I can’t tell you how shocked I was when my husband told me that after twenty years in the ‘hood, is closing.
While living and working in Manhattan in my 20s and 30s, I “grew up” in saloon/tavern-restaurants. If I wasn’t at Joe Allen’s, I was at Elaine’s… or I stopped in for a late night burger at P.J. Clarke’s (the original) which was just down the block from my apartment. I loved the dark woods and bar atmosphere.
Moving to Los Angeles was a rude awakening. Most restaurants didn’t have “bars” even if they served cocktails and most closed before midnight. And, I just couldn’t get my head around having dinner in a mini-mall. Los Angles was definitely a city that slept.
But, at least there was Joe Allen’s on Third that captured the atmosphere of the NY restaurant and was open late enough to have a nightcap and grab a burger and spinach salad after a show. Until it closed.
Then Pinot Bistro opened in our ‘hood. No, it didn’t serve burgers late at night (it was a member of the Patina Group after all) – in fact, it didn’t even stay open late at night, but that didn’t matter. I fell in love with the restaurant anyway.
It was a “bar/saloon” with a comfy, low-lit dining room filled with old-world charm… little oil paintings, vintage Limoges-type china plates, ironstone tureens and antique lamps all displayed artfully… and it had café (or “bistro”) curtains. I love café curtains in saloons! And Pinot had a real bar separate from the dining room. Dark woods prevailed with tables dressed in white linen and a wonderful black and white tile floor… It was a place where you could actually meet someone for a cocktail or a glass of fine wine after work and not feel compelled to have dinner.
I would have kept going even if the food wasn’t good, but it was… good, hearty, French country fare. There was onion soup au gratinee, escargot (a dish I got often), beef tartar, steamed mussels, and pan-roasted, fried, broiled or baked beef, chicken and fish. Sauces included truffle butter, Bernaise, Bordelaise and brandy au poivre which made me dream of Paris, or the little bistros I loved in Manhattan. Desserts included crepes and profiteroles, and my favorite “French” dessert – a cheese plate.
And, be still my heart, it had a spinach and bacon salad that rivaled Joe Allen’s.
But sadly, like Joe Allen’s, Pinot Bistro is shutting its doors on Sunday. Goodbye old friend. You’ve been a helluva neighbor and I will truly miss you.
I lift a glass of pinot in a fond adieu to your bistro.