Sound like anyone we know?
On a perpetually, semi-blighted stretch of Wilshire Blvd in West La – between a 24 hour McDonalds and a KFC, kitty-corner to BOTH a Ross Dress For Less and the kind-of iconic Sasubune – sits the greatest tiny French Bistro you’ve never been to.
Well that’s my stab at the first line of the inevitable J. Gold, or Kayvan Gabbay, review that will “discover” Belle Vie (and please, feel free to pilfer it, either of the Mr G.'s that read us). And, what a lovely addition Belle Vie is.
Taking over the run down DaVita’s space is the kind of charming, little french joint foodies in LA have spent years begging for, only to be “rewarded” with the very spotty at best (IMHO, of course) Petit Trois.
The charm is a wonderful combination the lovely, helpful French staff, whimsical decor, small, tight menu and deft cooking. Nice unknown (to us anyway), bargain organic wines too. It is so French they have a cute ceramic bowl filled with sand, on a pedestal, serving as an outdoor ashtray, and it was filled with butts - on a slow night! Check it out.
– a simple, delicious, well-dressed mesclun salad
– Angels’ Eggs (cage free organic eggs with a homemade chipotle mayonnaise, burnt fresh corn, pickled onion and radish, chervil). Fantastic.
–Grilled Octopus (An entire fresh tentacle - grilled to perfection, with shaved burnt cauliflower and its puree, hazelnuts, and nduja). This chef actually knows how to cook octopus - something most LA chefs fail miserably at. At almost every other joint in town they char the shit out of a tentacle then dump a chimichurri over it, to kind of cover up their ineptitude with the cephalopod. This prep will blow you away. Tender but not overdone. You can taste the octopus as well as the very light accompaniments (simple shaved cauliflower and it’s puree work sooooo well here but would be lost with a less talented chef).
– Beef Cheeks braised with olives, served over mashed spuds and a flurry of small crispy thin fried potato chips. Another knock-out. Rivals (sort-of, anyway) the boeuf bourguignon I had at Chez Dummonet in Paris last summer.