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Birthday coming up, Best French in town?

Arro? Chez Nous? Justine's? LaV?

I should add I don't mind dressing up but I don't want to wear a tie and I don't drink so I don't give a damn about the wine list. Please advise .

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    1. I like LaV and Justine's. I haven't been to Chez Nous in a while. Didn't like Arro the one time I went.

      1. Arro - overpriced and just doesn't feel French to me (their prix fixe is $25, but I don't think a croque is birthday-worthy)

        LaV - best atmosphere, so-so food, can't believe they have the gall to call themselves Provençal(-inspired)

        *Chez Nous - old-school bistro

        *Justine's - newer, hipper version of Chez Nous; con (or pro, depending) - loud; funny how it calls itself brasserie, though

        Péché - best for happy-hour/Warehouse-bouncing

        Annies - a cut below Chez Nous and Justine's

        *recommended

        ps You wouldn't feel out of place in shorts in any one of these places maybe except LaV.

        pps Post-Aquarelle, Austin's sorely missing un restaurant.

        8 Replies
        1. re: conquer

          Pleas say more about what you didn't like about Arro.

          1. re: Rptrane

            I just found Arro overpriced.

            For example, I don't mind paying for bread especially if its good bread. But listing it as charged per person ($2) and also charging separately for whipped butter ($3 per type) irked me.

            Conceivably if I wanted to try all 3 butters and breads for two people, I'm looking at $13. I don't understand why there isn't a breadbasket option at say $7 where you get a sampling of everything.

            The 3 course pre fixe seems like a good deal until I realize the entree section is dominated by sandwiches and salads and it seemed more lunch appropriate.

            I ended ordering the Grouper and the Duck. The duck was pretty good but the Grouper was an end tailpiece that did not justify its 27 dollar price. And while the top was nicely crisped, there were spots within that were underdone and chewy.

            I suppose I shouldn't judge a restaurant based on just one outing and usually I don't but with many other casual French options around, I haven't been back yet.

            With regards to LaV:

            I thought the service and atmosphere is great. Makes you feel like you are dining in a fine dining restaurant in Paris. The decor is almost reminicent of Robuchon in Vegas but much less decadent and quite a bit rowdier.

            The service was phenomenal as we felt we had 3 or 4 servers always at the ready and there was nary an empty glass or dirty unscraped table, yet there wasn't a constant asking of "how are we doing" thus service was invisible when we needed it to be.

            I thought the meat dishes were oversalted and a bit small for the price.

            I had a very enjoyable grilled octopus in tuna sauce though. A reference to likely the Italian dish Veal Tonnato, except more refined with a very smooth and rich tuna sauce. It really evoked the Mediterranean for me.

            I also had a very tasty skate wing dish off their bar menu that I remember was under $20. Its not a dish I see often and I always tend to order it if I see it as I love the taste of fish flesh near working muscles : collar meat, fin meat, etc..Unfortunately, I see that now its on the dinner menu for $30 so maybe they're charging more for it due to popularity.

            1. re: lixlix

              We had that grilled octopus on Thursday night, I could eat about 5 of those...

            2. re: Rptrane

              I've been to Arro twice. Once was fantastic. The other was terrible. Others I've talked to have had similar experiences. It just seems too inconsistent.

            3. re: conquer

              Didn't know that Justine's proclaims brasserie - does that not fit? I have never been to Justine's.

              1. re: rudeboy

                I've been bashing Justine's on another thread - too lazy to rephrase, so please forgive me for cutting and pasting here:

                I've been five times. Once was good, once was great. The other three were slow - two of these, the service was abominable and one was hands-down the worst service experience I've EVER had in a restaurant. And I eat out an average of probably 12 times a week. I'm pretty convinced our server was on drugs. In case you're bored and want to read my blow-by-blow (first time I've ever written a Yelp review that exceeded maximum length and had to be edited back!), here ya go. ;)

                http://www.yelp.com/biz/justines-bras...

                1. re: rudeboy

                  The founder of Justine's was once associated with Chez Nous. Sort of continuing the tradition, so to speak.

                2. re: conquer

                  Justine's has good food but in the restaurant itself, it is incredibly,unblievably, ear-damaging noisy. Better in the tent in front if it is there.

                3. I'd recommend Justine's, as long as you aren't bothered by a somewhat boozy scene.

                  1. If casual atmosphere isn't a problem, Hopfields puts out great food.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jwynne2000

                      A late dinner (10-11 pm) in the private backroom of Hopfields sounds charming.

                      1. re: jwynne2000

                        but it is kind of "pubby" for a birthday celebration for somebody who doesnt drink