"The replacement for Bizou seems to have opened," says Jesse on returning from the bank. So we went.
As I had previously read in an interview with Loretta Keller, the restaurant has gone quite informal, with about a third of the room turned into a bar and additionally a long communal table. The simple decor was also pleasant, although with nothing able to absorb the sound, once the room was full it was rather deafening.
Food has also become a bit simpler, but just as delicious, with the retention of some old Bizou favorites like the tempura green beans and the beef cheeks. Dishes are mostly the entree, with sides ordered separately. Prices are lower than before -- mostly in the $4 - 14 range. The lowest priced plates were a group of simple small bar bites like the green beans.
We started out by sharing a quite large, crunchy romaine heart salad with a creamy tarragon-laced dressing, avocado, three strips of a good, cruncy bacon and some thin slices of pickled onion. Not bad, but the pickled onion did nothing for this dish and I probably wouldn't order it again.
I went for white prawns that had been grilled and served with a tasty salsa verde and additionally ordered one of the sides -- a very delicious mix of summer beans -- green, yellow, romano, fava and shell -- in a savory, olive oil sauce. This was also enough for two. Jesse went with one of the two pizzas offered -- a cremini mushroom with tomme de savoie cheese on a cracker-thin crust. This thin crust was very flavorful with olive oil -- one of the best I can recall.
The wine list was interesting and eclectic, although with only a few wines under $30 and fairly high per glass charges as well. I didn't ask about the corkage policy, so don't know if they've kept the relationship with K&L.
A very nice, neighborhood sort of place. We'll be back.