Had an impromptu dinner last night, and decided I was craving French and to try out a place I have not been to before. A few searches brought me to Cafe Stella - in Silverlake. I took my gurlfrend and we headed East to this place - with 7:30 reservations (set earlier that evening with no issues). Granted it's a Thursday night, so I didn't expect too many people - but when we got there it was packed. I explained to the waiter that we were late for our reservation but we were seated with no problems, right away. First thing, I read it was intimate seating - but we were pretty close to the diners next to us. I got over it, and my gf didn't mind - so once we got used to the 'closeness' to other diners, it was easy to hold our own conversation. One thing I think that helped was the lighting (or lack thereof). The place is dark inside, so that helped to mute things around us and helped to counter the noise level of our dining neighbors.
The one-page menu had basic items that one can find at most California/French bistros (tuna tartare). I was pleased to see a charcuterie plate, so we ordered that for the app, along with two glasses of chote du rhone. Not a big expert on bread, but basic french baguette and hard butter was presented prior to the meal. The charcuterie plate included pate, a jambon/jamon, and some slices of thin salami/saucisson. Pate was smooth and had a nice pepper taste to it. I enjoyed the charcuterie and it was big enough for two (and even more) to share.
For mains, we went with steak frites for her and buttered ribeye for me. Fatty cuts of beef and tendency to overcook were warnings I read about this place, so I was crossing my fingers. Our steaks came out just the way we liked them, mine rare and hers medium. The steak frites had a pepper corn sauce that gf thought was too much, and wished she could have ordered the crispy sea bass instead. Fries were basic staple and the starchiness helped to counter the peppercorn sauce drenching her steak.
My ribeye was excellent. It came topped with four potato slices, resembling hefty steak fries - that were thick and a bit too soft for my taste (when I see a fry, I expect it to be crunchy). Big hit was shallot butter and fried shallots on top of the steak. The fried shallots added some nice hints to the steak and I tried to incorporate them into each bite. I enjoyed the dish.
I read it could be a bargain, and it might have been if we didn't drink or order an app. Total came to 105 with tax for 2 people. FYI - corkage is 20 dollars, which is worth it given wines by the glass prices (ranging from 8-12).
3932 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Cross Street: Sanborn Avenue
Phone: (323) 666-0265