Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Comme quoi? Comme ça, bien sur
8479 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90069
$25 for lunch
Pardonnez mon Français. I had to get my brother to translate it and he only took a year of French. I tried to say "Like what? Like that, of course." Comme ça is David Myers' French brasserie on Melrose. It's a more casual take on the dining experience compared to Sona, Myers' other restaurant.
The atmosphere was ethereal and tranquil. It was restrained and dignified but not pretentious. Natural lighting against a stark black and white motif and defined stripes just appealed to me. The waiters dressed stylishly, individually unique but similar enough for a sense of uniformity. I just felt at home in the restaurant.
Marshal and Thi were treating me to a celebratory graduation lunch. That said, the prices were a little high for a normal lunch. Coming here would definitely be an event, not a casual meal. The bread came out warm and so delicious that it is worth a trip in itself. Thi speculated that it came from Myers' bakery Boule, but wherever it was from, we helped ourself to a second loaf. Even carb-phobic Marshal had a fill of it. Marshal's entree was the beef tartare, a good balance of savory and tart. It was not as good as Fraiche's tartare, but still delicious on its own right. Thi's braised beef paleron sandwich was too salty, but plenty hearty.
Since I've only recently started eating French food consistently, I had wanted to try duck confit. I ordered it for lunch and was somewhat disappointed. From what I understand, it was done well, the skin was crisp and the meat flavorful, but it lacked the buttery smoothness I expected. I don't know if I just don't like confit or if Comme ça just didn't do it as well as I hoped. The red cabbage and red wine over spatzle was a little bitter and didn't help balance the duck well enough.
Comme ça cake
Dessert was a visual treat as much as a taste sensation. This is the Comme ça cake, designed by Myers' wife who is the pastry chef. Sure, it doesn't look like a cake, in fact it looks more like a turtle. But that's just the smooth chocolate coating made of the blackest chocolate I've ever seen. Once i broke through that ebony exterior, the moist cake was delicate in flavor and not too sweet. All too often a perfectly fine dessert has been ruined by an over-zealous addition of sugar, but this cake understood balance in flavors. The green mound is pistachio ice cream with bits of crushed pistachios spread over the top. Thi said she tasted a little tea mixed into the cake; I agree that it definitely had something special. Whatever it was, this was not your typical chocolate cake.
All in all, I had a great time here. We even got a quick glance at Myers who came through the front door halfway through our meal. He sported a pony-tail and shades making him look like a rockstar. But I guess that's how celebrity chefs are treated nowadays. In the back, a vendor was trying to sell the bartender absinthe, so possibly look out for that in the future. I just need to work on my French pronunciation before I tackle my next French foodventure (pronounced Com Sa, by the way).