The Dish on Dining
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Whereas you go to Keller’s other restaurants, The French Laundry and Per Se, to be dazzled by modern culinary techniques, the more affordable cuisine at Bouchon is about perfecting classic French dishes—like a This Is Your Life episode of French cooking. The escargots bourguignons remind you of your first daring dining experience as a child. You relive that formative summer internship in Paris with each bite of duck-leg confit. The steak frites are a taste of your counterculture days in the East Village after college while the oyster platter and pan-roasted trout aux amandes are the meal you would have eaten to celebrate getting engaged at the Eiffel Tower. One of the sommeliers roving the room will advise you which wine on the strictly French-American list will pair best with your meal.
And for a more casual dining experience, Bar Bouchon recently opened downstairs from the main restaurant and features a large selection of small plates and by-the-glass wines. 235 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-271-9910; bouchonbistro.com —ERIC ROSEN
Costa Mesa’s AnQi is one of two new additions to the An family’s restaurant dynasty, which includes the beloved Crustacean Beverly Hills. Executive chef Helene An (who is also the great-granddaughter of Tran Luu Hue, the former grand vice consul to the former emperor of Vietnam) has once again pulled out all the stops with new and exotic dishes such as roasted five-spice duck, grilled cilantro prawns and filet mignon drizzled in Thai-chili butter. And devoted Crustacean fans needn’t worry: An’s famous garlic noodles and roasted crab are on this menu, too. Just don’t ask your waiter for a recipe—only family members have access to the private kitchen within the main kitchen in an effort to keep the recipes a closely guarded secret.
For quicker An fare try the new Santa Monica-based TiaTo, the family’s take on healthy, fast-serve dining, slated to debut this month. Open for breakfast and lunch, the casual restaurant offers traditional American-Asian dishes to eat there or take away. AnQi, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, 714-557-7022; TiaTo, 2600 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, 323- 460-2645; houseofan.com
PHOTOGRAPHS BY KAHIKI RUBINO (AGURA); JOE SCHMELZER (THE GORBALS), ALEX J. BERLINER © BERLINER STUDIO/BEIMAGES (BOUCHON INTERIOR); ROBERT OLDING (ROAST CHICKEN)
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.