checked out the samples. Oh how I wish this was closer to OC....

                                                                                          1. o
                                                                                            Ogawak RE: soniabegonia Apr 17, 2010 06:16 PM

                                                                                            We've been twice now and had had their fabulous croissants, including the pain du chocolat. Not much we can add to all the glowing comments. My experience was that there was a wonderfully layered crispiness to the croissant, and you could really taste the butter. Also a fan of the lemon tart and especially of the eggy bread. That eggy bread was a marvelous revelation.

                                                                                            We hope to come for lunch to try their crab sandwich, and for when they open for dinner.

                                                                                            1. j
                                                                                              js76wisco RE: soniabegonia Apr 19, 2010 10:41 AM

                                                                                              The croissant was very good and described well by many on the board. I'd say its up there with some others in town.

                                                                                              The one disappointment I had with the meal was the waffles and the bacon. Niman Ranch bacon ordered on the side with the special waffles on Saturday. The bacon was especially disappointing because it was unexpected and had I known about the preparation I certainly would not have ordered it. The bacon was coated with honey and fennel seeds. I enjoy bacon for the bacony smoky porky goodness and was not pleased with this interpretation. The waffles were a little undercooked and didn't have that crunchy crispy texture. You could tell from the color of the waffle that they were a bit undercooked.

                                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: js76wisco
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                                                                                                maudies5 RE: js76wisco Apr 20, 2010 04:21 PM

                                                                                                I popped in there today at 11:30 for an early lunch. Had the crab sandwich. This may be my new favorite sandwich in Los Angeles. It was delicious, beautiful in its simplicity and not too big. The watercress salad was as fresh as can be. The two items complemented each other so well. They were offering samples of the lemon bar. Fantastic!! I brought 2 home for dessert. Given that they close at 3:00 and so many items looked so promising for dinner, I inquired about getting the chicken pot pies to go. The nice young woman who was helping me said that the CPP was the only thing that they could not prepare to go as they don't yet have the proper "to go" supplies for that dish. Also, each pie is made to order (unlike Clementine which is already baked and just needs reheating at home). I ended up ordering 2 pulled pork/cole slaw sandwiches to take home for dinner. I asked if they would please de-construct the sandwiches so I could reheat the pork and reassemble at home. They had never heard of doing that and were pleasantly surprised by the idea. So, buns in one box, cole slaw in plastic container and pork in another plastic container.
                                                                                                I so want Bite to succeed. It is definitely my kind of place. Can't wait to try their waffle on Saturday after Pico-Cloverfield Farmer's Market.

                                                                                                1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                  mollyomormon RE: maudies5 Apr 20, 2010 04:27 PM

                                                                                                  I so want them to succeed as well. there's a place called Hot Chocolate in Chicago that bills itself as a restaurant and dessert bar and I've been pining for something similar in LA. I think this just might be it once they start serving dinner and dessert!

                                                                                                  1. re: mollyomormon
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                                                                                                    bulavinaka RE: mollyomormon Apr 20, 2010 05:02 PM

                                                                                                    I'll be super-curious to see the wine list. As good as Elizabeth, Gavin et al have been on their abilities so far, I'm betting they will show me a lot of stuff that I've just been missing. Are they strictly wine, or are they also serving cocktails?

                                                                                                    1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                      mollyomormon RE: bulavinaka Apr 20, 2010 05:26 PM

                                                                                                      I'm guessing they have the same liquor license as Violet, which was beer and wine only.

                                                                                                      1. re: mollyomormon
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                                                                                                        bulavinaka RE: mollyomormon Apr 20, 2010 05:30 PM

                                                                                                        That's fine with me. Thank you.

                                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                          mollyomormon RE: bulavinaka Apr 20, 2010 05:34 PM

                                                                                                          I wish they had a full bar, but am pretty excited regardless!

                                                                                                  2. re: maudies5
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                                                                                                    bulavinaka RE: maudies5 Apr 20, 2010 04:58 PM

                                                                                                    >> I asked if they would please de-construct the sandwiches so I could reheat the pork and reassemble at home. They had never heard of doing that and were pleasantly surprised by the idea.<<

                                                                                                    Now that's a bona fide Chow Hound contributing another layer of greatness to an already great place. I don't know if your response to js 76wisco's post acknowledges his or her view on their waffle, but just a heads-up.

                                                                                                    1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                      maudies5 RE: bulavinaka Apr 20, 2010 05:17 PM

                                                                                                      I did see the waffle review, but I am willing to give Bite the benefit of the doubt as everything else is so superb. Thanks for the heads -up. Can't recall if I mentioned how great their iced tea is ($2.25). Perfectly brewed, nice and strong and poured over your glass of ice.

                                                                                                      1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                        maudies5 RE: maudies5 Apr 20, 2010 06:24 PM

                                                                                                        Took a close look at the Bite Website and noticed the Catering link.
                                                                                                        Their catering options look great; everything from fancy weddings to tapas>comfort food>room temp options.>Super Bowl, etc.
                                                                                                        Given my (self-confessed) very limited experience there, I would surely consider Bite if planning a little casual soiree. The menus appear to be quite creative and the food nicely presented.

                                                                                                      2. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                        js76wisco RE: bulavinaka Apr 22, 2010 02:04 PM

                                                                                                        I am also willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on the waffle considering every other item I've had there, especially their baked goods, has been very good to excellent. Elizabeth reached out to me via Yelp and apologized for the waffle since it was a new item that they were beta testing. She also mentioned that they are going to modify the bacon. The bacon was topped with fennel seeds and maple syrup not honey I believe. The bacon will just be bacon and stand on its own. When you're using Niman Ranch I think that plenty good on its own.

                                                                                                        I hope they end up being successful because the service has been great and the owners seem to be intimately involved. Plus their croissants are sick.

                                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka
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                                                                                                          bulavinaka RE: bulavinaka May 3, 2010 05:01 PM

                                                                                                          We tried the pulled pork sandwich yesterday and it was really good. So was the tartar (?) sauce on the side and the fried cornichons. Again, just a nicely executed sandwich. The pork was a little on the sweet side with the vinegar just lingering through.

                                                                                                        2. re: maudies5
                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                          mdpilam RE: maudies5 Apr 20, 2010 11:48 PM

                                                                                                          Am curious as to how the re-constructed sandwiches were... I love a good pulled pork sandwich; was it a vinegar based sauce (ala, Carolina style?).

                                                                                                          1. re: mdpilam
                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                            maudies5 RE: mdpilam Apr 21, 2010 04:54 PM

                                                                                                            Thanks for asking. I am sure that the sandwich would have been better served constructed straight out of the kitchen. Having said that, it was still damn good. I reheated the pork very gently on the stove. The pork was very tender. Your query about the sauce is interesting, as the pork was not saucy; just very flavorful. My guess is that it was made with a vinegar-based sauce, as opposed to a Texas-type sauce. The cole slaw was outstanding as was the salad which came on the side. The bun was exceptionally good and it appeared to have been grilled. It just needed a little heat, so I put it on the side of the pan where the pork was heating.
                                                                                                            I would definitely order the deconstructed pulled pork sandwich again. It was really good at the end of a long day when I was in no mood to cook.

                                                                                                        3. re: js76wisco
                                                                                                          o
                                                                                                          Ogawak RE: js76wisco May 24, 2010 02:21 PM

                                                                                                          This being such a long post, I didn't want to keep piling on, but wife and I had their waffles on Sunday. Now I make a pretty good belgian waffle at home, and haven't had a better waffle at a restaurant. The waffle at Bite was the first time I liked the resto version better than my own. It was light, crispy and no dough-iness. As Bulavinaka mentioned elsewhere, the butter was served room temperature along with the syrup. Fantastic. I highly recommend these.

                                                                                                          The croissants were as good as ever, as was the eggy bread, which a friend ordered. The pain au chocolat was piping hot. For future reference, if the chocolat is that hot, give it a few minutes to cool down. I still wolfed it down.

                                                                                                        4. s
                                                                                                          shebop RE: soniabegonia Apr 20, 2010 10:16 PM

                                                                                                          Wow! Made it in today - the chocolate croissant and lemon bar were soooo good!
                                                                                                          Nobody has mentioned the bags of honeycomb - it melts in your mouth.....
                                                                                                          I am so glad I do not live too close!

                                                                                                          1. p
                                                                                                            PandanExpress RE: soniabegonia Apr 21, 2010 05:34 PM

                                                                                                            Made it in for lunch today and ordered the reuben sandwich (they were out of the crab) and a croissant.

                                                                                                            The reuben sandwich was decent and a good serving size. I liked that their house-made sauerkraut wasn't too acidic or strong. The corned beef was also good and not overly salted. Overall, a decent sandwich, but for $12+ a sandwich (and a small side of salad) I expect no less.

                                                                                                            The croissant was disappointing considering all the hubbub on this thread about it. I agree that the flakey outside was perfect, but the inside of mine was heavy and doughy in the middle. Sure, it was buttery, but it was also denser than I would have liked. Not sure if I just got a bad one or what.

                                                                                                            27 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: PandanExpress
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                                                                                                              bulavinaka RE: PandanExpress Apr 21, 2010 05:51 PM

                                                                                                              >>Not sure if I just got a bad one or what.<<

                                                                                                              I don't know if you did either, but might it be possible that you just don't care for their "style" of croissant? I don't think hysteria is causing so many eaters to cultishly fall in line and agree on enjoying their croissant so much. :) The layers are more pronounced to me - I liked this - maybe more toothsome?

                                                                                                              1. re: bulavinaka
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                                                                                                                PandanExpress RE: bulavinaka Apr 21, 2010 06:22 PM

                                                                                                                "The layers are more pronounced to me - I liked this - maybe more toothsome?"

                                                                                                                That's what I was hoping for: distinct, buttery layers that melt in your mouth. Instead, the middle of mine looked like someone took those layers and squashed it together into a dense pastry. I don't think the croissant was crushed or anything because the outside was still perfect and intact.

                                                                                                                1. re: PandanExpress
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                                                                                                                  bulavinaka RE: PandanExpress Apr 21, 2010 06:59 PM

                                                                                                                  Hmmm - maybe you did get a bad one...

                                                                                                                  Pandan is not so common around most parts of LA. I may have to start following your blog. :)

                                                                                                              2. re: PandanExpress
                                                                                                                soniabegonia RE: PandanExpress Apr 21, 2010 07:30 PM

                                                                                                                I'd give it another try - I took my husband there on Sunday and he took one bite and his eyes grew until they were popping out of their sockets. (Ok, did I just hype that up some more?!?) Anyway, they've been consistently good for me. I do think they've started using even more butter than the first few times I went. The last 2 croissants I've had were noticeably fattier. They are also slightly bigger now, maybe 10-15% bigger than before. I think I prefer them smaller and less buttery (though they were still damn buttery before). I mean, they were just absolutely perfect the first few times but the new bigger, fattier version is just marginally less than perfect, but still approaching perfect. :)

                                                                                                                1. re: soniabegonia
                                                                                                                  liu RE: soniabegonia Apr 21, 2010 08:57 PM

                                                                                                                  Oh, noooooo!
                                                                                                                  I, too, loved the smaller croissant; it was just enough! Actually, we split one and it was still just enough...oh, and we had an egg souffle, too!
                                                                                                                  I don't want Bite Bar to get more perfect...they are already very fine!

                                                                                                                  1. re: liu
                                                                                                                    d
                                                                                                                    dharmathug RE: liu Apr 21, 2010 11:04 PM

                                                                                                                    going to repost since Liu didn't see my reply:
                                                                                                                    Well, I got there at 1 PM and 1 croissant was left - a good test for a croissant is to have it after it has been sitting a while. It held up well, not as crusty of course as a morning one would be but nice layers inside and no rancid taste you would have with inferior ingredients. Almost sweet, a style I traditionally have not cared for. But over all it certainly is up there, but I'd have to do a side by side test with Amandine to fairly compare. But too small in size , definitely smaller than a typical one should be.

                                                                                                                    On a side note, I stopped in to Michel RIchard on Robertson the other day, after having driven by it hundreds of times over the years. Now that croissant is the perfect shape and size, bakers take note, and the taste was good. What a surprise, who knew a French bakery could produce a decent croissant here in LA? lol
                                                                                                                    And they are moving to Melrose

                                                                                                                    1. re: dharmathug
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                                                                                                                      bulavinaka RE: dharmathug Apr 22, 2010 06:09 AM

                                                                                                                      >>But too small in size , definitely smaller than a typical one should be.<<

                                                                                                                      Since at least a few Hounds have posted on this issue, in-shop eaters may have expressed this as well. And Bite might be responding to this. Here's a clip of soniabegonia's most recent post on croissants:

                                                                                                                      >>The last 2 croissants I've had were noticeably fattier. They are also slightly bigger now, maybe 10-15% bigger than before. I think I prefer them smaller and less buttery (though they were still damn buttery before). I mean, they were just absolutely perfect the first few times but the new bigger, fattier version is just marginally less than perfect, but still approaching perfect. :)<<

                                                                                                                      And this could explain poster pandanexpress's description of her croissant:

                                                                                                                      >>Instead, the middle of mine looked like someone took those layers and squashed it together into a dense pastry. I don't think the croissant was crushed or anything because the outside was still perfect and intact.<<

                                                                                                                      I took the liberty of searching pandanexpress's website for potential entries on her experience, and found this photo with accompanying comment:

                                                                                                                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/princess...

                                                                                                                      I could be wrong, but in my mind, what might be happening is Bite's croissant is evolving. In the process of creating a larger croissant, the various factors that applied to making their original smaller but superb croissant don't apply - at least not exactly. I would think the temperature through the baking process would be a key factor, as well as the baking time. It could even be something to do with the proofing process. The weather this week has been markedly different around the Westside - I'm not making excuses for Bite, but science is an integral part of a pastry chef's concerns. Factors like ambient temperature and relative humidity have changed drastically, possibly affecting their dough, thereby affecting the end product.

                                                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                        soniabegonia RE: bulavinaka Apr 22, 2010 09:45 AM

                                                                                                                        This is some serious croissant detective work! I completely agree with everything. Their croissant has definitely evolved. The first time I had their "new" version, I thought it was a fluke, but they seem to be sticking with the new formula, for good or bad. I still think it's superb.

                                                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                          a
                                                                                                                          atroseman RE: bulavinaka Apr 24, 2010 09:34 AM

                                                                                                                          i don't think their croissants are evolving, but then again i didn't see them before today. got the plain and chocolate. both the smallest i have ever seen and over $6 for both!! there were very good, but not worth the money and still not better than the one i got from tartine in SF. granted i don't live in SF, but i don't have any croissant fixes that i need to indulge. on the other hand....primo's buttermilk donut. that is a morning breakfast i can happily eat all the time and less than $1!!!

                                                                                                                          1. re: atroseman
                                                                                                                            Servorg RE: atroseman Apr 24, 2010 10:03 AM

                                                                                                                            Primo's is primo! And Mr. Primo (Ralph) said he is going to be offering cupcakes soon (he was telling me his plans last week and said this morning he's getting close to doing his first batch). Something to live for.

                                                                                                                            1. re: atroseman
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                                                                                                                              bulavinaka RE: atroseman Apr 24, 2010 04:31 PM

                                                                                                                              I was at Bite for lunch today, and if my memory serves me correctly, the size seems to be what I experience a couple of weeks ago. Maybe they've reverted back to the original as they feel that the original croissant is working better for them for what ever reason.

                                                                                                                              If you feel that they don't measure up, particularly for the price or compared to Tartine, that's your call. I was equally unimpressed with Tartine, as maybe the hype leading up to experiencing that confused mess in there was what killed my expectations. A great croissant, but I can leave it at that. Not earth-shattering nor life-changing. That's just me. Looking at Bite's croissant situation semi-objectively, I can tell you that while I was there, people eating lunch would see and smell the fresh croissants coming out at 2PM, and they would get up from their tables, walk over and buy up the croissaints, then return to the table with the croissants in hand, well in bag. Also, in the beginning (a little more than a month ago), if you didn't get their early enough, what ever croissants they baked by say mid-morning were all that there was - one was SOL probably by 1PM. Because of the continuing demand for the croissants, they seem to be baking them right up through their lunch service.

                                                                                                                              I think Bite's croissants are a classic example of a great croissant like Tartine's in that, while dissimilar in style, similarly powerful in its ability to draw those who appreciate it.

                                                                                                                              While I also admire and enjoy Primo's for the family's commitment and their warm friendly demeanor, and of course for their killer buttermilk bars, I think the segue from croissants to buttermilk bars would be like saying while I don't care for Bay Cities' Godmother, I can totally get on a cemita from the truck in front of Smart & Final on Venice Blvd. Both are excellent, I know it's just a segue, but I would find it very difficult to objectively compare the two.

                                                                                                                          2. re: dharmathug
                                                                                                                            s
                                                                                                                            sel RE: dharmathug Apr 22, 2010 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                            There was a time, long ago when Michel Richard still owned his namesake patisserie, that the only good croissants and other pastries, baguettes and other breads in S. Cal. could be found here! I haven't been for a while but hope that they still do a good job. Any recent reports?

                                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                                            Maison Richard Restaurant
                                                                                                                            707 Stanley Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046

                                                                                                                            1. re: sel
                                                                                                                              mnosyne RE: sel Apr 22, 2010 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                              They are going to be moving out of the Robertson space to somewhere on Fairfax. When I heard about the move, I started thinking about MR's caramel Napoleons. Mmmmmm.

                                                                                                                              1. re: mnosyne
                                                                                                                                liu RE: mnosyne Apr 22, 2010 12:47 PM

                                                                                                                                mnosyne, so, what will this move mean? Are any changes expected concerning the bakery products at Michel Richard?

                                                                                                                                1. re: liu
                                                                                                                                  mnosyne RE: liu Apr 22, 2010 04:59 PM

                                                                                                                                  Sorry I don't really know. But they are Michel Richard in name only.

                                                                                                                            2. re: dharmathug
                                                                                                                              liu RE: dharmathug Apr 22, 2010 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                              Hi, dharmathug!
                                                                                                                              I'm sorry for my slow response, dharmathug! I had to stop reading all these posts about Bite's chocolate croissant...pure torture!

                                                                                                                              I personally like the small size...I feel like I'm having a tea party! Moving beyond that, I do want to hear your comparison with Amandine's version. Yes, I have had both and it's close, but Bite has my vote for the moment. However, if they are in the process of building the more perfect product, I might return to my chair at Amandine. For the team, dharmathug, do a side-by-side and please report back!

                                                                                                                              I had a lemon square at Michel Richard on Robertson about a year ago. It was delicious...and obviously memorable. They do seem pretty serious about their baked goods. I'm glad to hear about your favorable experience there.

                                                                                                                              1. re: liu
                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                sel RE: liu Apr 22, 2010 01:13 PM

                                                                                                                                And to notch up the pain just a bit, today Bite Bar and Bakery has...........trumpets sounding........Bacon Popcorn Balls with Chocolate Drizzle, Pancetta and Pecans!!!

                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                Bite Bar & Bakery
                                                                                                                                3221 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                                                                                                                1. re: sel
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                                                                                                                                  bulavinaka RE: sel Apr 22, 2010 01:16 PM

                                                                                                                                  Ahhhh SOB, I drove through the neighborhood too... :(

                                                                                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka
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                                                                                                                                    sel RE: bulavinaka Apr 22, 2010 01:21 PM

                                                                                                                                    A just penalty for not stopping! When I stopped in to 'Bite' Mon. afternoon at 12:20 they were empty. A big pile of fresh croissants and lots of other delights and no one besids me to enjoy them!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sel
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                                                                                                                                      bulavinaka RE: sel Apr 22, 2010 01:24 PM

                                                                                                                                      ARGHHH! :) I appreciate the tip and the just desserts...

                                                                                                                                2. re: liu
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                                                                                                                                  dharmathug RE: liu May 3, 2010 03:11 PM

                                                                                                                                  Liu, I did go to Amandines over the weekend and to my shock they have seriously slipped. That, or Bite's is just that much better. I went back to Bite today to confirm my impression and Bite's is is far superior. No doubt the best I've had in LA as of now.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: dharmathug
                                                                                                                                    soniabegonia RE: dharmathug May 3, 2010 04:48 PM

                                                                                                                                    Just want to throw in one last comparison. I was in SF over the weekend and made a special trip to the Tartine for a very scientific comparison test. I made sure to have a Bite croissant on Friday to have that fresh on my mind - all for science, of course. I have to say, I found Tartine's not up to snuff. The exterior was more crumbly rather than brittle and breaking into shards; the bottom was just short of burnt; the interior was more salty than sweet (I really like the natural sweetness of Bite's - not from sugar but good quality sweet butter). And... I know this has been a sore point for some people, but I found Tartine's too big. I much prefer the daintier Bite size :) I shudder when I see the monster supermarket croissants - the kind you see in those bulk bins at Ralph's, Gelson's, etc.... but I digress.

                                                                                                                                    The thing that really tells me that this is a special croissant is that the first time I had Bite's, I was wow'ed. Tartine's was a pretty good croissant overall but it did not wow me in any way and certainly not one I would stand in line for again. And I'm being really objective here. Actually, the only other croissant that ever wow'ed me was Sumi Chang's at Euro Pane, many years ago. But every subsequent one I've had since was a disappointment. Bite's has been the most consistently excellent (despite some of the changes I discussed upthread).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: dharmathug
                                                                                                                                      liu RE: dharmathug May 4, 2010 08:28 AM

                                                                                                                                      Hi, dharmathug!
                                                                                                                                      It's always "compared to what!"
                                                                                                                                      Just yesterday we all thought we had found the perfect lemon bar or chocolate croissant...until we tried the next newest and greatest place!
                                                                                                                                      And so the quest continues...but, I'm with you. I can't imagine a better chocolate croissant than the one at Bite.

                                                                                                                                      And thanks for going the extra mile to Amandine to compare and contrast...and for reporting back!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: dharmathug
                                                                                                                                        a_and_w RE: dharmathug May 4, 2010 10:14 AM

                                                                                                                                        Funny, I just had a terrible croissant from Amandine, too, dharmathug. Was yours not fully baked by any chance? Also, the bakery tarts have been weak lately (too many "mixed berry" tarts with old, overripe fruit). I've noticed a lot of turnover there recently. It's affected their food prep (lots of messed up orders) and it may be affecting their baked goods, too.

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                                                                                                                                          dharmathug RE: a_and_w May 5, 2010 11:36 AM

                                                                                                                                          @A&W Mine was fully baked but it seemed like the ingredients were inferior. Didn't taste like butter actually. But they had a new item, some sort of apple sauce style profiterole/tart, a cylinder containing the baked apple, very buttery, tasty and delicious.
                                                                                                                                          @Liu Sure the search continues unabated. But I have tried a lot of croissants in LA and resigned myself to inferior goods, which is why I was happy to find Bite and Michel RIchard's very serviceable though less glamorous product

                                                                                                                                          1. re: dharmathug
                                                                                                                                            liu RE: dharmathug May 5, 2010 01:56 PM

                                                                                                                                            dharmathug, you said it. It's "funny" how we just trek along and settle into mediocrity. Then along comes that single bite of something amazing that wakes us up and changes our entire standard of measure. From that moment on, nothing less will satisfy.

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                                                                                                                                              bulavinaka RE: dharmathug May 5, 2010 02:11 PM

                                                                                                                                              >>But they had a new item, some sort of apple sauce style profiterole/tart, a cylinder containing the baked apple, very buttery, tasty and delicious.<<

                                                                                                                                              The name of this new item is, "Kouign Amann," a Turkish pastry, according to the gentleman who helped me. He pronounced the first word, "coin," as in coins in your pocket. It was very tasty. The next time I get SOME of these gems, vanila ice cream and maybe some calvados would be a natural match.

                                                                                                                              2. s
                                                                                                                                sidwich RE: soniabegonia Apr 26, 2010 03:26 PM

                                                                                                                                We also stopped by Bite, and had a lovely time. I will say that I think the chicken pot pie might be somewhat inconsistent at this point. The one we got had a crust that frankly was rather grey in color and rather gluey instead of flakey. The filling was excellent, and we loved the mushrooms but the pastry was not very good at all.

                                                                                                                                The crab sandwich was absolutely superb, though, and we really enjoyed the croissant and all the cookies we tried as well. My grandmother loves chicken pot pie, so we'll probably try it again as they settle in more.

                                                                                                                                1. groover808 RE: soniabegonia Apr 26, 2010 09:07 PM

                                                                                                                                  FYI, they're constantly posting on Facebook about specials, and are incredibly open and ask for feedback. I know they're aware of this thread too...

                                                                                                                                  1. Funwithfood RE: soniabegonia Apr 26, 2010 09:13 PM

                                                                                                                                    In all my history with CH, I can't recall a more favored eating local!

                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
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                                                                                                                                      maudies5 RE: Funwithfood Apr 26, 2010 09:58 PM

                                                                                                                                      Amandine, Nook and Orris initially got a lot of play.

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                                                                                                                                        bulavinaka RE: Funwithfood Apr 27, 2010 10:55 AM

                                                                                                                                        I finally met and briefly spoke with Elizabeth on our last visit. She's a very nice, somewhat quiet and unassuming person who:

                                                                                                                                        1) really seems to enjoy her craft.
                                                                                                                                        2) truly wants to create an enjoyable experience for her customers.
                                                                                                                                        3) encourages comments from customers. Paraphrasing her words, "The food blogs are a very useful tool for us. No egos (meaning she's not so proud as to not take criticism)."

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                                                                                                                                          Ogawak RE: bulavinaka Apr 27, 2010 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                                          I looked up Elizabeth Goel on the web. She did very well in a Food Network contest show for caterers last year and was a successful caterer before starting this brick n mortar establishment. I am really looking forward to her dinner menu.

                                                                                                                                          Here is a link to a sampling of her catered goodies. I am especially intrigued by her crab cakes and salad on a stick.

                                                                                                                                          http://www.bitecatering.net/

                                                                                                                                          http://www.bitecatering.net/200809015...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ogawak
                                                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                                                            kevin RE: Ogawak Apr 27, 2010 11:42 AM

                                                                                                                                            well, she's halfway there with the crab sandwich.

                                                                                                                                      2. c
                                                                                                                                        coffeebrownies RE: soniabegonia May 3, 2010 04:34 PM

                                                                                                                                        i see on their website that they cater to gluten free diets--does anyone have any experience with their gluten free products? Do they seem to be careful about avoiding commingled crumbs, etc? Do they have gluten-free baked goods or just sandwiches on gluten-free bread? Do they bake their own gluten free bread? (Ah, the world of possibilities! I am always looking for a place to gratify my poor gluten intolerant husband's bakery cravings.)

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: coffeebrownies
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                                                                                                                                          bulavinaka RE: coffeebrownies May 3, 2010 04:41 PM

                                                                                                                                          Their bread is baked off-site. I recall Goberde (really nice waiter there) mentioning that they actually source it from another trusted bakery at least for now. Their kitchen is already maxed out and the bread operation would put them over. I haven't seen anything specifically marked, "gluten-free," which leads me to believe that either you have to order it, or it's available on a limited basis.

                                                                                                                                        2. z
                                                                                                                                          zinFAN RE: soniabegonia May 4, 2010 06:28 PM

                                                                                                                                          maybe I just had an old croissant (as i picked it up in the afternoon) but Bite's plain butter croissant seems a bit hard & chewy. I prefer the croissant au beurre I get from Anisette, so shatteringly flaky & light.

                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
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                                                                                                                                            mrsjoujou RE: zinFAN May 5, 2010 09:55 AM

                                                                                                                                            I agree. We had the croissant with nutella and strawberries and had a hard time cutting it in half. We had to ask them to cut it for us. I really liked the pain au chocolat and the home made nutella.

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                                                                                                                                              stuffycheaks RE: zinFAN May 5, 2010 03:17 PM

                                                                                                                                              Yeah.. i had the pain au chocolat and i thought it could have been more buttery, flakier and a bit larger.. it was wee tiny. Perhaps it didn't taste fresh out of the oven because it was around 10ish and that was the last one left.. Def want to try the pot pie though

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                                                                                                                                                stuffycheaks RE: stuffycheaks May 16, 2010 12:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                OK, so I went back to Bite and OMG, I am a convert! Thanks to all the hounds for raving about it, so much that I had to give it another shot.

                                                                                                                                                longer review and photos here: http://stuffycheaks.blogspot.com/2010...

                                                                                                                                                The first time I went, they ran out of croissants at 10.30am and only had one pain au chocolate left which I found to be cold, doughy and not that buttery. This time, it was later in the morning but they had more croissant available. Perhaps they knew to make additional batches to keep up with demand. Unfortunately they no longer offer the chicken pot pie. Apparently people weren't ordering it because it required a wait of 25 minutes and was too high maintenance a dish. They now offer mimosa and belinis at $6

                                                                                                                                                The woman at the counter offered to heat up the croissant. best. decision. ever. The croissant smelt great. It was flaky on the outside and I slowly pulled apart the warm, tender ribbons in the inside. They really were similar to the ones that are freshly baked from a Parisian bakery. The inside was well seasoned and buttery. It was a petite size but was surprisingly sufficient because of its richness. I wonder now if the pain au chocolate that I had during my first visit would have been better if they had warmed it up.

                                                                                                                                                I ordered the crab sandwich to go and they packaged the watercress separately.
                                                                                                                                                The crab wasn't mixed with a whole load of aioli but had just enough to bind the crab together. The crab was abundant, fresh and not at all fishy. The panini was pressed thin and the sourdough bread was toasted crispy and buttered. The watercress salad was fresh and lightly dressed with a lemon dressing with an additional squeeze of the lemon wedge.

                                                                                                                                                I'm still salivating when thinking of my perfect meal.. I will be back for sure.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: stuffycheaks
                                                                                                                                                  Dommy RE: stuffycheaks May 16, 2010 05:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Oh no!! I hope they bring the chicken pot pie back for Dinner service... P. will be heartbroken...

                                                                                                                                                  I'm so glad you had a much better go around on your second visit (And kudos for going back! :))

                                                                                                                                                  --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                            2. b
                                                                                                                                              bulavinaka RE: soniabegonia May 8, 2010 04:47 PM

                                                                                                                                              Tarts. Little perfect tarts. A fragile buttery crust. Delicate pastry cream infused with lemon and thyme. Bejeweled with perfectly quartered fragrant strawberries and perfectly ripe blueberries. A beautiful sprig of baby mint garnish on top. I love Springtime!

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                k
                                                                                                                                                kevin RE: bulavinaka May 9, 2010 07:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                Grabbed two chocolate croissants earlier today and devoured them instantaneously.

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                                                                                                                                                  maudies5 RE: kevin May 15, 2010 01:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Breakfast at Bite after our trip to the Pico/Cloverfield Farmer's Market. Waffle and chicken sausage for me and the eggy sandwich for my husband. I loved my waffle. I couldn't believe how light it was. Simply perfect. Although my husband enjoyed his egg dish, he said he would have preferred to have some good, simple French toast. I see his point, as the brioche french toast which covers all of the other ingredients as great. Bite after Saturday Pico Farmers market; new tradition has begun.

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                                                                                                                                                mrsjoujou RE: soniabegonia May 17, 2010 06:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                The pain au chocolat we had this past sat was not the same as usual. The shape of one was an odd shape and it didn't taste as buttery as last time. The blueberry pie was pretty good and I love the fact that it wasn't sweet at all. We had Anisette's pain au chocolat a few minutes later and theirs is much larger and the texture was better, but I like the bitter chocolat at bite's better. Bite's service seemed kind of slow and confused that day. I had to ask for coffee refill twice and I called a head to reserve two pain au chocolat and they couldn't find it, but luckily they had more. I also had to ask three times for the side of nutella. Oh, well hopefuly with time their service will improve.

                                                                                                                                                25 Replies
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                                                                                                                                                  maudies5 RE: mrsjoujou May 17, 2010 07:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I would love to know what time you were there. My husband and I were there around 10:00 AM. Saturday. I remarked that the service was excellent. I don't know how you can say that it was "slow and confused." I am a tea drinker and love their Breakfast Tea (I wish I could remember the name of the brand. Tea was excellent and organic) Food was great and served in a timely manner,

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                                                                                                                                                    mrsjoujou RE: maudies5 May 17, 2010 09:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                    We were there around 10:15. I am comparing their service to the previous time. We told them two pain au chocolat for here and blueberry pie to go. She brought us two pain au chocolat in the bag and no blueberry pie. I had to walk up and tell her that we asked for this for here. Plus we had to walk to the counter twice to tell them we need a coffee refill and three times for a nutella, what do you call that? Amazing service?

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                                                                                                                                                      maudies5 RE: mrsjoujou May 17, 2010 10:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I would call that "growing pains." I do not expect perfect service when a restaurant is still in it's infancy. It appears that they are really trying to please. Personally, I don't see what the big deal is about walking to the counter and asking for a coffee refill. The restaurant is really small and it isn't exactly a long trek to the counter.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: mrsjoujou
                                                                                                                                                    hyacinthgirl RE: mrsjoujou Jun 2, 2010 01:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I was there Sunday and also had what I would classify as "confusing service." As in, they just seemed, well, confused. I also had to go up to the counter several times to make requests (water, utensiles, the bill). We also waited a very long time in a fairly empty room for our food. Our very sweet server kept saying she would check on the food and she even brought us a free croissant at one point when the wait stretched into 30 min or so for an egg sandwich.
                                                                                                                                                    Everyone working there was sweet, thoughtful and kind. They were actually wonderful and I was really impressed by how much they really seemed to care about the customers. But they did just seem.... confused. I think growing pains might be the right word for it.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                                                                                                                      Servorg RE: hyacinthgirl Jun 2, 2010 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I'm worried about the service factor. We had breakfast there on Memorial day and the room wasn't even one fourth full and the food was sloooooow to come out. The first coffee refill had to wait for the food to come, even though my cup had been empty for some time. If they get a rush at dinner I can't help but think it might be (as Crosby Stills and Nash once sang) a long time coming (the food that is).

                                                                                                                                                      Really nice people. But the service problems might just do them in if they can't get a handle on it (which would be a crying shame for sure).

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                        mnosyne RE: Servorg Jun 2, 2010 05:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                        At lunchtime, the room was full-ish. Had the notorious corned beef sand! Could use a little side something.

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                                                                                                                                                          maudies5 RE: mnosyne Jun 2, 2010 05:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                          You do have the option of ordering a little "side something." They offer cajun fries, salad, fruit. Frankly, I would not describe that "corned been sand" as "notorious" but a fantastic Reuben. I have to say that the sandwich is so delicious and filling that I can't envision a side. However, other opinions may vary. When I get the Reuben: tender, home-made corned beef, luscious home-made sauerkraut, all quite lovingly prepared, I am so satisfied Although, I wouldn't order a "side", somehow, I manage to step up to the bakery counter for a little something to take home for later. Happy to hear the room was "full-ish." It was pretty full when I was there yesterday. Glad I ordered the amazing chicken salad + 1 to go when I did. Immediately, thereafter, I overheard a server state that there was only one chicken salad sandwich left (This was @ 12:30---only 30 minutes after lunch began.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                                                                            Servorg RE: maudies5 Jun 2, 2010 05:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                            So then I'll ask you and mnosyne - with a nearly full restaurant how was the service? Our less than a fourth full (maybe only an eight full) made my wife and I cringe a bit as we speculated how long a meal might take to go from order to table with a full house.

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                                                                                                                                                              maudies5 RE: Servorg Jun 2, 2010 05:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Fair question. The service is improving day by day (& I am there a couple + times a week). The service has actually picked up as the clientele grows. Perhaps, the servers are enthused about the response. There has been a transition over the last few days from ordering at the counter (a la Clementine) to sit-down service with actual menus. This is not Huckleberry and it is not Clementine and it is not Coral Tree. I believe that Bite is trying to make the transition from the aforementioned concept to a real restaurant. I am certainly willing to cut them some slack as the food is so good and so far superior than the other restaurants I mentioned. As well, I find the service rather endearing.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                                                                                Servorg RE: maudies5 Jun 2, 2010 05:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                I'm not ready to throw them under the bus by any stretch of the imagination. But, with dinner service they will need to step up their game again. And the slowness of getting out the food with a mostly empty room worries me. I want them to succeed. More business can be a boon or a death sentence. It all depends on how the restaurant responds. They are quite nice people and I wish them nothing but good. If nothing else I'll go in early and get some baked goods to go. But that means that they won't be ringing up the higher dollar amount I am ready and willing to put into their till, just as long as they can deliver the goods to me in a timely manner. Time will obviously tell.

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                                                                                                                                                                  bulavinaka RE: Servorg Jun 2, 2010 06:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Hi Servorg,

                                                                                                                                                                  We've been to Bite a lot and have not experienced the service issues that you and your Dear Wife have unfortunately experienced. My only issue so far has been arriving at the split between breakfast and lunch services, and just momentarily being in limbo as to whether I could order lunch or have to stick with breakfast. Could we account this one to an aberration? Sick call on Memorial Day weekend? Some of the staff zoned out from a long night?

                                                                                                                                                                  I really get peeved when put into that scenario like you experienced - "crickets chirping, looking around to see if the closed sign went up..." But so far, we've been fortunate not to experience that kind of momentum-breaker. But at the same time, you and anyone else experiencing this sort of issue should address this with Bite. Whether directly, on the little survey form, or by email. Elizabeth really has her heart in this place - she will address it.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                    Servorg RE: bulavinaka Jun 2, 2010 06:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    I actually did fill out their little feedback form and was positive about the food I liked (the savory bread pudding) and negative about the service issues I didn't (unfilled coffee cup and slow food production and delivery). I really don't expect to hear from anyone (and wasn't angling to do so). I simply wanted to give them something to "bite" on when it comes to customer perspective in a very lightly attended breakfast hour. I couldn't help but extrapolate (from the time it took to get our food) forward to what it would be like in a busy dining room and shuddered a bit with anti-anticipation. Like I said, we'll see how they step up to the plate as they roll out dinner service. Exceedingly slow service would be a deal breaker for me in terms of sit down dining there (but I would still drop in at opening to pick up baked goods in any case).

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                mnosyne RE: Servorg Jun 2, 2010 09:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                I don't think I'm ready to have a meal there if I have someplace to be soon. Things are still pretty slow IMO.

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                                                                                                                                                                  New Trial RE: Servorg Jun 3, 2010 12:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  I took a friend there for lunch Memorial Day and, while service was hardly rapid, the servers did check often to see if there was anything we needed (including coffee and water refills--and they did apologize for a lag at one point while they were brewing some fresh coffee) and were very accommodating and concerned. My friend, a bit of a picky eater, raved about the place, especially the croissants and other baked goods.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: maudies5
                                                                                                                                                                  mnosyne RE: maudies5 Jun 2, 2010 09:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I don't mean a side order of something. There wasn't even a garnish on the plate. One little piece of fruit would have sufficed, just for contrast of flavor (rich, fatty, spicy). I loved the sandwich!

                                                                                                                                                              3. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                hyacinthgirl RE: Servorg Jun 3, 2010 03:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                I know I said Sunday, but having that Monday off work confused me. I was actually there on Memorial Day as well. Perhaps we were there at the same time? About a quarter full and a deadly long wait with a very kind staff.
                                                                                                                                                                I think we were in around 10ish?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                                                                                                                                  Servorg RE: hyacinthgirl Jun 3, 2010 03:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds about right (from what I recall by this time...lol). Really nice people, but I kept wondering what could possibly be taking so long.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                    Servorg RE: Servorg Jul 11, 2010 05:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Went for late lunch today and the service was fine. Food came out in an appropriate amount of time. They are certainly nice people there. Just wanted to make sure to come back and address this issue since I commented on the slowness the last time.

                                                                                                                                                                    I had the waffle and a side of bacon and my wife had the steak sandwich. I thought the steak sandwich was great. Fries were way way over the top coated with season salt. I likeed my waffle well enough, but it wasn't something I'd get the next time as I think they have other, stronger items on the menu. I'm looking forward to trying the burger one of these days, but didn't see it on the lunch menu today (could have been there and I just overlooked it?).

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                      mollyomormon RE: Servorg Jul 11, 2010 05:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      I was there for dinner last night and, despite not having a reservation, the service was fantastic. We shared: the deviled eggs, the bacon wrapped stuffed dates, the charcuterie plate, the fried chicken with gouda grits, the steak tartare, the pork loin, and crabcakes and the summer salad of watermelon and feta. I thought everything was very good to excellent, with my favorites being the incredibly moist fried chicken (and those grits! i could have eaten a whole bowl full topped with the stewed okra) and the steak tartare. I'm a sucker for steak tartare and thought this was an awesome version. The only potential miss for me was the pork loin, where I thought the smokiness of the bacon in which is was wrapped overwhelmed the dish a bit, although the pork was perfectly cooked. Portions are very, very generous and we ended up having to take a good amount of this home.

                                                                                                                                                                      We also took home a ridiculous amount of pastries, although I was so full, I didn't really get to try them last night.

                                                                                                                                                                      This is such a great addition to the neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mollyomormon
                                                                                                                                                                        Servorg RE: mollyomormon Jul 11, 2010 05:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        We plan on going for dinner soon I hope. What time were you there MoM? Did you have any problem getting a table? I want to try the fried chicken without a doubt. We too took home pastries / cookies. Seriously good pastries. My only real complaint is that the noise level can get a little intense with that hard floor without any carpet.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                          mollyomormon RE: Servorg Jul 11, 2010 06:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          We walked in at 7 last night which, admittedly, was pretty silly on our part but Elizabeth was completely gracious and they seated us at the little bar area on the side of the pastry counter within a couple of minutes of our arrival. I don't know if they always seat diners there, but I thought it was a good vantage point to watch all the food come out and was perfectly happy there. Still, next time I'll make a reservation just to be on the safe side.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                            Dommy RE: Servorg Jul 11, 2010 09:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Bite is on Open table, so getting a reservation should not be too much of a problem! :)

                                                                                                                                                                            --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Dommy
                                                                                                                                                                              Servorg RE: Dommy Jul 12, 2010 07:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              We typically end up playing the "Where do you want to go tonight?" game sitting in the car in the garage. At times we start driving and are still playing the game...

                                                                                                                                                                              Nice to know that Bite is on Open Table though (for those times we actually get our act together and have the luxury of making a reservation!)... ;-D>

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                                mollyomormon RE: Servorg Jul 12, 2010 10:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                I just figured if we couldn't get in there, we could just walk next door and eat at the bar at Upper West, which is also very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                                                                Upper West
                                                                                                                                                                                3321 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                                  Dommy RE: Servorg Jul 12, 2010 12:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  OMG!! We're the same way... I'm LOATHE to make reservations... then you feel like you are rushing to them... I hate the attitude, the call in the middle of the day when I'm busy to 'confirm or we'll give it up to someone in the next hour' UGH....

                                                                                                                                                                                  --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                              4. o
                                                                                                                                                                Ogawak RE: soniabegonia May 22, 2010 11:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                I just received an email from Elizabeth and Bite regarding their being closed for a few days this next week:

                                                                                                                                                                Closed Monday, May 24 thru Thursday, May 27 and again Sunday, May 30. This is in preparation for their dinner menu.

                                                                                                                                                                They will be open Friday, May 28 and Saturday, May 29, closed Sunday, open again Monday, May 31.

                                                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ogawak
                                                                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                                                                  bulavinaka RE: Ogawak May 22, 2010 01:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Dinner kickoff is scheduled for June 17 per Janna at Bite. They are now carrying beer and wine as well. The choices are somewhat slim right now but they intend to pump that up soon. As of today at lunch, they had Heinekin, Stella Artois, four reds (two cabs, a syrah and a malbec, all from California), mimosas and bellinis. I didn't see the white wines. Ordered a glass of syrah with my steak sandwich - alittle heat up front from a new bottle, lush berries, mineral, spicy and a smooth finish. I had a full pour for $8 - my DW helped me finish...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                    Servorg RE: bulavinaka May 22, 2010 01:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    How much was the steak sandwich? Just as a comparo, my wife had the steak/prime rib sandwich....... called "Steak in the Heart" with prime rib on grilled ciabatta, wok-seared onions, roasted garlic Irish butter, cheese, green sauce………. at Chego the other night and it was a very substantial (and tasty) sandwich for $8.

                                                                                                                                                                    ADD: Never mind...saw it on their online menu for $10.50.

                                                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                                                    Chego
                                                                                                                                                                    3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                                                                      bulavinaka RE: Servorg May 22, 2010 01:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      I think it was $11. This was (I think) hanger steak sliced on the bias with a similar profile from what you described otherwise. A little tougher than I expected - but very generous on the steak. It had caramelized red onions (tasted like balsamic vinegar) and some sort of aioli. Wasn't small or giant - was on a ciabatta as well. Sorry for the vague description - had a lot of kid talk to catch up on with my little ones. So Chego is doing sandwiches as well? Still have to hit them up...

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                        Servorg RE: bulavinaka May 22, 2010 01:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Totally different vibe at Chego. Much more casual, younger crowd, louder music and a real "do it yourself" kind of set up. You not only order at the counter, but then you go in the back and get your drink from the fridge (the have a lot of Mexican and Jamaican sodas for which you have to spot the bottle opener adjacent to the order area on the opposite wall) and pick up utensils (plastic) or those inexpensive wooden, split it yourself o-hashi (which we use). Probably how they keep prices down. They give you a number on a stand (like at Feast from the East) and they bring the food over. Pretty quick service. Their parking lot (in a really small mini-mini mall on the SE corner of Rose and Overland) can be a challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                                                                          bulavinaka RE: Servorg May 22, 2010 03:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Mucho gracias for the info. We were planning on going the other night but my parents wanted to come along - we didn't think this would mesh with them, and based on your description (esp the louder music), I'm glad we're saving it for another day. Otherwise, sounds like a fun place. We love great food in a casual setting. Thanks again...

                                                                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                                                                          Mucho
                                                                                                                                                                          903 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                        k
                                                                                                                                                                        kevin RE: Servorg May 22, 2010 05:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        wow, is the steak in the heart sandwiche at chego?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                                                                                                                                          Servorg RE: kevin May 22, 2010 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry for being unclear. Right. At Chego.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                                                                                            kevin RE: Servorg May 22, 2010 05:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            that sounds really good, and an 8 dollar sandwich that sure sounds like a bargain.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kevin
                                                                                                                                                                              Servorg RE: kevin May 22, 2010 05:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              For the quality and the size it was very good value. No side at that price though. We did order a side of their grilled (Charred Asparagus blueberry habanero salsa, garlic, chilies, parmesan, lemon) asparagus (and I got the chicken bowl which was also very good and filling for $7) which they call the Sour Cream Hen House with grilled chicken, w/fried egg, Chinese broccoli, sour cream, sambal, Thai basil, sesame and red jalapeño.

                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                        n
                                                                                                                                                                        New Trial RE: bulavinaka May 22, 2010 02:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Did you get to try the little blue cheese-flavored "tart" they were offering among the samples today? Really good, and would have played nicely with the syrah and the steak. I also enjoyed the mushroom soup, which was chock-full of a variety of good mushrooms--but not a cream base as I had expected. The lemon bar remains bliss on a plate.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: New Trial
                                                                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                                                                          bulavinaka RE: New Trial May 22, 2010 03:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          That little blue cheese tart was a gem. I mentioned it in my very longish post on our visit today. And yes, that tart hit on all cylinders with my syrah. Will have to try that mushroom soup - I like the idea of it being in a broth without cream. Elizabeth knows how to make produce sing. And yes, that lemon bar is bliss, isn't it? Got one to go and it's going to die a slow death tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. b
                                                                                                                                                                      bulavinaka RE: soniabegonia May 22, 2010 03:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      This thread is getting as long as my waist is getting wide from eating at Bite. :)

                                                                                                                                                                      Breakfast dishes are now served from morning until close. We ordered three sandwiches (steak, asparagus/tomato pesto, and chicken salad) and the waffle today. The waffle was light, airy, crisp and delicious. It comes with a generous sauce boat of maple syrup and a big dab of room temp butter (again showing they know how to serve what), and you can choose from a handful of sides: bacon, chicken sausage, fruit salad with whipped cream, and I'm at a loss on the fourth option. Whatever the case, there's something for every waffle lover on this dish. I'd suggest going light on the syrup and butter because the waffle is that good where you might only add those two basic condiments out of habit.

                                                                                                                                                                      As some other posters have mentioned, Bite now offers the various sides - fries, fruit salad, green salad - seperately from their sandwiches. It's two bucks for any choice of sides, but now that you're paying for them, they're more generous in the portion size. Since we ordered three sandwiches, we tried each of the sides and all were standard Bite-quality gyoood (gotta raise your eyebrows when you say gyoood!) The green salad is wonderful, but ours came undressed (oo-la-laaa - pretty racy stuff!) so one might specify if dressing is desired.

                                                                                                                                                                      The fruit salad has changed a bit. No diced mint leaves or garnish in the salad today but as the season is changing to late spring, fruits like honeydew, cantelope, pineapple (really ripe, fragrant and sweet), segmented oranges and pink grapefruit keep sliced strawberries company. I'm loving this fruit salad because there's more, it's all great fruit as one would expect, and I can rationalize that I'm eating healthy otherwise. I do a very similar fruit salad at home but with a couple of shakes of Grand Marnier - as I mentioned on another unrelated Chow thread, I've been watching too many PBS cooking shows. :)

                                                                                                                                                                      The fries were superb as usual. These were thin-cut with skins on, fried and seasoned just right. And as with the salads, the portion was very generous considering it's for one person and only two bucks.

                                                                                                                                                                      The steak sandwich consists of some generous steak slices grilled medium-rare on a lightly toasted ciabatta, and is dressed with a chimmichurri aioli, caramelized onions and a tomato relish. A wonderful combination of flavors - like having a constructed steak meal for lunch. The steak sandwich was a bit tough to bite through cleanly. While the steak was perfectly cooked with a nice crust on the edges of the slices, the meat itself was a bit tough. Another factor - this one good - was the generous amount of steak in my sandwich. I'm thinking that they could slice the same amount of steak thinner. Aside from this one issue, it was a tasty sandwich that I'd order again. $11 gets this on the plate for you.

                                                                                                                                                                      The asparagus sandwich is similar in size and preparation to the crab sandwich - it's really meant for two unless this is your final meal for the day. One of the signatures of Bite is their excellent produce and their understanding of what to get when. We're in the midst of asparagus season in California, and the asparagus spears at Bite are a great indicator of this. I believe I counted a dozen plump spears of asparagus smothered in havarti, tomato pesto sandwiched between two of their trademark gy-normous slices of sourdough that is panini-pressed with the deep grill marks to prove it. I'm typically a bread and protein guy when it comes to sandwiches, but this is a sandwich that would satisfy vegetarians and meatarians alike. I think this was around $8.

                                                                                                                                                                      The chicken salad sandwich is the perfect chicken salad sandwich for the 21st century. It's kind of like your mom's chicken salad sandwich if your mom was a gourmet chef in LA whose life straddled the then and now of chicken salad. The mayo is either housemade or I need to find their source. It's supple, rich, with just the slightest tang of acid to give it a freshness but with a subtle sweet finish giving an added dimension to savory foods. The chicken itself is very tender white meat - generous chunks of white meat. This is ever so slightly seasoned with tarragon, maybe a little salt and pepper, and finished with some some almonds. Sliced tomatoes and fresh FM baby salad greens finish off the inside. Moms typically use white or wheat sandwich bread - this one is set between a halved, grilled ciabatta. The outside of the roll was soft, while the halved insides were slightly charred for texture and taste. Just another really big hit for me, and it's a bargain at $5.

                                                                                                                                                                      Bite has been very proactive in keeping up with various suggestions from their patrons. At the same time they've been moving forward in the kitchen in preparation for expanding into the dinner menu. We were lucky enough to try something that may or may not be on their small bite portion of the menu. Janna, our waitress, presented us with a serving dish of dainty little tartlets and asked us if we wanted to try some. Perfectly baked pastry shells crimped at the top and filled with caramelized onions, blue cheese and topped with a walnut segment. It's just a mouthful in size, but the flavors that lift up on the initial attack hit all parts of the palate, and as they marry together, the combination is wonderful. No one dominating over the other. The blue cheese is there, and it will demand attention, but it's soon calmed by the other components that ultimately turns into an umami party in the mouth. If Bite ever decides to change their name, it should be, "Balance." Elizabeth has such a knack for balancing not only the right flavors together, but getting the proportions of flavors to work perfectly together. This little sublime taste of what's to come will be a hit for winos like me. For those who don't have dinner plans starting on June 17, Bite might be a good place to consider.

                                                                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                                                                                        maudies5 RE: bulavinaka May 22, 2010 05:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        I agree that the chicken salad sandwich is perfect. In fact, I told Elizabeth that it was exactly (in my mind) what a chicken salad should be. It wasn't too mayonnaisey, or loaded with celery or a bunch of filler. I could eat that every day. Thanks for the heads up on the asparagus sandwich. Good to know that it is splittable. Sounds great.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: maudies5
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                                                                                                                                                                          bulavinaka RE: maudies5 May 22, 2010 07:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          I've lost track of who mentioned what on this thread - did you mention the chicken salad upthread? Thanks to you or whoever it was! It's tucked away at the bottom of the lunch menu part of the chalkboard. It's a really good dish at a really good price.

                                                                                                                                                                          The asparagus sandwich is pretty scary. If you've had the crab sandwich, you'll completely understand. :O Same size, different fillings! Half a sandwich and a salad or soup will be good enough for most eaters. Throw in a dessert and you're set. I saw an actual dessert item listed on the menu - brown sugar meringue with white wine gelee or something like that? It sounded really good - totally forgot to ask about it as I was getting ready to pull the trigger on ordering it. Got distracted by a crowd of folks who walked in and started oohing and awing at the baked goods... :)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                                                                                            maudies5 RE: bulavinaka May 22, 2010 08:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            ME! ME! I think I was the first to mention the amazing chicken salad sandwich. It is described on the blackboard as "off menu." I wonder if Elizabeth will sell that chicken salad by the pint? How I would love a scoop of that when stuck at home.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: maudies5
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                                                                                                                                                                              bulavinaka RE: maudies5 May 22, 2010 09:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Well then - I definitely owe thanks to you, maudies5! A really nice chicken salad...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                                                                                maudies5 RE: bulavinaka May 22, 2010 09:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks. It is my ideal chicken salad. Let's see: chicken salad at Clementine: too chunky, grapes (?), drowning in mayo. Another version is grilled chicken loaded with cilantro and more ingredients and too much mayo.
                                                                                                                                                                                Chicken salad in other venues: Curried. Not what I want when I want chicken salad.
                                                                                                                                                                                Neiman Marcus Fresh Market does a decent chicken salad; close to Bite, but not as good.
                                                                                                                                                                                Nate 'N'Al: Forget it: Chicken salad with raisins? I don't think so/
                                                                                                                                                                                Bite has set the bar for a great chicken salad. Now, have to hope they sell it in bulk (well, at least a quart)

                                                                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                                                                Neiman Marcus
                                                                                                                                                                                9700 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                                                                                  bulavinaka RE: maudies5 May 22, 2010 09:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Heck - serve it to me by the thimble, and I'll still bite... :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                                                                    maudies5 RE: bulavinaka May 23, 2010 02:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I was concerned I was going to go through chicken salad withdrawal when Bite is closed for several days. Fortunately, Elizabeth was kind enough to pack some up for me to take home so I could make a couple of sandwiches tomorrow. Yay!!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                                                                                      bulavinaka RE: maudies5 May 23, 2010 03:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      WOW - you scored! Do you know if the sandwich is a regular menu item yet?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                                                                                                        maudies5 RE: bulavinaka May 23, 2010 03:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Pretty sure it is. The blackboard calls it an "off menu" item.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. m
                                                                                                                                                                        mdpilam RE: soniabegonia Jun 3, 2010 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        Hate to do a shameless post, but I think this is the longest thread I recall for one restaurant...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. e
                                                                                                                                                                          Ewilensky RE: soniabegonia Jun 6, 2010 08:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Up from San Diego visiting inlaws...

                                                                                                                                                                          Croissant - buttery, flakey, filled with sweet butter. Tastes better than Tartine (in SF) but I like the Tartine texture better - I like that it breaks into shards when you bite it.

                                                                                                                                                                          Homemade gravlax on pressed bagel - awesome gravlax, nice dill bite, thick fatty slices of salmon. Served on a bagel with dill creamcheese. Needs capers. Otherwise perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                          Egg white frittata with goat cheese and and tomato. Light, bordering on a souffle but filled with a rich goat cheese scent. Amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                          Brought some desserts to friends:

                                                                                                                                                                          Lavender shortbread. This places knows how to use butter. Perfect flakey shortbread. Best I've ever had with a nice bite of salt.

                                                                                                                                                                          Lemon bar. Nothing to add that hasn't already been said. A paragon of lemon sweet goodness.

                                                                                                                                                                          Strawberry "Poptart" - the weakest of the bunch. I'll admit I was never a poptart fan in my youth. Still, nice buttery crust, and a subtle strawberry filling.

                                                                                                                                                                          Smoked Salt Carmel Bar - Um, heading to Bite again this morning to pick up a few for us unfortunate people in San Diego. Nicecaramel with a haunting burnt undertone amplified with the smoked salt on a nice (buttery) crust. AMAZING.

                                                                                                                                                                          Homemade "Oreo" - melted in the car. But what a wonderful gooey mess it was to get it out of the bag.

                                                                                                                                                                          Taking the inlaws this morning. Much better than their goto joint, "Juniors" . Yes, I'm having the granola.

                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ewilensky
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                                                                                                                                                                            bulavinaka RE: Ewilensky Jun 6, 2010 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            You're probably digging into your granola right now, but in case you didn't catch the mentions on their waffles, they're worthy of ordering as well. It stands by itself as far as taste and texture. Considering the boat of maple syrup and room-temp butter is tantamount to decorating an otherwise pristine zen garden with cherry blossoms - to each his own.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                              m
                                                                                                                                                                              maudies5 RE: bulavinaka Jun 6, 2010 10:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              My husband and I had the waffles yesterday with a side of bacon. Everything was cooked perfectly. Those waffles are amazing. The bacon was also divine. I also want to add that as a tea drinker the Shangrila tea Bite serves is outstanding. I found the website and am going to order several boxes of the English Breakfast Tea.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                                                                                bulavinaka RE: maudies5 Jun 6, 2010 10:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                I think Bite needs to offer you some sort of Frequent Biter Smiles Card or something like that. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                                                                                  maudies5 RE: bulavinaka Jun 6, 2010 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  I get lots of smiles whenever I walk in.:)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                                e
                                                                                                                                                                                Ewilensky RE: bulavinaka Jun 6, 2010 11:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Edited to add:

                                                                                                                                                                                Wife ordered gravlax this morning - capers added. They must have spies here. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                Went for the Eggy Sandwich - wonderful, a bit heavy for where I am this morning - hungover, late show at the Music Box last night - but a nice play with the sweet/savory. They should add a Monte Cristo to the lunch menu and serve it on the french toast bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                Father in law had waffles - excellent.

                                                                                                                                                                                Got my "oreo" to go.

                                                                                                                                                                                Happy I'll be back on Tuesday for a conference in town.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                                  sel RE: bulavinaka Jun 6, 2010 12:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Need waffles and.........., be there in about 75 min, yeah it's worth the long drive!

                                                                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                                                                  Bite Bar & Bakery
                                                                                                                                                                                  3221 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                                                                                                                                                              3. aching RE: soniabegonia Jun 8, 2010 01:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                I had lunch there for the second time on Friday - the Afterschool Special, which consisted of the soup of the day (corn bisque) and a grilled cheese sandwich. Both were excellent! The soup tasted very fresh and was quite sweet - and it was a perfect foil to the rich grilled cheese (I have to admit, I dipped).

                                                                                                                                                                                I do have two small gripes, though. One is that the food is quite slow in coming, which normally I wouldn't mind, but when I need to get back to work, I really would like to be able to be in and out in an hour (it was more like 1:15 each time I've been). The other is that both times I've been so full after lunch that I haven't been able to squeeze in dessert! I need to make a dedicated dessert trip. And yes, I'll be back!

                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: aching
                                                                                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                                                                                  bulavinaka RE: aching Jun 8, 2010 02:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  >>The other is that both times I've been so full after lunch that I haven't been able to squeeze in dessert! I need to make a dedicated dessert trip. And yes, I'll be back!<<

                                                                                                                                                                                  Give it up. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't forget - on Fridays, mention that you saw them on Facebook so you can be rewarded with a free cookie! And they are great cookies indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: aching
                                                                                                                                                                                    Servorg RE: aching Jun 8, 2010 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    "The other is that both times I've been so full after lunch that I haven't been able to squeeze in dessert!"

                                                                                                                                                                                    House made Oreo cookies make excellent traveling companions. Just don't leave them in a hot car to avoid the filling oozing out! (and my gripe about slow food from the kitchen is obviously still an issue)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                                      Mattapoisett in LA RE: Servorg Jun 8, 2010 03:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I have a feeling it is the paradigm of you can have it good, reasonably priced and fast, as long as you only choose 2 of the three and she has chosen the first two. To make it faster would require hiring more people which would add to the cost or having more things pre-prepped which might reduce their quality. How would you like it if the grilled cheese was cooked a 10 am and reheated at 12:05 when you ordered it to allow it to be served 5 minutes after order. it would get you out much quicker but the sandwich might suck.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Just a thought...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                                                                                                                                                                                        Servorg RE: Mattapoisett in LA Jun 8, 2010 03:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I would agree if the restaurant was busy. But (and I admit I haven't peeked into the kitchen to see what size it is) what we have ordered just shouldn't take so long to turn out, especially when they were only an eighth to a quarter full (and the side salad is fruit - so no cooking needed). Add in the lack of a coffee refill and the slowness was reinforced. I even tried to get the servers attention (to no avail) as she left a party on the other side of the room. Next time I'll just get up with my empty cup and wander over to the counter.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                                                                                                          maudies5 RE: Servorg Jun 8, 2010 08:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Re: Service-- Am I one of the few who are not complaining about service? Do I have low expectations or do others have very high expectations? How does one quantify "service.""
                                                                                                                                                                                          I love Bite and do not even live close by. I happily travel from Sunset and Barrington to Pico, west of Bundy, I happily travel the few miles for that great, creative food. Nothing in my Brentwood neighborhood even comes close to
                                                                                                                                                                                          what Bite is creating.

                                                                                                                                                                                          BTW, I normally put 40 minutes worth of coins in the meter and am out of there with time to spare. This is my SOP. 40 minutes....

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                                                                                                            Servorg RE: maudies5 Jun 8, 2010 08:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            I liken my wait for food to the act of looking at my watch during a movie. If I have to glance at my watch more than twice then that movie is seeming to run way too long (because I've lost interest in it for whatever reason). I noticed that I looked at me watch a couple of times when waiting for my food at Bite. They will hopefully tighten up that aspect of their service over time. Otherwise I like them very much and the food, while not a home run in everything, is very good and worth the price. And all the people I have dealt with have been very friendly.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                                                                                                              aching RE: maudies5 Jun 9, 2010 04:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Just to be clear, I wasn't complaining about the service per se - in fact, the service was both attentive and charming both times I was there. It was just that the food took a little bit longer than it seemed like it should have (especially when the restaurant wasn't busy, as Servorg said). I can accept that maybe that's just the way it is, but it makes it harder for me to go there for lunch during the week. On the weekends, slow is just leisurely and I like it fine!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: aching
                                                                                                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                                                                                                maudies5 RE: aching Jun 16, 2010 04:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow! Just when I thought that Bite's Pain au chocolate could not be taken one more step....Elizabeth kicked it up a big notch by using it as her base for chocolate bread pudding. OMG, this may be the most delicious and most decadently chocolate dessert I have ever eaten. It was served warm just out of the oven, with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and strawberries. If the dad in your life loves chocolate, think of this as a great treat this Sunday (Father's Day).

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                                                  sel RE: maudies5 Jun 16, 2010 10:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes it is excellent, had the Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding again today after my late lunch. Naanwich and lemonade was my idea for a tasty light lunch a couple of hours before the gym. But I have this problem sweet tooth! Hopefully the 2 hours of kick boxing and a 5 mile ride down the bike path negated all the extra calories! But then there was the Raspberry Crostada that I brought home. One of the best pastries from Ms. Goel's oven!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bite Bar & Bakery
                                                                                                                                                                                                  3221 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sel
                                                                                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                                                                                    maudies5 RE: sel Jun 16, 2010 10:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Good for you. :) After my chocolate bread pudding I was looking forward to a nap in a fetal position on a fine down covered couch. However, I did consider swimming about 30 laps, prior to caving in to my original instinct: It was a compromise: I napped by the pool. I may have dreams of the chocolate croissant bread pudding tonight... if I don't then, surely, my husband will. Heaven knows, he has been hearing a lot about it today and envious as hell.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. a213b RE: soniabegonia Jul 11, 2010 07:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Tried this place for brunch last weekend, largely based on this thread, and all 5 of us were SERIOUSLY underwhelmed ... almost like we were eating at a different restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Service was mediocre (for us), and the table next to us STILL hadn't gotten their food 45 minutes after ordering.

                                                                                                                                                                                      As for the food, we had the Bakery Basket, Eggy Bread Sandwich, Afterschool Special, Scrambled Eggs, Cinnamon French Toast, and Bite BLTA.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Everything in the Bakery Basket was dry; and to top it off, the portion sizes were quite tiny.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The Scrambled Eggs were good, though if a place cannot do a solid scrambled egg plate then there is no hope whatsoever for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The Afterschool Special was a huge disappointment. It sounded delicious, but it was quite thin, none of the cheese flavors popped at all, and if a place is going to do something I can easily do at home, it had better do it AMAZINGLY well. This was no better than slapping some Tillamook on a couple of slices of bread -- i.e. not worth finishing.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The BLTA was actually good; definitely the high-light of the meal. Solid, good, but not spectacular.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The French Toast, much like the bread basket, was dry despite the rum caramel sauce ... if you did not eat a bite with the sauce, it was almost cardboard.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Lastly, the Eggy Bread Sandwich was decent; sort of a bit more refined version of a Bacon Egg and Cheese biscuit.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The fries were not to our taste; and Old Bay /= Cajun Fries, despite what Bite, Five Guys, and others would have you believe.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Lastly, the two hot chocolates that were ordered were just awful. Basically just water with a bit of cocoa powder.

                                                                                                                                                                                      All-in-all, we left quite disappointed. Even with a Blackboard Eats coupon, if our experience was indicative of a typical meal, none of us would return.

                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: a213b
                                                                                                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                                                                                                        maudies5 RE: a213b Jul 11, 2010 08:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        WOW! That is some serious criticism. Truly, I am sorry that the previous poster had such a disappointing experience. Based on the comments, I am not even sure we have eaten at the
                                                                                                                                                                                        same restaurant. I have eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner a Bite and have NEVER experienced what you described. Your remarks about the fries: " Old Bay=Cajun fries is patently ridiculous.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll be happy to introduce you to folks (old and young, who adore the hot choc).
                                                                                                                                                                                        I am so sorry that Bite had to knock 30% off because of your coupon.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I love BITE, morning, noon and night:). Happy to see that it is doing well. As one of my friends, said: "Bite has legs."

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                                                                                                          k
                                                                                                                                                                                          kevin RE: maudies5 Jul 12, 2010 10:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          i've thought bite was pretty good to great across the board for food quality, but not the waffles. but to each her/his own.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                                                                                                            a213b RE: maudies5 Jul 14, 2010 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            As I said, based on the raves in this thread we were certainly all disappointed. It very well could have been their one off day out of many, many "on" days. Or maybe just an off brunch service.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm very happy that you and many others have had great experiences there; certainly the overwhelming support for Bite makes me at least somewhat interested in trying it again -- whereas I would normally write a place off completely after such a poor experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm a bit curious about your statement that my comment on the fries is "patently ridiculous". I don't know if you're saying that you agree Old Bay Seasoning does not equal Cajun seasoning, disagree, or what. I can tell you as a native of Louisiana, those do not equal "Cajun Fries", but as long as you like them then that is all that matters.

                                                                                                                                                                                            As for the hot chocolate, I can certainly show you 5 people who have had better hot chocolate from the Nestle instant packages (which, for the record, I find to be truly atrocious).

                                                                                                                                                                                            Lastly, I'm not sure why you would be "sorry" that Bite honored their Blackboard Eats coupon, unless you were just being snarky.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: a213b
                                                                                                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                                                                                                            mdpilam RE: a213b Jul 11, 2010 11:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            If you - or anyone - could comment on the "Eggy Bread Sandwich" as being like a refined version of a bacon egg n cheese biscuit, I would love to hear it. Is it actually on a biscuit? I LOVE bacon egg and cheese biscuits, and it has been my one guilty pleasure that I will go to McDonald's for.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mdpilam
                                                                                                                                                                                              Dommy RE: mdpilam Jul 12, 2010 12:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Actually, I found it more similar to the McGriddle, my own guilty pleasure. Maple infused bread with a fluffy egg filling, oozy cheese and crisp bacon. Here's a picture so you know what to expect. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dommy
                                                                                                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                                                                                                mdpilam RE: Dommy Jul 12, 2010 11:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Boo. I was really hoping for an amazing B-E-C biscuit. It still looks good though, and whenever I can get out for breakfast I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the responses.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: mdpilam
                                                                                                                                                                                                o
                                                                                                                                                                                                Ogawak RE: mdpilam Jul 12, 2010 01:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Mdpilam:
                                                                                                                                                                                                The eggy bread is quite different from the typical breakfast sandwiches we have been used to. I don't know for sure, but this seems like a baked item, with frittata, bacon and cheese baked within a bread. It's not a biscuit. But it is worth trying.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Dommy RE: soniabegonia Mar 15, 2011 11:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              More Good New/Bad News for Bite...

                                                                                                                                                                                              They are going to have Office Hours Monday and Wednesdays 12p-2p with Bars, Cookies and Candies. Sadly no breakfast items such as Crossiants...

                                                                                                                                                                                              --Dommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dommy
                                                                                                                                                                                                k
                                                                                                                                                                                                kevin RE: Dommy Mar 15, 2011 01:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                No croissants. ???? That's there reason for being.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kevin
                                                                                                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                                                                                                  maudies5 RE: kevin Mar 15, 2011 07:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  What is the point? I wonder if there is a tax reason or landlord reason for having to, at least, show that the business is in operation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: maudies5
                                                                                                                                                                                                    k
                                                                                                                                                                                                    kevin RE: maudies5 Mar 16, 2011 12:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    well, i guess they still need a space to bake or cook their catering wares, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    but if they are there, why only candies and cookies? If you have the space and wherewithal to make cookies can't one also make croissants by the same token.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin
                                                                                                                                                                                                      a
                                                                                                                                                                                                      AAQjr RE: kevin Mar 16, 2011 01:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      It takes a lot of skilled labor time to make croissants vs cookies/candy if they are not already there doing other things. You could bring in an intern to do cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                                                                                                                                                                        mnosyne RE: kevin Mar 16, 2011 02:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        They're in the catering business! This is where they do their prep and cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mnosyne
                                                                                                                                                                                                          a
                                                                                                                                                                                                          AAQjr RE: mnosyne Mar 17, 2011 12:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          exactly not the pastry business anymore. Croissants are a lot of work, I'm sure they would make them if they felt the cost/benefit made sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AAQjr
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                                                                                                                                                                                                            bulavinaka RE: AAQjr Mar 17, 2011 08:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think you're on the nose. They used to make these through the morning in relatively small batches if I remember correctly. This wouldn't work during their current "open" hours unless customers were lining up for them throughout the day.

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