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Monday, July 08, 2013

Bouchon Bistro and Bouchon Bakery, Beverly Hills, LA

truffle fries at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles

Truffle fries... hello. We hadn't really planned on eating many fancy meals in LA but really, how often does an Aussie get to eat food by Thomas Keller? So on our first full day in LA, we found ourselves booking in for a late brunch at Bouchon in Beverly Hills.

Let's be clear. Brunch is a whole other thing in the US of A. In Sydney, brunch is just an excuse to get out of bed late. In the United States, it's An Event. We found entire sections of the menu devoted to this time-bound social institution.

At Bouchon, in downtown Beverly Hills (Rodeo Drive is only a few blocks walk away), the brunchtime crowd is brimming with the well-heeled. Sure there are a few tourists here and there, but there are plenty of well-to-do families all dolled up in their Sunday best with the kids answering politely whenever Mother asks a question.

dining room at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Bouchon Bistro dining room

The dining room is bright and airy. We're immediately welcomed by the maitre'd who sets the tone of friendly professionalism. Service is highly attentive throughout our meal but there's no air of pomposity or stiffness.

bloody mary at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Bloody Mary US$14

Thomas Keller may be the celebrity chef behind Bouchon but at the Beverly Hills branch the Chef de Cuisine is David Hands, a British ex-pat who first started working at Per Se in 2007. He has worked at Bouchon Bistro since it first opened in 2009, starting as a sous chef and working his way up to Chef de Cuisine in late 2012.

We start our journey with a round of Bloody Marys, spiced with a noticeable kick of chilli that whets our appetite.

chicken liver mousse at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Terrine de Foie de Volaille US$14.50
Chicken liver mousse served with toasted baguette

The brunch menu is a full page of more than 30 options that run from pastries to porridge to a US$27 chicken and waffle dish elevated with Tahitian vanilla bean butter. Suze immediately zeroes in on the chicken liver mousse. It's wondrously fluffy and smooth, with a creaminess that has Suze in throes of bliss.

Halfway through our appetisers, our server appears with another plate of toasted baguettes, explaining quietly "these are warm" and replaces them before disappearing again.

petit seafood plate at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Petit Plateau US$65
Half lobster, 8 oysters, 4 shrimp, 4 clams and 8 mussels

Lex makes do with the petit plateau, a small seafood platter that is dramatically plated on a bed of ice and real seaweed. There are clams, mussels, prawns, half a lobster and four different kinds of oyster: Cook's Cove from Prince Edward Island, Fancy Sweet from New Brunswick, Kumamoto from Washington and Nathan Cross from Massachusetts.

The oysters are nowhere near as briny as Sydney Rocks, exhibiting a mellower creamier flavour. The clams are particularly tasty, and the prawns have a delicate sweetness.

prime steak tartare at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Tartare de Boeuf US$18.50
Prime steak tartare with quail egg yolks, confit garlic, caperberries and black pepper lavash

I'm all over the steak tartare, hand chopped and pre-mixed with a tempting array of garnishes that include plump caperberries and tiny pickles. The meat is soft and well-seasoned, and bursting that quail yolk is all kinds of satisfying.

hash of the day at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Haache du Jour US$12.50 with summer truffle US$35 supplement

The hash of the day is pork and Lex makes no hesitation in adding a supplement of summer truffles to his dish. It's a rich and hearty dish that includes fingerling potatoes, roasted vegetables and a fried egg sunny side up. The egg is from a Jidori hen, all the rage in LA restaurants right now because of their darker richer yolks and Japanese lineage.

summer truffle fries at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Summer truffle fries US$18.50

It's a truffle party at table 24 as a huge cone of truffle fries is dispensed as well. There's no mistaking the smell of truffle, but the flavour of summer truffles is noticeably milder compared to their winter cousins. We do like the fries at Bouchon, cut into shoe string size and fried with their skins intact.

croque madame at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Croque Madame US$18.95 with summer truffle US$35 supplement

We all turn to stare at Suze's Croque Madame when it arrives, our eyes drawn to the oozing puddle of mornay sauce that makes it look just like a dripping fried egg. To say this dish was rich would be an understatement. Two hefty slabs of buttery brioche wrapped around ham and gooey cheese engulfed in a rich mornay sauce and creamy egg yolk.

And why stop there when you can add truffles to your fries as well?

Oh boy. It was nice knowing those arteries.

flat iron steak at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Flat iron 9oz steak frites with sauce Bordelaise US$36

My main is the flat iron steak, a 250 gram steak served with your choice of sauce.

medium rare flat iron steak at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Perfect medium rare 

The steak is covered with an impressive duxelle, a layer of finely chopped mushrooms and shallots cooked down in butter. Inside, the steak is cooked to a perfect medium rare. Tender and succulent, it's one of the best steaks I've ever eaten. My accompanying Bordelaise sauce is ridiculously silky, glossy in colour and enriched with marrow.

cherry beignet donut of the day at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Beignets du Jour

By this stage we're all so ridiculously full that we wave away the dessert menu - quelle horreur! - but our charming waiter insists we try the beignets du jour, saying they'll be on the house. Who said spending US$72 on truffle supplements doesn't pay off?

cherry jam filling inside the beignet at bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Cherry jam inside the beignet

The beignets are soft and airy, rolled in fine sugar and plump with a cherry jam filling. Maybe it's the sugar hit that gets us going again, but we find renewed appetite in visiting the Bouchon Bakery downstairs...

Bouchon Bakery

bouchon bakery beverly hills la los angeles
Queue at Bouchon Bakery

Bouchon Bakery is a hive of activity, with a crowd of shoppers clustered around the small pastry counter.

sandwiches and macarons at bouchon bakery beverly hills la los angeles
Sandwiches, macarons and pastries

It's a sugarholic's dream of macarons, pastries and desserts - plus several sandwich options for those that insist.

chicken liver mousse and salmon rilette at bouchon bakery beverly hills la los angeles
Chicken liver mousse US$26 and salmon rilette terrine US$30

You can even buy the chicken liver mousse and salmon rillete terrine to take home.

better nutter cookies at bouchon bakery beverly hills la los angeles
Better nutter cookies US$3.50

Biscuits, pastries and cake jostle for space in the modest display case. It's quite endearing that everything isn't laid out in austere and sterile rows.

bouchon croissants at bouchon bakery beverly hills la los angeles
Bouchon croissants US$3.25 and pastries

I missed out on the croissant in Beverly Hills but I nabbed one later on in our trip in New York City, and can attest it was remarkably flaky and light.

kouign amann at bouchon bakery beverly hills la los angeles
Kouign Amann US$4

I did take a Kouign Amann hostage, releasing it later that day. If you like the crispy caramelised edges of any pastry, this is bliss in every mouthful. It's like the crisp flakiness of a croissant mixed with the buttery caramelisation of a palmier. It's every bit as good as it sounds.

chocolate bouchon at bouchon bakery beverly hills la los angeles
Chocolate bouchon US$2

We also spy the little bouchon chocolate cakes, from which the bakery and bistro take their name. Bouchon means cork, and these brownie-like cakes are named for their resemblance in shape.

vanilla custard beignet at bouchon bakery beverly hills la los angeles
Vanilla custard beignet US$4

There are more beignets too - these ones piped with vanilla bean custard.

cannele and religieuse from bouchon bakery beverly hills la los angeles
Cannele US$4 and Religieuse US$4.50

Our bakery haul was consumed over the next couple of days. The Religieuse was eaten for breakfast one morning, the choux pastry balls filled with creme patissiere. And I savoured the cannele one afternoon, gloriously eggy with a chewy dark brown crust.

kouign amann from bouchon bakery beverly hills la los angeles
Kouign Amann US$4

bouchon bistro beverly hills la los angeles
Bouchon Bistro, Beverly Hills

View Larger Map

Bouchon Bistro and Bakery
235 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, California, USA
Tel: +1 (310) 271 9910

Bouchon Bistro opening hours:
Lunch - Monday to Friday 11.30am-2.30pm
Brunch - Saturday and Sunday 11am-2.30pm
Dinner - Monday to Sunday 5.30pm-10.30pm
Bouchon Bistro on Urbanspoon

Bouchon Bakery opening hours:
Sunday to Thursday 7am-9pm
Friday and Saturday 7am-10pm
Bouchon Bakery on Urbanspoon

>> Read the next USA 2013 post: LA Donuts - Randy's, Bob's and The Donut Man
<< Read the first USA 2013 post: Cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery, NYC

Related Grab Your Fork posts: 

USA 2013
Austin - BBQ tour - Franklin, Ruby's, Green Mesquite, Salt Lick & La Barbecue
Austin - Gourdough's bacon donut, Hoover's, Whole Foods and Biscuits + Groovy
Chicago - Deep pan pizza, Al's #1 Italian beef & Cheesecake Factory
Kansas City - BBQ: Gates, Oklahoma Joes & Arthur Bryant's

LA - Animal Restaurant
LA - Boiling Crab
LA - Bouchon Bistro and Bouchon Bakery
LA - Donut tour of LA's best: Randy's Donuts, Bob's Doughnuts & The Donut Man
LA - In-N-Out, Roscoe's Fried Chicken & Waffles, Kogi food truck & Pink's Hot Dogs
LA - Mexican: Loteria Grill, Tamales Liliana's & El Flamin Taco
New Orleans - Willy Mae's fried chicken, Felix's Oyster Bar & beignet

NYC - Cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery
NYC - Doughnut Plant, Carlo's Bakery, Baohaus, Lobster Joint & Clinton St Bakery
NYC - Jewish food tour: Katz's Deli, Russ & Daughters, knish and bagels
NYC - Momofuku Noodle Bar fried chicken, Ssam Bar & Milk Bar
NYC - Motorino brussels sprout pizza, Best Pizza and Big Gay Ice Cream
NYC - Shake Shack, Tom Colicchio's Craftbar and Union Square Greenmarket
24 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/08/2013 02:24:00 am


  • At 7/08/2013 6:22 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    This was on our to visit list but didn't get the chance :( those beignets look heavenly! And the fries!! Yum! I've only had their pain au chocolat and macarons at their
    Vegas bakery.

  • At 7/08/2013 7:35 am, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    Now that was one very civilised meal. How could anyone say no to truffle supplements!

  • At 7/08/2013 8:38 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    Just amazing at what you guys ordered - good choices. How are those arteries now? ;)

  • At 7/08/2013 9:34 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    OMG - that's not like any brunch I've ever known! Truffle central!

  • At 7/08/2013 10:02 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh la la... hello proper French cuisine! The steak tartare looks a bit "flat" but other than that your meal looks fantastic.

  • At 7/08/2013 10:08 am, Blogger Hannah said…

    In truth, I still don't quite understand North America's conception of brunch. They seem to have missed the breakfast + lunch/mid-morning aspect, and seem to think of it as a ridiculously rich weekend meal with alcohol that can start at 3pm. But hey, who am I to complain?

    Kouign amannnnnn....

  • At 7/08/2013 10:22 am, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    i dont even know where to start with this post! everything is beyond amazing! can you bring everything over here please?

  • At 7/08/2013 12:07 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    oh man those fries. instant feeling of deliciousness and nausea at the same time..

  • At 7/08/2013 12:38 pm, Blogger Jarhead said…

    Why can't brunch menus in Sydney be this decadent/insane - a hash dish with truffles sprinkled on top!! My mind is blown.

  • At 7/08/2013 1:41 pm, Anonymous angela@mykikicake said…

    That brunch looks ever so pleasant. I wish I had known about this place when in LA.

  • At 7/08/2013 1:54 pm, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    Love this place! can't wait to read the rest of your US trip food!

  • At 7/08/2013 2:05 pm, Blogger Jacq said…

    Wow I never knew that brunch was such a big deal in America! Bouchon bakery looks amazing, I think I would go crazy over all the pastries in the store

  • At 7/08/2013 10:15 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    OMG that all looks so amazing!! I want it aaaaaaalll!!!

    xox Sarah

  • At 7/08/2013 11:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    woww this meal looks heavenly!! your photos are fantastic!! :)

  • At 7/09/2013 12:36 am, Anonymous ChopinandMysaucepan said…

    Dear Helen,

    The steak tartare looks good but coming from Sydney, I would give seafood a miss and stuff myself with American beef.

  • At 7/09/2013 8:29 pm, Blogger CQUEK said…

    thanks a lot for sharing, excellent place to dine

  • At 7/09/2013 11:00 pm, Anonymous Christine @ Cooking Crusade said…

    That looks like one heck of an awesome meal! Love the room you were in as well - gorgeous!

  • At 7/10/2013 1:49 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    flip - truffle fries with actual truffles rather than just truffle salt! those look amazing! (as does everything else of course...)

  • At 7/10/2013 1:37 pm, Blogger Felicia @ Next Stop: Food said…

    I'm still very confused how you all manage to fit so much food in one day, and not look like you guys gained anything?!! T^T Please teach me! haha!

    But omg, those better nutter cookies! OMG! my mind is trying to tell me how delicious they are, psh, as if i need my mind to tell me that! :D

    And who can turn down free food when offered, despite being full! MWAHAHA! though, I'm sure it was well worth squeezing it in ;) IT looked awesome and worth while haha!

    - Cassie

  • At 7/10/2013 9:01 pm, Blogger thesuzchef said…

    Fries fries fries - that's all I see & I'm so jealous!
    The meal looks delicious, what a way to say hello to LA!

  • At 7/10/2013 9:57 pm, Anonymous Trent @ Food Assault said…

    Some sensational dishes there and boy was the steak cooked to perfection. The sweets looked like heaven, especially the vanilla custard beignet & chocolate bouchon....yummers!

  • At 7/12/2013 8:10 am, Blogger Amandine said…

    OMG, the fries look amazing! *-*
    I'm from Brittany (the French region where they make Kouign Amann) and I'd never have suspected you could find them in LA!!! Awesome!

  • At 7/12/2013 11:35 am, Blogger Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said…

    Oh my goodness. Now they are the real deal truffle fries!

  • At 7/13/2013 10:10 pm, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    OMG all that micro-planed summer truffle. Oh hello!!


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