Photo by Alen Lin
There's no beating around the bush: Bastide 4.0 is Miss Irene's newest three-and-a-half star restaurant. That's just a half star more than what she gave it when Walter Manzke was at the helm, and a half star shy of what she gave it when Alain Giraud was there. In essence: With Paul Shoemaker (Providence's long-time chef de cuisine) as chef, she thinks it's better than ever. But it's also more accessible than ever with an a la carte tasting menu and new wine bar, a switch from an all-tasting menu concept. Some may call Joe Pytka's ever-changing ways frenetic and antsy; she calls it brilliant:
"As Pytka conceives it, Bastide is not simply a place to eat; it's an ongoing experiment in the restaurant as performance art. It's also possibly the most civilized place to dine in Los Angeles....Every course is surprising and interesting. Shoemaker loves to tuck little flavor bombs in somewhere so you're never bored before you get to the end of the dish. That umeboshi quenelle is just one example. It's impressive, delightful cooking."SIV also waxes poetic on the patio and the wine program, but doesn't say if that horrid checker-board carpeting is still in the dining room. 3.5 stars. Huge. Today the "S." stands for "Shoemaker is no shoemaker." [LAT]
ELSEWHERE: Metromix is at Church & State; Losanjealous tries Bab Jip on La Brea; Lafoodblogging has more on Laurel Tavern; Day 53 for Man Bites World: Bolivian brunch at Beba's in Anaheim; LA.com takes a quick look at LA Food Show; Potatomato at Raku, Grill Lyon's replacement in Little Tokyo.