Having been bumped from an Ahmanson performance by a Ticketmaster foul-up, we decided to take the money to Taix (1911 Sunset, near Alvarado) - the only place we could reliably get into with no reservations at 7pm.
Enter the 1930s - 1930s waiters, 1930s haute cuisine, 1930s music and sound system, and 1930s patrons. We felt very young when the woman at the next table announced to the waiter that this was her 80th birthday (yes, the waiters sing "Happy Birthday"). She announced this in French and proceeded to describe her 19th birthday in occupied Paris (1943 I presume)and her German "male acquaintances" and later her American "boyfriends". The waiter bantered with her in French.
You go for the wines. They are priced $5 above retail, even if they were bought 15 years ago. We had a 1989 Vieux Chateau Certan 1989 for $72. Wonderful bacon and mushroom nose; perfectly balanced on the palate with lush forward fruit underlain with a drumbeat of firm acidity. Long lingering aftertaste which evolved even as it faded. Put on a fascinating performance over the 25 minutes of life we allowed it. 1994 Montrose was only slightly less spectacular at $62. Finished with a 1985 Monticello Late Harvest Gevurtz for $25 (!!!). Shades of a great Sauterne; less of a metallic undertone than an Y'Quem and not as firmly structured, but what a bargain.
The food is tolerable and inexpensive. Old school escargots. The special of the evening was braised lamb shanks - reminiscent of Patrick Healy. It begged for the great Bordeauxs on the list. A sorbet dessert comes free, but we ordered the peach tart. Truly exquisite.
Service was also old school - leisurely, with lots of comments about "you gentle people", "beautiful lady", etc. A little like My Dinner With Andre without the attitude.
For $75 a person this is one of the great experiences in the city if you can substitute great wines for great food.
Why would anyone go to the less charming, less comfortable, less interesting, and much more expensive Musso and Frank's?
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