On a whim, my boyfriend and I decided to try out Canelé at the Atwater Village in Los Angeles today. Two good reviews? Within walking distance of the exhibit we were going to check out? Good enough. I doubt we would have traveled this far to eat at a dinky little restaurant like this, but we were in the area--luckily for us (and two of our friends who joined us)..
Canelé is a small French restaurant near Glendale; cozy, non-pretentious and all about fresh, simple ingredients. After eating here, I felt "refreshed." I haven't had a meal like this in quite a while. Not every meal has to be mind boggling, it just has to be good--and good it was. It made me feel the way I do after I eat at Otafuku here in Gardena. I guess I felt and still feel like a happy camper after leaving there. I ordered a pan fried sea bass (unfortunately, pan fried seems to be the only way non-Asian people know how to cook fish), my boyfriend and one of our guests had the tenderloin w/ bordelaise sauce and someone else ordered the duck confit (which looked absolutely delicious though I didn't try it). I'd say that all are basic dishes you would expect to find at your everyday French restaurant in the US, but all made with great ingredients. "Earthy" and "refreshing", I think, are two great words to describe pretty much everything we had. Our appetizers were rather simple as well, an omelet, a savory tart and squash soup. My favorite appetizer was definitely the tart. It was kind of a flattened, extremely decadent and light, croissant topped with some greens, caramelized onions and bits of anchovy. Simply delicious. For dessert, I was the only one that ordered. I went with a biscuit and fruit concoction. It was also, "simply refreshing." I very much enjoyed the meal here and would definitely come back again for the food except that..
Yes; there is always a "but." First, we were seated in the worse table in the house in front of the door where everyone was standing w/ their asses practically planted on to our table, where cold air was blowing in, and where the front door was. But hey, I guess someone has to sit there. Second, we had a bitchy waitress. Everyone else in the restaurant actually was quite pleasant. Thankfully, the waitresses seems to share jobs and other will come by to take orders or ask how things are going. There were lots of apologies for the long wait and the running out of bread. How do you run out of the free bread you normally get at the beginning of a meal, anyways? They didn't seem to be prepared for a Saturday night. Third, it was sad that for such scrumptious food, the portions were incredibly dinky. We left wanting more. Well, it's French w/ French portions, I guess. And finally, no reservations. Having no reservations for a Saturday night means spending an extra 45 minutes or so standing around outside waiting for a table. It's way too small inside to wait indoors. Thankfully, we were able to check out the small exhibit we were there to see while we waited for our table. Despite all this, I would still go back. I'd probably only come back on a non-busy night (Sunday perhaps) when I wasn't starving (like I was today--only had a bowl of cereal for some damned reason) to death.
Oh! I almost forgot to mention the yummy treat everyone gets at the end of the meal. A yummy, you guessed it, tiny canelé. I've never had one before, but it was crusty on the outside and yummy and had a bread like, yet custardy consistency on the inside. I should look more into these canelés. I'd could probably sit in front of my television popping these one at a time until my arteries clogged. Yum.
3219 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039