ADDRESS: 9575 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035
It was a couple of months ago that my friend Emily mentioned to me that there was a new French restaurant opening up called Bicyclette that she wanted to check out. From what it sounded like, the restaurant was going to have a two-phase opening, with the bistro area downstairs opening first. I think the more traditional fine dining area upstairs is slated to open up sometime this year.
The reservation that we managed to snag on a Thursday night was for 8:00 PM. But even with it being later in the evening, the place was still bustling. The dining room was packed, the bar was full, there was no doubt that the restaurant was definitely popular. We got shown to the only open two-top in the dining room and began taking a look over the menu.
A couple of weeks prior to the visit to Bicyclette, I had eaten a beef bourguignon dish at another restaurant that ended up being very lackluster. So I was definitely looking forward to having this meal redeem that dining experience. When I saw beef bourguignon on the menu, I quickly made that suggestion for our order. We also settled on two appetizers to start things off: French Baguette with Normandy Butter and Steak Tartare. For our other entrée, the Maine Sea Scallops caught our eye as well.
I’ve always been a fan of the open kitchen layout, especially since that lets the smell of the food waft through the entire dining area. The one thing that I did notice, however, was that the bright lights from the kitchen did wash out some of the warm lighting of the dining area if you were seated closer to the kitchen pass. But I wouldn’t say that really detracted from the atmosphere, and the restaurant is certainly making the best of the space they have available.
Our French baguette arrived to the table first, served with a sizeable mound of Normandy butter. I tell you what though, even with something as simple as bread and butter, it really can’t be beat. The fresh baguette slice coupled with the creamy texture and slightly sour taste of the Normandy butter made it hard to stop eating. I legitimately had to resist the urge to just use the knife and take a large chunk of that butter to put on top of my piece of baguette.
The steak tartare came to the table about halfway into us digging into the bread. I thought it was an interesting and creative presentation, with large potato chips wedged vertically into the tartare mound. The steak tartare was diced up well, with the texture leaning towards the softer side and not being too chewy. But that’s where the potato chip came in: if you scooped some tartare up onto it, you could get a nice crunch to contrast with the soft texture of the steak. That hit of salt from the potato chip also complemented the other savory, umami, and slightly tangy notes from the tartare, too.
It’s true that entrée plating, especially at French restaurants, can really be a work of art. And the plating game at Bicyclette did not disappoint. Our sea scallop dish primarily leaned towards the lighter colors, with green and light pink contrast notes. The cauliflower purée was also piped into a ring around the center of the dish, which helped to encapsulate everything neatly.
But those sea scallops were absolutely phenomenal. Cooked with brown butter, the scallops were perfectly seared and had such a smooth texture when you ate it that it almost felt like it melted in your mouth. The scallop was also so soft that you could easily take a fork to it and separate a bite-sized chunk. It made me really sad that there were only three in an order, but that meant I needed to savor every single bite. It definitely ended up being my favorite dish of the night.
The beef bourguignon was definitely redeemed from my previous experience, in all regards. The short rib rested on a bed of baby carrots, mushrooms, and Nueske’s bacon. A rich sauce packed with umami, likely made from the braising liquid for the beef, was held in the middle of the plate by the potato spinach mousseline that formed a ring in the center of the plate. The beef itself was tender enough that you could take a fork to it and cut it, while having no bones in the short rib also made it a lot easier to eat as well. The combination of the beef and bacon, however, definitely makes it a very rich dish indeed.
We decided to end the meal with a slice of the seasonal apple almond tart. It had a nice buttery shell, with good apple flavor throughout the tart itself. There was also raspberry in the filling to help provide, for lack of a better term, a tart contrast to the tart itself. It was a nice light and sweet ending to the meal after going through quite a few savory dishes.
After that meal, it’s easy to see why the place was still packed even when we were leaving around 9:30PM. The quality of the food was amazing, and each plate was impressive from start to finish during the meal. I enjoyed the casual ambiance of the place, as it did feel like a spot you could stop by during a weeknight and just relax, or if you wanted to do a date night (like we did). Reservations are a must, as this place is really popular and I think will continue to be. But I would definitely like to take another return trip here when another opportunity arises.
Let’s now take a look at the Bicyclette Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes. (Photo credit goes to Emily for the steak tartare, sea scallops, and beef bourguignon dishes.)
** French Baguette **
Served with Rodolphe Le Meunier Normandy butter and a pinch of sea salt.
** Steak Tartare **
Finely minced steak tartare, served with large potato chips.
** Beef Short Rib à la Bourguignonne **
Braised beef short rib, served on a bed of Nueske’s bacon, baby carrots, and mushrooms, with potato spinach mousseline.
** Maine Sea Scallop à la Grenobloise **
Maine sea scallops seared in brown butter, with lemon and cauliflower purée.
** Apple Almond Tart **
Seasonal tart with apple, raspberries, and crumb topping.
And finally, here are my rankings for Bicyclette:
Food: 5 / 5
The food didn’t miss a beat, from start to finish. The flavors were layered and complemented each other really well, and the freshness of the ingredients were allowed to take center stage. (I still reminisce about that sea scallop dish from time to time.) Portion sizes were just right for a satisfying meal, even after a total of five plates.
Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5
The inside of the place definitely felt homey and welcoming. Warm ambient lighting and a good crowd of people in the restaurant helped contribute to that bustling environment, while still feeling relaxed.
Service: 4.5 / 5
Our waitress was very kind and welcoming to us, and helped to answer a few questions that we had on the menu. The kitchen also did a nice job with pacing out the food for the meal, as it really felt like a good natural progression between the courses.
Price: 4.5 / 5
French food is inherently going to be a bit pricier, but I thought that all things considered, it was very reasonable, especially considering that the place is located in the Beverly Hills neighborhood.
18.5 / 20
Categories: California, Restaurants
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