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Cafe Bizou, Pasadena - getting better?

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Cafe Bizou, Pasadena - getting better?

Will Owen | Oct 31, 2005 11:44 AM

We've had some less than stellar episodes at Cafe Bizou over the last few years, so were not thrilled when the in-laws picked it as the place for us to celebrate their anniversary last night. Still, it was on their tab, so what the heck.

Seven o'clock reservation: the six of us arrived on time, waited about ten minutes, then were seated and quite briskly served bread and water. Menu is heavy on seafood, which I recall as having been their strong suit in the past, and the prices all seemed quite reasonable. Mrs. O and I are doing South Beach, so we ordered the sand dabs without potato; Papa got'em with, Bro-in-law got the monkfish, his wife got a steak whose name I did not catch, and Maman ordered the mussels. Pops also ordered a Beaujolais-Villages, which is pretty much the only thing he drinks anyway - I had a half-glass in defiance of the diet, and of course it was rather in defiance of the sand dabs as well...

Well, the food arrived in amazingly short order, very nicely presented on blazing hot plates. Our potatoless orders had been beautifully embellished with an array of perfectly prepared green vegetables - spinach, snow peas, green beans, aparagus and broccoli, with five or six boned sautéed little fish lined up front and center, drizzled over with a delicious if maybe too-rich sauce of wine, butter and capers. A couple of my dabs had a bare touch of past-their prime fishiness, but that's almost impossible to avoid with such little guys, and aside from that everything on my plate was perfect. Everyone else was clearly enjoying his or hers as well, as the conversation subsided to the level of "Yum" and "Oh, golly". The staff attended us closely but not obtrusively, keeping the water glasses topped up but letting Papa control the wine bottle. They do start pulling plates off the table before everyone's done, a topic recently addressed on another board, but at least they asked first.

Dessert orders were for just two sorbets and a plate of profiteroles, plus a double espresso for Papa and I, quite good if unexceptional. We felt no pressure to clear out, and lingered conversing for another twenty minutes or so, mostly about LA restaurants in general and how this one stacked up. I mentioned the severe service issues we'd had in past visits, and we all agreed that the current crew had delivered as pleasant a dining experience as we'd ever had.

No idea what the total tab was - I do know that the sand dabs were about $16, and I'd happily pay that again.

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