La Grubette treated me to a romantic dinner at Beau Rivage (PCH, Malibu) to observe Bastille Day. When we timely arrived for our 8:30 res, things did not look good. Parking lot jammed. Folks festooned about the entrance. Inner entrance mobbed. Bar SRO. Undaunted -- we had committed during the laborious drive from the big city -- we were greeted at the host's stand with, "We're overloaded. I don't know when we can seat you." To which Mme Grub responded, "I trust that will be soon because we made our res with the reasonable expectation that it would be honored." The hostess, by then joined by the owner, assured us that if we waited in the bar they would make our wait as comfortable as possible. Surprisingly enough, at the time Mme Grub returned from the rest room, we were taken to our table.
The good news: BR is indeed a romantic restaurant. Intimate & elegant while provincially rustic it is special. Our meal was excellent. Mme had a perfectly sauteed soft-shell crab special. I enjoyed by Long Island (& it indeed seemed like a plump LIer) duckling in green peppercorn sauce. That our meals could have been au point on this chaotic evening was remarkable. Our owner-recommended Lambrusco was as surprisingly rich & smooth as he said it would be.
The bad news: Noise. Romantic conversation becomes a challenge when you must almost shout to be heard across your intimate little table. The 4 adjacent our table screamed at each other constantly to be heard over the 4 who were roaring at each other behind them to be heard over the 4 who were.... Price. Romantic, lovely setting, excellent food, Malibu, but still pricy. Mme's soft shells at $32.50 seemed a bit steep. Everything on the menu 25% or so over the top, altho wine list not terribly unreasonable. Misrepresentation. The name is French. It bills itself as "Mediterranean" (omigod), but the food is almost entirely Italian. Feels French, seems French, is Italian. Service. Prob attributable to Sat & off nite, but atrocious. Long wait to order, no check-backs, no service during meal (except when owner stopped by), long wait for clearing, long wait for check.
Reinforced hound axiom: Don't dine on Sat (amateur) nite if you can help it. Merci a dieu that Bastille Day won't be on a Sat next year.