The Historic Hotel Normandie
3606 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Tel: 213.290.0750 (Reservations taken online only)
Fri, 03/13/2015, 8:30pm reservation
|The Exterior: No sign
Le Comptoir, which means counter in French, is a 10-12 seat counter, farm to table conceptual restaurant. Chef Gary Menes takes pride in his restaurant concept. The menu changes regularly depending on what is in season. Menes offers seasonal ingredients, obtaining most of them from his organic farm in Long Beach, CA.
The eatery is small, with only the counter and the kitchen. The open concept is taken literally where everything is out in the open for you to see. Chef Menes, who had stints with Thomas Keller at the French Laundry and Alain Ducasse, offers a 6-course prix fixe menu for $69 with wine pairings at $42. Although it seems fairly reasonable, the fare is heightened with supplemental fees if you want to devour more than beautifully cooked vegetables.
|Chef Gary Menes (Far right) with his sous chefs hard at work
|Amuse Bouche: Crispy rice, carrot, shisito pepper and lemon rind. This a beautifully constructed bite. Great acidity, crunch with a hint of Asian influences.
|HAND CRAFTED ORIGIN COFFEE ($8.00): Must order at the beginning of the meal. Please allow for 15 minutes of brew time. The coffee was not too strong so no need for sugar and cream (they will not provide it).
Overall, Le Comptoir is a vegetarian's dream. Chef Menes provides exceptional vegetables that are straight from his garden. I appreciated that dishes were timed perfectly. The service was a bit blotchy and I felt one of the sous chefs (who acts as both a waiter and busboy) was a bit pushy in terms of supplemental orders and wine pairings. There are two seatings at 6:00pm and 8:30pm. I prefer the later time as you won't feel rushed to leave. The restaurant is not cheap, especially since you would be easily lured into upgrading the dishes with the supplemental fees. Comprehensively, the food is good, Chef Menes is personable and you will feel somewhat healthy for eating your vegetables for the day. On a side note: You can do valet at the hotel if you are unable to find street parking.
Notable dishes: Tomato bisque veloute and sourdough donut