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First Impressions

No Frills, No Thrills

February 19, 1988|RUTH REICHL

Reading about restaurants in Europe these days is depressing. A recent article in a Paris magazine, for instance, tells you where to get simple little bistro dinners for the "bargain" price of $40 a person.

But if food on the far side of the Atlantic is getting more expensive, quite the opposite seems to be happening here. A wave of recent restaurants offers the opportunity to eat trendy food in pretty places at remarkably reasonable prices.

Mark's, 861 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, (213) 652-5252, is the latest of the genre. The ambiance is attractive--all white, with low lights and art on the walls. There's a heated patio out front overlooking lovely La Cienega. The menu is eclectic: a pinch of pizza (with toppings like shrimp and goat cheese), a touch of Thai, a soupcon of Southwest with a dash of good ol' Americana thrown in for good measure. The service is pleasant. There's even a decent little list of beers and wines.

At the moment the food is not thrilling, but a lot of people won't care. Many dishes are in the $6-$9 range, and if you choose carefully you can have a glass of wine and still get out the door for about $12 a person.

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