Ladies who lunch: On your marks! Bouchon Beverly Hills just opened for lunch. The lighting is oh so flattering. The setting glamorous. And the food? Let's just say Beverly Hills has never experienced French bistro food so impeccably executed. Thomas Keller, the force behind the French Laundry in Napa Valley and Per Se in New York, doesn't fool around.
Like the original Bouchon in Yountville and the one in Las Vegas, the Beverly Hills location was designed by Adam Tihany and captures the essence of a bistro -- yards of shiny brass, graceful potted palms, servers in long white aprons -- without attempting to be an exact copy.
The entrance is grand, up a staircase to the second floor dining room, past an enormous curved zinc bar already populated by regulars sipping Champagne and slurping oysters.
The menu printed on a big sheet of waxy brown paper and folded neatly at each place begins with fruits de mer and caviar. For anyone with a weakness for chilled seafood platters, start saving now. Or maybe you want to save up your dollars for the terrine de foie gras. Other hors d'oeuvres, though, won't necessarily empty your wallet. Most are under $15 for dishes such as crispy beignets of salt cod brandade scattered with fried sage leaves or pork rillettes.