Don't expect a DJ, sparklers and dancing on tables, at least not during meals. Bagatelle LA is putting the food first with Le Cordon Bleu alumnus chef Scott Quinn at the helm.
A rising star in the culinary world hailing from Bouchon Las Vegas, Quinn takes coastal French/Mediterranean fare to a whole new level in this incarnation of New York's famed champagne sprayer.
"They pretty much gave me free reign," says Quinn, regarding the menu he created with the guidance of Chef Romuald Jung, who was hired as Corporate Executive Chef for Bagatelle America in June.
A pungent aroma hits your nose as the waitress delivers a large plate of truffled roasted chicken over Yukon gold potatoes, shallots and button mushrooms all submerged in a sweet truffled sauce. Bagatelle's most prominent dish comes to $27 for one portion, $50 to share.
The odorous truffle is a rare delicacy from southwest France, and the Connecticut native is a huge fan. Quinn uses it "wherever I can stick it in," he says. It's not cheap, but he wants dining at Bagatelle LA to be a special experience.
Without fail, you will eat every last bite if the truffle has anything to do with it, and still dream about it the next day. But maybe that's just me.
Expect sophisticated, rich classics - pickled pork belly in a sauce moutarde ($15) and escargot (burgundy snails) in a tomato confit ($19). It's a French restaurant after all. There is also Scottish salmon tartare ($17), Yellowtail sashimi ($18), and a very tasty beef tartare with quail egg, capers and crispy shallots ($19).
The calamari, Quinn's latest addition to the menu, features grilled squid tossed in a sweet onion sauce and sprinkled with smoked marcona almonds. Somehow, that combination of flavors just makes your taste buds sing.
The food is undeniably good at Bagatelle's first West Coast venue. The atmosphere, however, is reminiscent of the East Coast's bottle-popping brunches.
Loud techno pop is the first thing to hit you upon entering Bagatelle LA, then the stark white interior and chandeliers. It feels rich, and kind of clubby all at once. Sliding glass panels open to sidewalk seating on La Cienega Boulevard, but the locals hang at the bar positioned above the dining area.
"Les Cocktails," ranging from $14 to $17, are creative. "Girl from Lima" is an infused macchu pisco with a passion fruit puree, fresh lemon juice, a dash of mint, topped with jalapeno. It's warm going down.
Whiskey drinkers will likely order the "Lousiane," made with oldoverolt rye whiskey, benedictine, sweet vermouth and an absinthe rinse.
DJs are planned for Wednesday and Saturday nights, and the brunch is launching in the next month, Quinn says. "We want to make it a secondary experience—serve dinner, shut down, then start up again at night," he adds.
After just four weeks, it looks like Bagatelle LA is off to a good start.
755 N. La Cienega Blvd., 310-659-3900
Monday: 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Tuesday – Thursday: 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Friday: 6 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Saturday: 7 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Sunday: 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.