Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: Madame Chou Chou

I walked down the crowded streets of Santa Monica, staring at the span of deep blue ocean to my right. Being a mere 13 miles away from Los Angeles, Santa Monica is a frequent destination for a one-day weekend getaway.

This past weekend also coincided with the start of Dine LA, a time when poor starving college students can indulge in extravagance. Don't have $60 to fork over for a meal at Fogo de Chao? That's okay - just go to Fogo de Chao at lunch during dineLA week and you can experience the all-you-can-eat Brazilian barbecue goodness for only $28!

Somehow, we wound up inside Madame Chou Chou.

"That sounds like the name of a fluffy pint-sized dog," I said, skeptically.

Skepticism aside, the restaurant exceeded my expectations. It's small, dark and cozy, much like the cafes that line the streets of Paris. Which really didn't matter because I opted to sit outside under patio, the rays of the sun showering me with warmth. Aside from a minor mix-up of orders, the waiters and waitresses were extremely attentive and friendly.

The Boy ordered the roasted beet napoleon for his appetizer, which was strange because he doesn't believe in vegetables. Or beets. Meanwhile, I was drooling over the display of color in his appetizer (it also tasted amazing).

I ordered the lentils Moroccan salad, which was decently good and very chewy. For me, the roasted beet napoleon still wins, hands down.

Our entree, the flank steak, was cooked to perfection. The steak was melt-in-your-mouth tender though the flavoring seemed a little bland to me, though I have no doubts that it was a perfectly cooked steak.

Our other entree was parpadelle carbonara. Let me say first that I'm not a carbonara connoisseur because in my mind, all carbonara tastes the same. The Boy loved this dish, but I'm guessing that it's because carbonara features bacon strips. This isn't a dish that I would normally order at a high end restaurant though it was visually appealing.

We ordered a spicy chocolate and mango pie, which was recommended by the owner of Madame Chou Chou. It was an eclectic combination that grew on us.

My favorite was the strawberry tarte with green tea custard (because I am a sucker for custard, green tea and strawberries). The only qualm I have with this dessert was that it was too small. Despite the I tried to eat the tarte slowly and savor the decadence within, my plate was empty in no time.

Aside from the fact that the prices at Madame Chou Chou are somewhat out of the "affordable dining" range for the poor, starving college students, its ambience, food, and hospitality makes it a restaurant worth another visit. Or maybe two.

2518 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405

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