Bastide, A Treat if You Please

Bastide, A Treat if You Please

Dining out has become a bit of a treat for me these days. The nights of my weekly restaurant reviews have passed and with them, sadly, the hours spent with college friends over bottles of wine and glorious food. Too little time(most now spent working) and too little money(most now spent on the sudden mass of post-college bills), means much too little eating out. And here in Los Angeles, glorious food is more likely to be found at a corner taco truck or tiny strip mall treasure then at the masses of highly celebrated restaurants too concerned with their A-list clientele than actual food . Even so, on the very rare evening off from work, the occasional fine dining experience is always a treat.

And at Bastide, dining certainly is a treat. Hidden away in the heart of West Hollywood, walking into this rare-for-LA culinary meccas feels as though you have arrived at a friend’s house for supper. A very wealthy friend indeed. The space is divided into several small rooms, each fitted with posh art deco furnishings, creating a warm but classy feel. Your server whisks you to a table as if he’s bringing you into his own home and the friendly sommelier places champagne at your seat. The scene is set.

Dessert Course at Bastide

Out comes the food. Chef Walter Manzke offers a five or seven pre-fixe tasting menu, each course titled by only an intriguing suggestion of what lays ahead. A refreshing ceviche of Nantucket baby bay scallops opens the palate topped with a citrus/lime sorbet. Uni flan with chicken broth and abalone is velvet, smooth and rich. And the beef course with melt in your mouth NY strip and braised short ribs with foie gras vies as a reason not to give up on Los Angeles cuisine. The meal comes to a sweet end with smooth caramel flan topped with pandan foam and rich chocolate souffle cake with chai ice cream(pictured above). While some of the courses feel sightly disconnected, perhaps afterthoughts, the meal and experience leaves you pleasantly content. And the bread service is simply sublime. There are perfectly-shaped crunchy french bread rolls, bacon brioche, rich and flaky, and wonderful fennel and potato rolls. Offered between almost every course, it’s hard not to fill up on the bread, and even harder not to want to go back the next day. Inspired by the breads created by pastry chef Marge Manzke, I tried French bread at home. Using a recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, I managed a nice crunchy crust, but the flavor left room for improvement. For now, I suppose I’ll to wait for another treat at Bastide.

French Bread. French Bread Out of the Oven

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