Monsieur Marcel report | Aug 2, 200308:47 PM     4

I said on another thread that I'd report on my dinner at Monsieur Marcel in the Fairfax Farmer's Market. So, as promised....

Caveat: I am NOT a wine or cheese expert, just a run-of-the-mill chowhound who likes all kinds o'stuff.

So, the report: I've been to Monsieur Marcel several times, but always just for a glass or two of wine and a nosh, to use an old French term :) Actually, although it's a French-owned place (or seems to be), the appetizers on the menu are called tapas. Whatever. I'd never tried their entrees until Thursday night. I've had the serrano crostini, which is some very nice ham, thin-sliced cheese and light tomato sauce on a crostini. It's served with a nice salad on the same plate. I've also had the tomato-mozzarella salad -- also quite good. What REALLY rocks my socks, though, is their beaujolais plate, a very nice selection of cheeses, some fois gras and some thin-sliced sausage (VERY thin). This is a nice dish to share with the everyone at the table. None of these are "entrees," mind you, just random items off their menu.

Moving on to Thursday night's dinner. My table ordered the beaujolais plate, at my suggestion. A big hit with everyone. It's served with a basket of bread, which they'll replenish if you ask. We also had a nice bottle of Italian pinot grigio (they have a decent wine list -- not nearly as extensive as AOC, but a good mix of things, nonetheless).

We decided to order entree items, rather than just a selection of appetizers. This was a mistake. I got the quiche du jour, which was billed as being a brie/walnut mixture. It was good, not great. It tasted heavily of nutmeg, rather than either brie or walnut, and could have been hotter when brought to the table. Crust was not so great, either. The quiche was not bad, just not great. According to the menu, it would be served with a mesclun salad, but it showed up with pommes frites. No tremendous big deal, but I wasn't really in the mood for pommes frites that night, and would have preferred the salad. Nonetheless, I was having a nice evening with friends, and it wasn't worth sending back.

One friend got the mussels. He said they were good, but I noticed he didn't finish them. Don't know if that's because he was full, or because they were mediocre. Another friend ordered some kind of nicoise dish -- it looked like some tuna just piled on top of some rice. She didn't like it very much, and it didn't look very good.

A fourth person arrived late and just ordered dessert -- a chocolate mousse. I tried some of this --again OK, but not great. I wouldn't order it again.

One thing everyone liked: The little plastic containers with olives that each diner receives. They always do this, and they serve a different variety of olives each time. Very nice touch.

All in all, I still like Monsieur Marcel very much. The service is terrific (pommes frites vs. salad aside) -- they were very good about dealing with a minor error on the bill. And they're super friendly. I plan to continue going back, but I will stick with the cheese plates, tapas dishes and maybe the salads. I also plan to try the sandwiches -- since their cheese plate is so nice, I suspect they'd do well with sandwiches.

Monsieur Marcel - Farmer's Market, Third and Fairfax, Los Angeles
t: 323-939-7792

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