I had the best organic French food last night. I know, it’s weird to see those words come out of my fingers but it’s true. I’m usually not all that crazy about French food (portions too small)…and “organic,” what’s that? But my vegetarian friend, GS, who lives near Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz was the one who suggested it, touting it as one of his favorite restaurants.
The manifesto behind the ingredients makes Whole Foods look like McDonald’s. The poultry used was raised on open pastures and fed organic grass and grain. Beef comes from grass-fed-to-finish cattle. All fruits and vegetables were picked from the farm no more than four days before they ended up on the plate. And all fish is line-caught the same day it arrives in the kitchen.
Walking up to the bistrot past its good-looking sidewalk patrons, it was a confusing storefront of three side-by-side rooms. The question was, which door to walk through to get seated? The first room with an entrance contained a bunch of empty dining tables and chairs, the next door opened to a quaint boulangerie, and the last was the bar and more tables and chairs. Fortunately GS knew to pick door #3. We could have sat outside with the other people watchers, heated on this chilly evening by the outdoor heaters, but instead opted for a quiet table for two inside.
The decor was reminiscent of a quaint French cafe with fin-de-siècle-style fixtures everywhere and warm, soft lighting which, although truly lovely and romantic, made it hard to take a good picture of the food (see above).
Immediately we went for the organic wine list. “Does organic wine taste different?” I wondered. We ordered up a bottle of the “biodynamic” 2003 Cote du Rhone, which our French waiter practically congratulated us on. He was so nice and supportive of our choices and that French accent just made it all the more charmant. But back to the wine, it was soo dee-lish. Not too tannic, and very smooth going down.
Ordering from the seasonal menu which was in transition, we got some vegetables cooked with cheeses into a nice little cake and a balsamic vinaigrette salad. It was the perfect amount to quell our hunger but not satisfy it. I ordered a salmon entree ($25) which came with some cooked vegetables. When it arrived at the table it was done up with the artistry usually reserved for grand dessert presentations, i.e. a ribbon of balsamic vinegar instead of chocolate syrup dripped on the plate and the salmon filet positioned atop a colorful pile of squash and carrots. It was a feast for the senses…well, except hearing…and maybe touch.
The flavors were amazing. Every bite was followed by “Mmmm!” The cooked vegetables had a hint of lemon which complemented the salmon nicely. And just when I thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, for dessert, the piece de resistance, creme brulee. Ta da! GS and I cracked the sugar layer with a satisfying thwack of the spoons and dug into the creamy custard beneath. It wasn’t as vanilla-y as I would have liked but that’s probably just because I’ve never had just regular creme brulee.
I really enjoyed my time here. The wait staff was so friendly and attentive, the food divine and the organic wine surprisingly good. I almost didn’t want to leave. But before we knew it two hours had flown by and we were the last patrons in the place.
1802 N Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90027
Cross Street: Melbourne Avenue