June 22, 2007

Bistro Beaux [Torrance]

We came here with my SO's parents, so my foremost criteria in restaurant choice was one that could accommodate both conservative and bolder tastes. I figured that Bistro Beaux' selection of familiar pastas, risottos, and Italian items would make the fusion restaurant appear more approachable for the timid. Our bill for five came out to be a little over $100 [we had leftovers].

The Baked Eryngil Mushroom with Sea Urchin came with King Oyster mushrooms, which were deeply fragrant and perfumed every bite with notes of vanilla bean and butter. While our waitress gave a less-than-flattering description of the gratin as "cubes of bread in a Gorgonzola sauce," our mouths watered at the delicate flavor, smooth creaminess, and crunchy baguette slices. We found the Seared Albacore Sashimi under-seasoned, though it was served with some good vinegared onions.

We ended up ordering three pastas, which allowed us to assess the kitchen's range. There were three different sauce bases, flavors, and proteins across our creamy-sweet Crab Mayonnaise, traditional meat sauce (not pictured), and spicy Mediterranean spaghetti dishes.

Each person at the table had their own favorite with mine being the Spicy Scallop Spaghetti from the special menu. The very light olive oil sauce got most of its flavor from generous slices of garlic [the precise knife work on the garlic was very impressive] and dried pepper pods. Across the board, the spaghetti noodles could have been thinner. We also tried the Salmon Cheese Risotto, which took 20 minutes to prepare and was our least favorite dish.

For dessert we had the forgettable Tiramisu (available Fridays only) and the Catarana, which can best be described as a frozen custard with the velvety texture of cheesecake and creme brulee top. It was unique and I can't say I've ever had anything quite like it.

Despite its C-grade from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, Bistro Beaux is a restaurant we look forward to coming back to. The menu is large, the choices are diverse, and the full bar keeps the restaurant open till 1am.

Disclaimer: There is nothing bistro-like about Bistro Beaux, which resembles an industrial warehouse, complete with security grates, sheet metal, and chain-link fences.

Food update July 29, 2007

Ume is an acquired taste, but if you're unaccustomed like we were were, your mouth will pucker at its sourness and then cringe at the salt. The daikon itself is similar to jicama, but while the Ume Daikon received rave reviews on Yelp, its "uniqueness" was far beyond the comprehension of my palate. The Chili Bamboo Shoots were an excellent okazu (side dish) from the special menu.

I stand by my claim that anything with mushrooms on the menu is excellent at Bistro Beaux with the Scrambled Eggs and Mushroom being no exception. As humble as it may be, the eggs were incredibly moist with the soft curds intermingling perfectly with the chewy button and king trumpet mushrooms. The scents released into ours mouths were mesmerizing.

Our spaghettis were less successful this time with uneven execution across the three varieties. Some of the dishes were too oily, others too buttery, and the pasta not cooked al dente. The Seafood Spaghetti with tomato sauce was the only winner, piled high with sweet shrimp, calamari, and clams. The Carbonara was tossed with fatty bacon pieces and the Mentaiko (pollack roe) Spaghetti with Mushrooms tasted stale.

Dinner was a steal with three small dishes and three spaghetti plates coming only to $8.60 for each of our five table members.

Bistro Beaux
21605 S. Western Ave, Ste. A
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 320-5820

Try: anything with the mushrooms in it, Crab Mayo Spaghetti, Catarana, Bolognese, Spicy Scallop Spaghetti
Skip: Pollack Roe Spaghetti, Ume Daikon, gratins, Carbonara

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