Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Bowery: Impatience is a Virtue

I love New York fare. Simple comfort food like a fatty slice of thin-crust pizza or a giant cup of thin crunchy fries put a smile on my stomach. But my favorite is the NY take on Bistro fare which turns elegant French cooking into a laid-back weeknight dinner.

My stomach’s been pretty impatient lately and, even though I’m jetting off to NYC next month, it’s been craving said Bistro food. So, when Janet let me pick the dinner spot for tonight, I suggested heading out to the Bowery on Sunset. Plus, the weather in LA has been cold, rainy and gloomy lately and isn’t that the best kind of time for Bistro comfort food?

The Bowery is sandwiched between Magnolia and Fabiolus Café and, like its neighbors, is a to-go spot for a lot of Angelinos “in the industry.” And by “in the industry,” I mean people who apparently don’t have to go to work – the place was PACKED when we arrived at 7pm (on a Wednesday!) We were brought to the one single empty table and, though we tried to catch up, we soon gave up trying to fight the battlefield of conversation around us. Having said that though, the Bowery is cute as hell. It definitely looks like some small neighborhood Bistro in Manhattan. Leather sofas and dark wooden tables dot the low-key dining area and a giant chalkboard with the restaurant’s wine selection hangs next to the long bar. Absolutely beautiful. On a side note, the restaurant was extremely dim though and, while I like that atmosphere, it does no good for the photos, especially since I am always too embarrassed to use flash in a restaurant. Oh, life is so difficult.

After a lengthy period of menu-perusal, Nancy and Janet both decided on the Bowery Burger ($9.00) while I opted for the Moules Frites ($12.50), subbing the regular fries for Sweet Potato Fries. My order appeared in the form of a (very) generous serving of steamed mussels, glistening happily in a spicy tomato broth. The broth was great, especially with the large slices of garlic and onions. The mussels were well-cooked – not mushy at all and every mussel was sand-free :) ! The star of the show was the fries though. Even though they weren’t as “sweet” as I would’ve liked (I’ve been spoilt by the sweet potato fries from Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers), they were right on the mark texture-wise. It was really quite amazing – perfectly crunchy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside. The best thing was that they kept their crunchiness right to the end of the meal! I polished off my whole plate of fries. Damn straight, I’m a champion – Nancy and Janet got an order of fries to split and they still had some left over…or maybe I’m just gross. Overall, the moules frites were enjoyable but not absolutely amazing. But considering that it’s only $12.50 for a big fatty bowl of mussels and fries, it’s probably one of best deals in Hollywood.

(Moules - sweet potato - Frites)

Service was spot on. The burger arrived a little too rare for Janet’s taste and the waitress had no problem asking the kitchen to up the fire on her burger. Our server was really attentive and friendly – there’s definitely none of that “I’m-an-aspiring-actor” attitude at the Bowery.

I enjoyed the Bowery and my stomach is happy from the New York-ification. While the Bowery doesn’t make it to my “must-go” list, it’s definitely high up on my “go-to” list.

FOOD: 4/5
SERVICE: 4.5/5

Bowery ($$)
6268 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 465-3400

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