Monday, August 22, 2011

Practice Dinner: Papilles Bistro, Coming to Los Feliz


Over the course of our nine years blogging at Franklin Avenue, we've had the opportunity to visit many restaurants -- and of course, we've reviewed more than 250. But last week we received our first-ever invite to a private dinner in a downtown Los Angeles loft. I was intrigued.

Santos meal

Santos Uy, who owns downtown's Mignon wine and cheese bar (and before that, opened Bacaro LA), is about to open a brand-new French concept restaurant in Los Feliz (on Franklin Avenue, natch). To spread the word and test things out, he invited a handful of bloggers to his loft last Thursday.

Maria couldn't make it, but I brought along my pals Paul and Diane, who were equally intrigued. Santos gave us the rundown: Papilles (French for "taste buds") Bistro is inspired by a recent trip to Paris, where the “bistronomique” movement has taken off. "It's simple but well-executed French food," he says. More from his website: "We strive to serve the same quality food as one might have at a Michelin starred French restaurant, but in a casual, bistro setting. Our wines will be French heavy. I’m an admirer of Beaujolais. I also love esoteric Eastern European wines."

The plan for Papilles: Weekly three-course meals in a small space (currently occupied by a pizza joint, one block west of Gower) that will seat around 24. Uy plans to move fast, opening the restaurant within two months. (The chef is remaining anonymous for now, as this person first has to give notice to their current restaurant.)

Here's what we ate:

Santos meal

“Chilled almond soup with figs.” Also with almonds, almond oil, and a mahon tweel.

Santos meal

“Warmed nicoise salad nouveau.” A deconstructed nicoise salad with pan-seared tuna, boiled potato, haricot vert, olive; arugula, spinach and sherry vinaigrette “dots.” It was nice, and as a bonus, Diane says it was the first time she could appreciate rare-seared tuna.

Santos meal

“Braised veal cheeks, artichoke fava ragout, cooking jus.” This was the highlight. Diane didn't finish hers, so Paul and I happily split what was left.

Santos meal

The dinner was capped with cheese: cana di cabra with honey. It was quite a treat, and the dinner went off without a hitch. We're looking forward to checking Papilles out once it opens.

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