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Review: Bouchon BH - not great at all

Yes a bit slow on the uptake...when i get there i get there...someone took us out...and usually in that case the food tastes better cause i ain't getting the bill....not the case

I was at the one in Yountiville a few years ago...not that impressed then and not impressed now

Food: C+ (pretty mediocore)
Value: B
Service: B- (fine, not that interested in us)
Would I go back?: nah
Atmo: A- (beautiful restaurant)
Drinks: A- (very well made)

Full Menu: http://www.bouchonbistro.com/
What we drank: some cucumber cocktail which was very good

What we ate:

Bread- fine

Oysters - fresh yes, small yes, worth $18 for half dozen - not even close.

Tomato Salad- good

Steak Frites - I should not be eating a piece of meat that is so full of cartlidge or whatever you call it. You shouldn't have to cut around the center of the meat to get a mouthful of decent steak. The butter on top added so little to the steak

Fries - eh, they should be able to do better

Mussels - like the oysters, the mussels were also teeny tiny and not exactly succulent. They were ok - the butter broth was good. but drinking it with a spoon did wonders on my stomach the next day

Dessert: meringue with vanilla creme anglaise
I put heaping 3 teapspoons in my coffee every morning so i like sweet, but this was over the top sweet and not at all in a good way. I've had better meringue desserts on a cruise ship

My fellow diners had chicken dishes and some other steak dish -- everyone seemed less then dazzled.

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Bouchon Bistro
235 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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  1. Slow on the uptake indeed.

    We've moved on to obsessing about the Bakery, opening today.

    1. FWIW, the frites I had @ Bouchon LV were the most amazing fries I have ever had. I would hope that this is an abnormality, because those frites were godly even when cold.

      7 Replies
      1. re: ns1

        I have had the fries downstairs at Bar Bouchon and they were awesome. I also thought the mussels were fabulous, No complaints about size from me. They were perfect.

        1. re: ns1

          Pretty good considering they are frozen fries.

          1. re: A5 KOBE

            Frozen fries? Really? ARGH!!!! They can't be good. It's impossible. The best they can be is not awful.

            1. re: A5 KOBE

              proof?

              I'd assume Bouchon would follow Bouchon's own frites recipe...

              /edit

              well f me blind:

              http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2007/01...

              They sure as hell don't taste like any frozen fries I've ever had. and I'm OBSESSED with fries and eat them everywhere.

              1. re: ns1

                Just more proof about the power of bias and how it influences our perceptions...

                1. re: Servorg

                  no, i still stand by my best fries ever statement. i'm just completely shocked/surprised.

                  1. re: ns1

                    I was by no means insinuating that they are not good if not great. Just because they are frozen does not mean that the treatment of the fries/frites are not extraordinary. He probably uses some really nice tasting peanut oil and pretty sure a very good tasting sea salt as well. For the most part, potatoes are fairly bland and with the right flavor oil is mostly what you taste, then the starch. In this rare case, I think fries actually strive for better quality when frozen.

                    I have had them many a time and they are consistently good. I actually heard that Keller himself tested countless frozen fries until he found the perfect one, which is made by lamb wesson private reserve and is only sold to restaurants/distributors. : (

          2. Agree that the fries and mussels are very good. Not as good as Il Piccolino, but very good. Ate there twice. First time was great, second mediocre (other than the fries and mussels).

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            Il Piccolino
            350 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048

            1. I guess I've come full circle with Bouchon. I felt many of the same feeling as the OP did the first couple times I ate there. And then for some reason I went back by myself a couple times and I've really grown to like the place. I think a lot of people are somehow looking to be blown away there because it's a Thomas Keller restaurant, and if it weren't hyped up so much I think a lot more people would recognize that it's a good restuarant. Fortunately I've never had a bad steak there like the OP did, although I did have half of my friend's Steak Bouchon once and was not particularly impressed. I've debated whether I'd rather have a nice crusty steak instead of the steak frites they serve that's soft on the outside and covered with shallots and butter, but I've always been happy with my food there. The unfortunate reality is that food everywhere has gotten pretty expensive, and I would have to pay about the same amount of money to eat somewhere that isn't even a food driven restaurant for almost the same price. My friends take me to places like Bandera for steaks and we have to wait twenty minutes even though we have a "reservation," and there's nobody there who really knows anything about wine, etc etc. I don't think Bouchon is a good value or a great restaurant, but I'm glad to have it close to me when I'm having a bad day and I don't mind overpaying a little to be somewhere comfortable with good service. I do think that there's so many celebs and 'ballers in there that the average person who eats there regularly will never get the treatment they deserve, but that seems to be the problem in all too many restaurants these days. I am running the risk of having to move back to OC, and after having to live there the last time I can tell you that most people don't realize how lucky we are to have restaurants staffed by professionals until they move somewhere that there aren't any.

              4 Replies
              1. re: la2tokyo

                "My friends take me to places like Bandera for steaks and we have to wait twenty minutes even though we have a "reservation," and there's nobody there who really knows anything about wine, etc etc."

                But what did you think of the steak? I really love their Rutherford rib-eye, and it comes with some very nice thick sliced tomatoes with bleu cheese on top. As far as wine is concerned Bandera is the sort of place you would take a wonderful bottle of your own and enjoy their zero corkage policy.

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                Bandera
                11704 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                1. re: Servorg

                  I love Bandera. I can walk there from my apartment and I eat there twice a month. The steaks are very good. But I think there's a big difference between a place like Bandera that has virtually nothing perishable on the menu, and somewhere with an extremely high quality raw bar, top quality produce, and a menu that changes regularly. There's only so many times I can eat the same artichoke and chips and dip at Bandera. On one hand, it's basically a local chain restaurant, and the ribeye is better than the steak at one of the most hyped-up restaurants in the city, so Bouchon seems like a rip off. On the other hand, in order to eat that steak at Bandera I have to eat what is basically a bagged salad, supermarket-bagged-quality vegetables, and desserts that could be made by a thirteen year old, so the comparison is not so simple. If I could only eat at one of the two it wouldn't be a very hard decision if money were no object. Unfortunately money matters, so when I need to cut back I take a bottle of wine to Bandera and I'm still happy as a clam.

                  1. re: la2tokyo

                    "...and desserts that could be made by a thirteen year old..."

                    I have to say that I love the version they do of a "banana cream pie" with chocolate...and I don't say that lightly (ha ha). I don't think most places do a dessert that is that good (assuming it's still on the menu).

                    It sounds like you go to Bandera so frequently that you're a little on the "jaded" side when it comes to their food. I bet if you lived that close to Bouchon and had the money to eat their just as frequently you'd end up feeling the same way about them (most likely).

                2. re: la2tokyo

                  "Having to move back to OC", poor guy. We aren't a culinary wasteland, it just takes more effort.
                  Of course, it usually doesn't take 45 minutes to drive a few miles here either.