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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Lyon's Back With a Roar In Pasadena

October 09, 1987|RUTH REICHL

Lyon used to be the smallest French restaurant in Los Angeles--a tiny former sushi bar on West 1st Street where chef Matsuno Tadayoshi dazzled his fans. The place was so popular that when the Zagat Guide came out last year, this minuscule establishment was rated among the five most popular restaurants in the city. And then it closed.

Those who were dismayed by the restaurant's demise will be thrilled to learn that it has just reopened in Pasadena at 1065 E. Green St.; (818) 449-4519. And Tadayoshi finally has a little elbow room. The quietly attractive restaurant has an open kitchen (a spotless open kitchen, it might be noted) where the chef and his assistants can be seen making a delicately delicious mussel and saffron soup, tongue in red wine sauce, halibut in white wine. A special prix fixe meal costs $26. It changes nightly, but one night it included a foie gras salad, wonderful onion soup, and duck a l'orange. The food is not wildly innovative, and the wine list needs work, but the place is pretty, the service is lovely and an appealing calm hangs in the air.

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