Having eaten dinner at Pastis this past Saturday night, decided to go somewhere else last night for the 14 de Juillet fete. So, where to go?
Ultimately decided to just head east a coupla blocks and return to Mimosa, a place I had not been to in quite a while. The previous visit was not overly successful, but felt that things can change over time and I needed an update.
Arrived on time for 7:30 res and got the last table available which had been held for us, a deuce on the patio closest to the front door. They shoehorned in as many as they could for this night. Opted for 3-course prix fix(sic) for $38. First course selections included escargots, marinated herring filet, haricots verts/avocado salad, and the decided upon item of crispy soft shell crab served in a chilled tomato soup with mango and avocado. Soup was quite tasty, crab was quite nicely prepared - perfectly crunchy yet tasty - but the unexpected surprise was the tomato soup with avocado and mango - yum! I typically avoid tomato soup to start with, but this one was worth the exception. The addition of the avocado made it into a completely different taste, and a good one at that. Not exactly French, you say, as did we! Nonetheless.
Entree for both was bouillabaisse with all the usual accompaniments. Tasty enough but all the fish was somewhat overcooked, yet not beyond eating, and I am sure the evening crowd had something to do with it.
Desserts were floating island with sliced almonds and a pear/walnut thing. I typically like floating island, but the almond addition was very strange and not necessary, even though I like almonds, just elsewhere. The pear thing was just that - could not tell if it was pear or apple, as the walnut pieces dominated the tastebuds.
Over all, ho hum food, period! Had a $32 bottle of Cahors which again was just ok. List is not worthy of hounds, and the $15 corkage should be the way to go here.
Afterward, walked into Pastis, and saw what must have been the entire French ex-pat community dining or waiting to dine, at nearly 10p.m. The place was a zoo, with people three deep at the bar, and hanging all over the sidewalk, patio, and anywhere else they could find space to stand. The staff and management really earned every nickel of their pay last night. They deserved hazard pay. But fun - oh, my, would not have traded that experience for the entire evening at Mimosa.
Conclusion - glad I did not eat at Pastis last night, but just had a glass of Orange Label VC and came home. Still the best bistro in my mind in LA for that kind of vibe, fun, and good food at affordable prices.