Finally went to Cafe Bizou last night in Santa Monica. Generally agree with the past posters on some of the entrees my family had.
.I ordered the Sand Dabs and they were fantastic. Best I've had in years (LA is not a Sand Dab town, hard to find in many places), but these were well prepared, extremely tasty, with a nice lemon caper sauce, and just-okay mashed potatoes on the side.
The just-okay, good-but-not-great designations seem to fit Cafe Bizou well for most everything else though. Maybe we can't expect more, given that most entrees are in the $14-$18 range, and what with dollar salads, and $2 corkage, they really can't match the fine dining experiences at other places.
The other entrees included the same old sesame-seed salmon, whitefish, chicken in balsamic sauce, and salmon with potato scales that have been on the menu forever. They do an acceptable job with these, but for me it's not a WOW experience (again, except for the Sand Dabs). The salads are pretty plain, the Gazpacho is nothing special and the french onion soup is pretty standard. And as far as wine goes, you're way better off bringing your own.
Still, if one goes in with the attitude that this is going to be a reasonably priced meal of standard faire, it's a pleasant enough experience. What continually amazes me though is how Cafe Bizou hit the #1 spot for LA on the Zagat charts. But then again Baja Fresh is in the top 50 too, and not to denegrate them because I like their steak burritos... but that top 50 is a little curious.
But maybe I'm just being a little snobbish, and maybe most of the voters just go for the Sand Dabs...