631 N. La Cienega Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 782-7104

Chef/Owner David Myers
Executive Chef Michael David

I looked forward to enjoying an evening meal at Comme Ca Brasserie in West Hollywood recently, and although it had some highlights, it was a disappointment overall. Quelle Domage.

The attentive hostess greeted Hudson and I warmly - nodding happily when we requested a drink at the bar before being seated at our table. We enjoyed chatting with Eugene who is far more than a bartender or mere mixologist -- more of a true chemist would be an appropriate job title for Eugene. He consulted on our tastes, personality and even tried to approximate a drink I'd enjoyed at an Italian restaurant. My drink was nothing close to what we were attempting, but Eugene is all about experimentation, and I ended up sipping a yummy concoction of frothy egg white and fortified spirits. Tiny, tasty, unique and festive to be sure. Hudson was served a gin Mojito that was lively and refreshing.

We spied the beautiful fresh oysters on the raw bar and I had my mind set on the Moules Frites, but as we were seated and I acquainted myself with the menu, I decided that ordering the Mussels and Fries would be a cop out. We decided t get a carafe of white wine and sparkling water to make some light spritzers in order to compliment the Assiette De Fromages (assortment of 3 cheeses) I was dying to order. Our busboy approached us and muttered quickly and unintelligibly before hurrying away. Then our waiter arrived and upon hearing my order of the House White for our spritzer plan, he stared at me and declared:
Waiter: I don't recommend the Mas De Theyron
Me: Is it dry?
Waiter: Yes.
Me: Is it lacking in fruity overtones?
Waiter: Yes.
Me: We're going to dilute it with sparkling water so it sounds like it will do fine.
Waiter: Really, no. The Mas De Theyron is nothing special It's like it's not there. It is lacking.
Me: You seem to feel strongly.

Hudson who doesn't even like white wine looked on non-plussed.

Waiter: I have several other wines that I would recommend instead.
Me: OK.
Waiter: The Krug is very nice.
Me: That's a sparkling wine isn't it?
Waiter: Oh, yes, it is and very good.
Me: Well, I'm going to add sparkling water to it, so, no.

I glanced at the wine menu and saw that it was only sold by the bottle and was $225. What was wrong with this guy? From the house table white to a freakin' Krug? Come on!

Waiter: I recommend the Domaine Reverdy-Ducroux Sancerre also.
Me: It's a Sancerre, that won't work for dumping water over...
Waiter: For your dilution plan, you would be happy with the Auvigue Pouilly-Fuisse would be the best choice.
Me: Alright, we'll take that.

I was beaten down because I'm A) not a wine snob and B) really wanted to get rid of the waiter so I get on to the cheese.
Note to self: Learn more about wines.

Me: And we'd like the selection of 3 cheeses. Can I select the cheese offerings?
Waiter: Yes, I'll send him over.

"Him" ended up being a happy guy who loved cheese as much as me named Ryan. He eagerly consulted with me on what he had in his cheese case. We agreed on an aged goat cheese that was a bit like a sharp cheddar that he paired with sliced apricot and a sprinkle of cinnamon, a triple creme cow's milk cheese blended with creme fraiche paired with droplets of current reduction and finally a wedge of Roquefort with honey and crystallized bee pollen.

A beautiful taste sensation! I was in love with that cheese plate! Hudson got adventurous and played with the pairings coming up with his own combinations. I dutifully stuck with what Ryan created and enjoyed every bite... although I did ditch the bread and nibble the cheese with my fingers. It wasn't needed.

We had the Butter Lettuce Salad which was delicious, fresh, soft and the tarragon vinaigrette was nice. I detected something like capers in the dressing which gave it a nice 'wang' on my tongue.

The special risotto that was recommended by our waiter was not good. It was a bad gummy consistancy and actually chewy with grains of the Arborrio rice sticking in my teeth like Ju-Ju B's and dirt of grit which alerted me to the sad fact that the mushrooms weren't rinsed or even brushed off. Uck. It could have been passable if it had been seasoned, but it seemed completely devoid of flavoring apart from the mushrooms which made me want to enjoy them in a soup.

Then we had the Salmon Tartar on a disk of potato cake. Another disappointment. The Salmon had no seasoning and would have benefitted from a schmear of cream cheese and a bagel actually. The potato cake was so dense and hard that it was like eating a dog chew or plastic. Bummer.

Finally we stopped after the Duck Confit. It sat forlornly on a sea of spaetzle and was so dry and chewy that it seemed to have been left in a warming oven too long instead of having been rendered in a proper confit. And I was ready to kill for some salt and pepper. What does the chef have against seasoning? I did like the red wine braised cabbage that was nestled on the edge of my plate, which had a hint of flavor, but there was only a thimble sized portion so I ended up offering a strand of cabbage to Hudson with a pleased exclamation, "Hey! Cabbage isn't bad!"

Hudson wasn't surprised at the dinner overall because he'd eaten at Comme Ca recently and had to send the Skate Grenobloise back because it was inedible. He'd joined me so that he could give it another try -- also, he's not hard to please as long as it's healthy and not red meat.

All in all, they must be doing something right because the place was packed by 7:00 PM and crammed with trendy WeHo folks with a healthy showing of bling-encrusted EuroTrash which lent an air of festive coziness. I'll be blogging more about my food philosophy and service preferences soon, but I was really turned off by being told that the House white was"like not there... lacking". If that was his way of upselling to pad the bill, it was off-putting. And if someone is going to make a spritzer, it could be 2 Buck Chuck and it would serve the purpose in my opinion.

Will I return to Comme Ca? You bet! I'll be hanging out with Eugene at the bar and calling Ryan over to bring me more of his lovely cheeses! I'll go elsewhere for dinner.


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