Thomas Keller's Beverly Hills outpost sits across from the Montage hotel, but its brasserie look is so achieved that you are practically beamed to Paris. Keller, known for his precision, seems liberated by the brasserie style. The boudin noir plays the sweetness of caramelized apples against the airiness of pureed potatoes and the earthiness of plump blood sausage. Gnocchi à la parisienne are flawlessly pan seared. The short ribs are tender, and their homey sauce is as considered as a well-turned epigram.
Best Croque Madame, August 2011
Brioche, ham, cheese, béchamel, egg. If slices of raw yellowtail were included in the ingredients for a classic croque madame sandwich, we would have bowed to the creative version at Hatfield's. The supersize, superrich heart attack-on-bread at Petrossian (of all places) is what we crave the morning after a rough night. But it was the Beverly Hills branch of Bouchon, Thomas Keller's brasserie, that reached the pinnacle of this brunch indulgence. Slices of toasty, inch-thick brioche (80 percent butter!) enfold a delectable pairing of mild French ham and pungent Gruyère cheese crowned by a nearly flawless over-easy egg and a satiny puddle of Mornay sauce. The resulting dish is deceptively quaint. While none of the ingredients dominates, in combination they conquer your day, especially when accompanied by a mimosa and something chocolatey on the sunny patio.