Bar Bouchon, the petite solo child of Bouchon Restaurant Beverly Hills, recently opened (Dec 18th) amid the quietest weeks of restaurant business.
Whereas the upstairs full fledge restaurant, sporting an entirely different grandiose entrance, is boisterous and ostentatious, the “wine” bar downstairs at , as the barkeep advised, is simple, elegant, and exceedingly French with its layout dominated by the relatively large semi-circular tin bar. Despite it’s outwardly appearance with wine racks masking the full liquor menu, the cocktail menu happily offers some fine libations.
There’s ubiquitous old time sazerac, a mock kir royale, moscow mule, grey hound, etc. Why love this place more than the restaurant? Because it’s a Parisian room, small in stature, cozy, with a nice patio on right outside that could be evocative of the First arrondissement. Unlike another recently ballyhooed gastrobar which just opened, lighting here is soft, but not overtly dim. One can see the drinking companion, and also the blackboards featuring the daily bites.
And here lies the true brilliance of the bar dining. Dishes deemed appropriate from Bouchon Bistro is brought straight down into the Bar. There are charcuterie plates and various levels of fruits de mer, there’s still the pungent escargot, but gone are the mundane steak frites and roasted chicken. Instead, small plates, featuring more rustic items such as rilette, quiche & tartines, are present and center on the new bar menu, all offered at less severe prices. Here, at the Bar, the dinner tab looks more $50, than $100. Here, there is no scene, but mere pleasant banter with the bartender, who is not quite doting, but just perfectly attentive. The Bar’s staff is extracted from the regular Bistro staff, assuring exhausting training and Kellerific standards even in the laxed environs. Here, it could be Yountville. Another story above, it is clearly still Beverly Hills.
235 Canon Dr.