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561 E. Green St. (El Molino Ave.) Send to Phone
Try the lunchtime tasting menu at this handsome restaurant with an open kitchen offering contemporary cuisine.

Lunch & Dinner Mon.-Fri.

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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Bistro Five Sixty-One Restaurant Review

: Operated by the Le Cordon Bleu-affiliated California School of Culinary Arts at its Pasadena facility, this is where Wolfgang Puck and Charlie Trotter wannabes get their first taste of cooking for paying customers. The restaurant is very handsome---nary a trace of an institutional look---with worn brick and mustard-colored walls bedecked with soothing still-lifes and landscapes. An open kitchen---which is also visible from the street through storefront windows---is framed in delicate stained glass. In the kitchen, instructors are assisted by students, while classmates wait the tables. The menu offerings (e.g. bacon-wrapped dates with crème fraîche, duck schnitzel with brandied cherry sauce, grilled ono with lemon-caper sauce) are ambitious but generally well-grounded, and the quality of both food and service has edged higher in the past couple years. The tasting menu at lunch (available Thursday and Friday) is arguably the best way to experience the restaurant. And this is one place where a tip really makes a difference---gratuities go into a scholarship fund.
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