Wow! We had such a wonderful meal last night. I couldn't wait to share the news with fellow Chowhounds. Outstanding food, excellent service, a very good wine list and such a lovely space.
Chez Mimi is a charming French bistro find on the north eastern edge of Santa Monica (246, 26th St., Santa Monica, 90402 - (310-393-0558). There are two small dining rooms (each probably holds 4 tables) and a spacious, utterly charming, interior patio.
We started with the salmon mousse (very good), escargots (excellent) and the chicken liver pate (WOWZER!). The pate was so silky and rich, I could have made that my meal for the evening.
I had a lovely and large serving of moules frites (mussels & fries). The mussels were served in a broth with tons of shallots, wine and a little cream. The fries were thin and just perfectly browned and crispy (yum). Two of my tablemates had steak (one, a chef, had the au poivre which he said was excellent) and the other had the NY Steak which she enjoyed heartily. Other mates ordered the Poulet au moutarde, Poulet Chez Helene (raves), and meatloaf (more raves). I was too busy with my mussels to do much tasting, but I did steal a bit of the meatloaf which was served with real and wonderful mashed potatoes.
This crew did not include wine lovers (sigh), but I read through the wine list and was pleasantly surprised to see a number of tempting wines reasonably priced. Chez Mimi has both California and French wines and even has a robust offering of wines by the glass.
We managed to squeeze room for a couple of desserts. The Tarte au Citron is heavenly!!!! It's creamier than others I've eaten, but had delicious tang and just the right amount of little bits of lemon zest nestled in the lemon curd filling. I'm not a cake lover, but others enjoyed a special gateau that was shaped like a bombe but was really a round cake covered with marzipan.
I was fortunate to be a guest and did not see all the prices, but entrees ranged from about $18 - 28 and there were several interesting wines in the $30-40 range.
This place is a hit on so many scales, I can hardly believe it hasn't been discussed here at length. Even if you don't love French food, the patio is so sweet, you'll want to come back over and over (as I intend to do).