My first crack at a pseudo-review:
My partner and I were supposed to go to Angelini with my OC-centric parents Saturday evening. L.A. is ghastly right now - horrible traffic, insane drivers, oppressive heat. We switched plans at the last minute and drove to meet them at Troquet in South Coast Plaza.
The rest had salads - I had moules frites. Really first rate with finely minced ginger perfuming the broth and perfect frites sprinkled with, I think, thyme. Also tasted a butternut squash soup, laced at the table with a browned butter.
So we were kind of boring on the entrees, but everyone wanted seafood, so Mom and boyfriend had scallops and Dad and I the halibut. These diver scallops are a well-known menu item at this restaurant, seared on one side, pan-roasted on a bed of spinach and bacon-lashed Puys lentils. Halibut same treatment on a bed of roasted fennel and brandade. Desserts were split - lemon tart and pumpkin creme brulee. Really terrific tart, though it is difficult for us to get around the way that pumpkin desserts have a particular unavoidable (and in this case I imagine unintended) suggestion of Americana. After a few bites, I noticed the subtlety of the spice was a refinement over, say, canned pumpkin pie filling, but it took some concentration to appreciate it. Just a cultural thing - no reflection on a fine dessert.
I do not drink but Dad is a wine guy and he chose carefully and was very pleased with the Sauvingnon Blanc he settled on. He spent some time in choosing as there were numerous by-the-glass choices. 270 with tip.
2 glasses of wines, 2 bottles of Pellegrino, 4 coffees. There was a nice tasting menu offered but no one in our party wanted fois-gras.
I get to eat food like this only once in a great while so my interest level and scrutiny was high on this canny take on ordinary bistro fare. I'll go back again given a chance. The service was, well, sunny. It was odd how informal and deft the server managed to be at the same time. The place seems to be well-managed.