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Sit, Rover

Studio City cafe offers sunny seating for you and your pet --if it's not too beastly.


Proprietor JB Torchon has opened up the front of his Cafe Saint Michel in Studio City so that people with pets can sit at a table on the sidewalk to enjoy the good weather of springtime in the San Fernando Valley, just like people do in France, with or without pets.

Your pet doesn't have to be a dog, but it does have to be well mannered, under control and unobjectionable to others.

Open five months, Cafe Saint Michel now offers a bistro plate with such fare as grilled salmon, grilled lamb or mussels. Portions are big, with a ring of vegetables around the edge of the plate.

In keeping with French practice, Torchon posts his specials on a mirror. His regular menu offers such things as chicken ravioli with a tomato tarragon sauce, smoked salmon on spaghettini with ginger and scallions, and a tenderloin of pork on cabbage with a sauce of teriyaki and mustard seeds.

Prices are $8.95 to $11.95, as a rule.

Torchon was born in Haiti, grew up in France and worked with Patrick Terail at the famous Ma Maison on Melrose Avenue in years past.

Cafe Saint Michel is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. It is located at 11929 Ventura Blvd. (818) 761-9800.


Cafe Sierra in the Universal City Hilton and Towers has a new Mediterranean buffet Saturday nights--a groaning board of dishes reflecting the many cuisines of the south of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

The range of fare includes myriad seafood and shellfish cooked with garlic, spices, olives, chickpeas and even sesame purees. The restaurant also offers a wide variety of breads including olive sourdough rolls, pita, and focaccia with garlic and rosemary.

Salad and appetizer lovers will find marinated and grilled vegetables including a concoction of eggplant, sweet red peppers, and zucchini, a Moroccan lemon salad, a carrot and feta salad, and the classic Greek dish dolmas--grape leaves stuffed with rice, ground meat, onions and spices.

Desserts, meanwhile, include tiramisu, baklava, a cheesecake made with Italian mascarpone, and the classic French delicacy, pears poached in port.

Executive chef Mark Kohn serves the Mediterranean buffet from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Saturdays. The price is $17.95 per person, but that includes parking--otherwise an expensive item in the neighborhood. On Friday nights, the restaurant offers a seafood buffet for $19.95, also including parking.

Cafe Sierra, Universal City Hilton and Towers, (818) 509-2030.

* Juan Hovey writes about the restaurant scene in the San Fernando Valley and outlying points. Call (805) 492-7909; fax (805) 492-5139; or e-mail

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