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May 3, 2011 12:18 PM

Vertical Wine Bistro Pasadena - Laurent Quenioux Exec Chef - anyone been lately?

Well, since Laurent has returned to the 626 area code as E/Chef at Vertical Wine Bistro, has anyone been there recently? Nice facility and staff and while I can't imagine not liking everything on the menu, anyone willing to share their experiences?

Vertical Wine Bistro
70 N. Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103

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  1. We were there back in January for a cassoulet night. The food was delicately and excellently prepared, and of course very delicious. A light salad, properly dressed, topped with a runny egg. Rich cassoulet with flavorful beans, duck, sausage, and a third bit of meat. I can't remember dessert... And being a wine bar, there were plenty of wine choices.

    I haven't found a chance to return but really want to. I too am interested to hear others' experiences.

    2 Replies
    1. re: avivale

      I've had Laurent's cassoulet, and it is truly wonderful. Hopefully, it is in hibernation for the summer. Saw the menu on line, and entrees read fairly heavy, and thus the specials are of most interest.

      1. re: carter

        Ha. When is LQ's cooking not rich and heavy?! I still have a not-so-fond memory of overindulging at Bistro K and the havoc it wrought on my insides. Not the food's fault, though. He's a damn fine chef.

    2. I really want to like this place more. Was there last night, and shared some small plates (didn't go for the burgers, but if I read the sign right, burger night extends for most nights of the week.)

      We had 4 dishes, arugula salad, corn fritters with smoked salmon, hamachi tartar, and a caramelized onion/goat cheese pizza.

      The salad was fine, generous portion, nice roasted pine nuts (crazy expensive right now so good to see), reasonably dressed. The corn fritters were nicely crunchy but the salmon was completely flavorless, and wasn't helped by the drizzle of creme fraiche atop. I really didn't know what to expect out of this dish, but it was basically a little deep-fried, latke-like nugget with a slice of salmon on top. I'm not sure it did either component a favor.

      The hamachi was not the slices I'd imagined, but was basically albacore ceviche, served in a large mound, with thinly-sliced cucumbers arranged around it. I love ceviche, but it's hard to eat with cucumbers. I need chips. I'm not sure how one would eat this. But it's not their fault - it was just sort of an odd dish to serve.

      The pizza really a disappointment - way too many onions, none of which were that well-caramelized, unfortunately. The goat cheese was in scattered little clumps. Flatbread was not crispy, but sort of chewy.

      Like I said, I want to like/love this place. I probably ordered all wrong. Had the server checked back or come by on her own, she might have helped us out more. Bread appeared to be of the Ralphs baguette variety.

      Liked my beer though (Craft black ale of some kind).

      Help me out - what's good around there to try next time?!

      2 Replies
      1. re: cant talk...eating

        We gave Vertical another try a week or two ago. Were surprised how full the dining room was on a Tuesday night. The menu had changed since our last visit. The appetizers still don't excite me but some of the new entrees sounded very nice. My husband tried the lamb with papparadelle which was excellent with a deep meaty taste. Think short ribs. I had the chicken and orange tagine-- served with flair in a covered tagine. It's flavors were muted compared to the lamb. Past that, it was a generous portion, healthy and tasty with zucchini, fennel, quinoa, and a nice broth. The chicken was a bit hard to eat because there were wing and leg pieces with skin and bone-in.

        With no appetizers, salads, or dessert, our meal still came out around $100. Af that price, I wish the food and/or experience felt like more than it is.

        1. re: avivale

          "With no appetizers, salads, or dessert, our meal still came out around $100"

          Can you clarify? Is it safe to you assume everyone ordered wine(s)?