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Restaurants & Bars 5

Figaro in Los Feliz - review w/photos

Colleen | Mar 12, 200607:23 PM

It's been a while since anyone reviewed Figaro Bistrot in Los Feliz. They recently changed their whole menu mantra, so I thought I'd pass along my impression and some photos.

Figaro recently went to an all-organic menu. And when I say all-organic, I mean Healthy Organic Biodynamic, since that's what all the 10-page flyers on their tables now say (yes, they made 10-page flyers talking all about their new organic food philosophy... you gotta admire the effort). They claim to be "the most completely organic restaurant in Los Angeles." They claim all of this organic-ness leads to cleaner rivers, more breathable air, and greater plant and animal biodiversity. Well, mostly, it leads to outrageous menu prices. But the food's good too.

I've heard mixed reviews on the service, ranging from friendly to downright awful. We had a very good experience with our waiter, who was from Nice (or perhaps from the Melrose area, by way of acting school). I expected a bit of snootiness, but he was charming, quite friendly, and very accomodating.

Here's what we had...
Our waiter brought an amuse bouche to start: mango pineapple juice topped with cranberry foam, dotted with balsamic vinegar. They intend for you to drink it like a shot, and we both tossed ours back only to have the entire concoction stay planted right where it was. Second try, same thing. So we waited a couple minutes until they brought silverware, loosened the edges of the foam with a knife, and this time, success. It was definitely worth the wait - a foamy, juicy citrus blast tamed by the sour-sweetness of the balsamic. A good way to start off the meal, and a sign of good things to come.

Next they brought a bread basket that had a french baguette and sundried tomato bread, with sweet cream butter. The sundried tomato bread had huge pieces of sundried tomatoes and was very tasty.

Figaro's menu has all the French bistro classics: escargot, steak frites, pork tenderloin, etc. The waiter also brought by a chalkboard with the day's specials. One soup, three appetizers, three main dishes, and a dessert. This is when I first noticed that the prices seemed high. Most of the appetizers were in the $10-25 range, and entrees started at about $30 going all the way up to $60.

Sometime around this point, a crazy street person walked by our table and started shouting obscenities. Charming. Still, they were playing some great music (Hotel Costes 6 and the very excellent Mirror Conspiracy among them), the heat lamps were warm, the candles burning, and I was digging the romantic, Left Bank vibe.

To start: Beef tartare with truffle oil and capers in a bearnaise sauce (from the specials menu). Raw beef and truffle oil, how can you go wrong? This was simply delicious.

Main course: we shared the roasted pork tenderloin in a cognac reduction with sauteed apples and potato puree. The pork was tender, perfected roasted, and nicely seasoned. It came in a small saute pan, along with the apples and the cognac sauce it was cooked in. I wanted to drink the sauce. Absolutely intoxicating...

The pork tenderloin came with a side of fluffy yukon gold mashed potatoes. Simple and good.

We finished with a shared dessert: Carmelized tarte tatin flambe. They bring it to your table, pour brandy all over it, and light it on fire.
Did I mention I love pyrotechnic food? This was so fun, and REALLY tasty. Sweet, delicious apples and the most amazing vanilla bean ice cream.

In additional to the 1 appetizer, 1 entree, and 1 dessert, my husband had two beers and I had two glasses of wine. Total bill before tip: $122. Had we BOTH ordered appetizers and a main course (like you normally do at a restaurant), it would have been well over two hundred. At a bistro. Outside. With homeless people shuffling by.

OK, so the food was very good. Not mindblowingly good, but good. The downside is that they're charging high-end gourmet prices for bistro-quality fare. I expect to pay that much at Grace or Spago, AOC, etc., but at Figaro? No thanks... I won't be back

Figaro Bistrot
1802 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027


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