Morels French Steakhouse and Bistro
189 The Grove Dr (@W Third St)
Los Angeles, CA 90036
For a girl who says she never drives east of the 405, I sure have been getting around the Farmers Market. Could a love affair drive me to such flagrant disregard for a personal driving radius? Such wanton waste of expensive gas? Such burning impetuousness?
Could the possibility of filling a passionate yearning drive me to utterly reckless insanity?!?!
But shopping combined with food sure can.
Clearly, I must have gotten over the parking problem at The Grove and other such surrounding areas, or at least gotten over it enough to allow the combination of shopping and halfway decent food to be a reason to drive 9476 miles from the Westside to 3rd and Fairfax. That, of course, makes no sense because Montana Avenue, Century City, and even 3rd Street Promenade are also combinations of shopping and equally decent, if not better food (if you consider airplane eggs Benedict at Barney’s Beanery “decent,” that is), and are much more easily accessible. Hell, I could just trot a block-and-a-half down the street, snag some fried tofu from Tong Dang Thai and go shopping at Ron Herman in the Brentwood Gardens.
Ooooo. K. Everyone should know that I would never “trot” anywhere.
So basically, it isn’t love, it certainly isn’t lust, and it isn’t the logic of shopping.
I’m just stupid. And in more ways than a dozen.
For a long time, I used to decry French food. Other than French fries, French toast, and French’s fried onions that normal people put into green bean casserole but I eat straight out of the can as if they were onion flavored Cheetos – other than those oh-so-truly French foods – I would clamp my lips shut at any food that was presented to me as “frounsh.” I fell into the trap of stereotyping French food into a narrow, snobby little corner table covered with crepe, truffles, duck and its innards, and melted butter garnished with garden pests and pre-kiss princes.
Well, strip me naked and wrap me up in croissant dough for how very ignorant I was!
While I doubt I will ever be able to appreciate foods like foie gras (or innards of any kind, for that matter) and truffles, I am kind of stupid for ignoring the beautiful diversity of French food. Cassoulet? Bouillabaisse? Brandade de morue?!?! I even cook and eat French food without thinking of their Frenchosity: quiche, Salade Niçoise, soufflé.
Soufflé. Ooh la la. How so very Frounsh.
Soufflé was the star of the lunch table at Morels French Steakhouse and Bistro with The Movie Maker. You know how some people get all starry-eyed and impressed when they meet people who are “in the industry,” as if “the industry” were the only industry that were important in this world? Please. “In the industry” could mean he is Steven Spielberg or it could mean that he makes coffee for the film crew of a porno. Either one, I am unaffected because, as I have said more than once, I am not a big fan of movies. I was affected however, by his suggestion of Morels French Steakhouse and Bistro in The Grove.
Hm. The Grove is the Disneyland of shopping. A restaurant in The Grove is the $27 hotdog stand on Main Street USA. Suggesting a restaurant in The Grove is asking me to schlep all the way to Orange County in my DvF wrap dress and black patent peep-toe stilettos to eat a $27 hotdog aboard a flying elephant. And they have parking shuttles at Disneyland.
Eh, but I gave The Movie Maker the benefit of the doubt because The Grove has Anthropologie, and even though most of Anthropologie's clothes are a little too ruffled and frilly for my taste, I still like to look. If ever you wonder about the potential quality of experience at a restaurant, just think about shopping for clothes and you'll forget. That's so logical.
The atmosphere in the groundfloor bistro is pleasant and casual, particularly with shoppers dining under the canopied patio just so they can wear their oversized sunglasses. However, the restaurant's decor is a little too over the top, trying very hard to "be French." It's the same way The Venetian, Paris, and New York New York in Vegas try to "be Venetian," "be Parisian," and "be New York." It's not enough to merely serve souffles and fondue. They have to make sure you know you're eating French food by throwing Can Can dancers and pictures of the Eiffel Tower on the walls. Gack.
Our server, totally cute, brought us menus
. Of course, I wasn't *ahem* paying attention to anyone but The Movie Maker! I also paid a little bit of attention to the bread on the table, realized that they were all only fair, and moved on to poking through the menu.
Every dietitian says that starting a meal with a liquid will fill you up sooner, and with fewer calories, and therefore, will prevent you from eating too much of more highly caloric foods later. Obviously, French onion soup is a liquid. Obviously, French onion soup is not less caloric. I ordered a very diet-wise cocktail instead! The Kir Royale was delicious. The entire glass I sucked down in 45 seconds was absolutely low calorie delicious! And don't worry, I didn't touch that ever-so-fattening sugared rim.
Morels' menu is totally what you would expect from a French bistro - soups, salads, lots of things with cheese. We ordered to share because just as the dietitian predicted, I was getting full on drinks. The Spinach Salad was decent enough to eat, though the dressing was slightly too acidic. I puckered, and it wasn't sexy.
The souffle was better than the salad. It's a souffle for fox ache, and I have to admit, no matter what it will eventually taste like, I am always impressed by the pouf. Morels' pouf was very high and made me ooh and aah like a tourist from Idaho at the water fountains in front of Bellagio. I am sure that the cooks did some kind of voodoo back in the kitchen, because the souffle never really deflated at the table like most souffles do. It didn't taste bad, but again, if it wasn't voodoo, then the kitchen used a powedered chemical enhancer, because there was an odd, powdery texture to the souffle.
Lunch at Morels wasn't horrible, but I doubt I would ever go back to Morels just to go to Morels. Passable French food isn't that difficult to find in LA. If however, I were to find myself shopping at The Grove around lunch time, Morels is not a bad place to kick back with a Kir Royale.
I said "if" I were to be shopping at The Grove.
What am? Stupid or something?
** a year ago today, i would have danced if you voted for me **