Some of our favorite American cuisine has its roots in French cooking. We are big fans of French tasty treats, like croissants, meringue,soufflés, mousse, pâté, crepes, hollandaise sauce, and quiche. This explains why classic bistros are making a comeback. But they can also cost a pretty penny. “It’s all about sharing,” says Chef Thomas Keller, on the Bar Bouchon website. So that’s the secret! I found these wallet-friendly spots that offer inventive takes on French fare. Just bring a friend.
From the group of chefs behind the smash hit Trois Mec comes Petit Trois, a pint-sized slice of Paris. tucked in a dingy strip mall with no signage other than from the original Tasty Thai occupants. This bistro slings reinvented classics that will knock your socks off. Start with the gougere, a puff choux pastry with creamy gruyère cheese. If it is on the menu that day I recommend the braised leeks, which are sweet and refreshing, especially on a warm day. The entrees are definitely heavier. I tried the Steak Frites Maison with aux poivres sauce. The steak was tender and juicy and the sauce brings just enough heat to make things interesting. The frites are perfectly crispy with a delightful saltiness. This amazing meal will set you back about $60 for two.
Tip: Sit facing the kitchen to catch the action.
Petit Trois is located at 718 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles
From master chef Thomas Keller comes this affordable version of his upscale bistro. Set in pretty Beverly Hills courtyard, Bar Bouchon makes you feel as though you’ve been whisked away to the French countryside. The food here is Gallic with some Keller flare. A must have appetizer is Moules Frites, which is Maine bouchot mussels dressed up with a coconut curry broth. This gives the dish a nice spicy depth. An eggplant purée is brightened up by the edition of pomegranate seeds. The cheese and charcuterie are great too, the meats are cured at the acclaimed French Laundry. The menu here is mostly small plates but there are some entrees. I recommend the Salade de Steak made with flat iron grilled steak, watercress, cherries, Roquefort, and walnut dressing making it hearty and rustic. For dessert you could get tarte tatin or a macaroon from Bouchon Bakery. If you really want to indulge, go to the takeout counter next to the bistro and pick up some gooey sticky buns for breakfast the next day! If you order right, it should run about $50 for 2.
Tip Go at happy hour and get truffle popcorn.
Bar Bouchon is located at 235 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills
The Tripel is more of a gastropub than a bistro. Located on a sleepy corner of Playa Del Rey, this awesome joint is run by “Top Chef” runner-up Brooke Williamson. They serve classic American bar food with French leanings. The classic burger is done up with duck confit and dijonaise, and served on an onion brioche bun. Clams are steamed and bathed in a pesto broth instead of wine. When the menu starts to veer eclectic, Williamson’s creativity shines. Marinated quail is smokey and sweet, highlighting the richness of the bird. The bar snacks are great, too, with the cheesy tater tots being a stand out. This amazing meal should set you back around $45 for 2.
Tip: Usually a crowd so get here early or wait.
The Tripel is located at 333 Culver Blvd, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293
Note from writer: Seeing I’m in high school, none of these prices include alcohol.