Before seeing The Great Gatsby at the Krikorian in Monrovia, four of us tried out the new 21 Bistro nearby - http://21bistro.com/
We got lucky in getting the table, because it is a tiny place, and had we arrived 10 minutes later, it would have been a long wait.
We shared two appetizers - the cheese and charcuterie plate - though none of the items were unusual varieties - they were substantial and good portions to share for 4. We made the mistake of also ordering the seared sea scallops - the waitress suggested we order the larger entree sized portion from the Big Bites. The scallops were not well seared - and celery root puree had no hint of truffle, as advertised on the menu.
We had taken a bottle of 2009 Rusack Santa Barbara Country Syrah, which was lovely. But we ended up finishing that so fast that we ordered a bottle of their Malbec - I don't recall the name now - which was not as good as the Rusack.
Between the four of us, we ordered two of braised lamb shank over couscous with carrots and onions, farm raised chicken cocotte grand, and penne with sausage and tomato. I had the lamb shank - it was very tender and not too gamy, but it was not as flavorful as I have had at other restaurants. My friend did not like the chicken dish - not sure why. It looked good - with a white cream sauce. My wife's pasta was OK but she did not finish it, or rave about it.
We split a creme brulee and that was standard issue. The bill was a lot higher than we expected - partly because of our mistake of ordering the scallops of their entree section as appetizer. It is a charming place, but not a good value for the prices charged.
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