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5 Dudley Ave. (Pacific Ave.) Send to Phone

Dinner Tues.-Sun.

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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED 5 Dudley Ave. Restaurant Review

: There's a lot of talent and energy packed into this compact operation that's essentially a neighborhood restaurant (seating capacity about 40, including a couple of small tables outside). The whole scene is quintessential California complete with palm trees and suntanned skaters. Even so, the atmosphere in the noisy room reminds us of a neighborhood bistro in Paris where a Parisian friend once took us for dinner some years ago. The pale yellow walls are decorated with classy French prints and lithographs. There is no printed menu, only handwritten notes about the day's offerings, which the staff recites at each table. The menu changes weekly and is built on a foundation of two appetizers, two soups, two salads and main courses that include a chicken, a vegetarian, a fish, a pasta and a meat selection, plus any specials. Examples of what you can expect include a lusty French onion soup, chicken crusted in pesto, a crispy fettuccine cake, Florida red snapper, roasted heirloom tomatoes or slowly braised oxtail with foie gras. The young chefs who turn out these dishes in the frenzied open kitchen are skillful and inventive with a good sense of flavors and techniques. Desserts might include a perfectly fine rendition of the requisite crème brûlée or flourless chocolate cake, its moist center filled with whipped cream. The wine list is small, but nicely thought out, including French, Italian and California vintages. Considering the space limitations, reservations are strongly advised.
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