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Thomas Keller’s Bouchon outpost in Los Angeles is one of my favorite places to go for a special occasion. And listening to people make reservations, it sounds like special occasions are the number one reason to go. Bouchon serves excellent, classic French bistro food in an upscale setting with service that is truly outstanding. But there is a much more casual alternative downstairs, a place where you can get the same high quality, French fare without a reservation: Bar Bouchon. Bar Bouchon is a great place to grab lunch, happy hour snacks or a relaxed dinner – and I will try to stop in when I’m nearby, because the food is delicious. I have to admit my favorite time is afternoon happy hour, when smaller servings (but still plenty filling) are available at very reduced prices (think $4-7). A recent trip to Bar Bouchon netted some delicious eats and, since I had my camera handy, I couldn’t resist sharing what Rob and I ate.
The Truffle Popcorn pictured at the top is a must-try. It is perfectly popped and buttered, topped with crunchy salt and bits of truffle. The flavor is amazing and it is wonderfully addictive. Even if you don’t eat anything else, the popcorn and a drink is a fantastic snack.
There is always a quiche on the menu at the bar. This particular visit, it was a Leek and Gorgonzola Quiche. I don’t typically order quiche when I’m out because, frankly, they’re often disappointing. The one at Bar Bouchon is the exact opposite. It is creamy and rich, but with a light texture that practically melts in your mouth. The crust is exceptionally tender, flaky and buttery, almost like a brioche dough. The leek and gorgonzola were a good combination here, too, making the quiche savory without overwhelming it with blu cheese flavor.
Pulled port sliders were on the happy hour menu, but we opted to go for the full Pulled Pork Sandwich. I’m pretty sure that there were some other descriptors on the menu when we ordered, though we can’t remember them now. The important things are that the pulled pork was perfectly seasoned, the slaw was sweet, the homemade brioche bun was toasted perfectly and the whole combination was mouthwatering. Homemade potato chips were a perfect accompaniment.
And for dessert? The Lemon Parfait sounded like a perfect choice for lemon meringue pie fans. This lovely looking parfait had a shortbread base topped with silky-smooth lemon curd and finished with a billowing layer of marshmallowy Italian meringue. It packed a lot of lemon flavor without being too tart, and like everything else on the menu, it was satisfying without seeming heavy.
Seating is indoors and out in a lovely courtyard. Tables turn quickly, even when it’s crowded, and the charming bar is a good place to meet someone from a drink even if you’re not eating. But seriously, at least try the truffle popcorn if you’re there because you won’t regret it.
235 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210