Here we have a tag-team Dish and Eater's Journal because the restaurant just opened (Dish) and we went (Journal). Slicing two chickens with one knife.
South Pasadena is becoming quite the little Francophile neighborhood. Steven Arroyo's petite 750 ml opened on Monday, just a few steps away from two other French spots, the grab-and-go Nicole's and Bistro de la Gare. We couldn't help but tuck in for a look-see last night. Initial thought? Very cute, small, hope they get permits to seat outside. Great wine list. Good food, a tad overpriced. But we like it. It's one room with about 10 tables and a five-seater bar. Shiny red subway tiles and exposed brick on the walls, those very cool retro light bulbs we're seeing everywhere overhead, tables covered in white linen and brown paper, lots of windows to look at Gold Line trains swooshing by. It's a good vibe, that Arroyo vibe (if you're a fan of Cobras & Matadors, you know what we mean).
On this initial menu, prices range $10 to $18 for apps, $18 to $28 for entrees. The wine list rocks with interesting selections from CA and France, and the prices are great (most glasses under $12). So far, it's a little incongruous: Though incredibly fresh, a mache salad with epoisse cheese and bosc pear was tiny, but the duck confit with frisee was substantial; the rib eye and frites were utterly basic, but the beef shoulder with taleggio pomme fondue was lovely. We hope they add more to the menu, but understand a shorter menu just a few days in lets the staff get their bearings together. Once it all shakes out, 750 ml should be a very promising addition to the leafy suburb. We weren't the only curious ones: We think we spotted S. Irene Virbila dining with hubby and two others. The straight, grayish shoulder-length hair?the stylish glasses?the husband with inevitable wines in tow?yeah, we're pretty sure it was her.
· Plywood Special Report: Steven Arroyo 750ml in SoPas, Church & State Downtown [Eater LA]