BOUCHON: the best/most consistently great Bistro food in America, as well as the most beautiful dining room in Los Angeles and the most amazing restaurant kitchen (and bakery!) — anywhere.

I have had the onion soup over 5 DOZEN times — and every time it has been perfect.  I have had the ROAST CHICKEN over 3 DOZEN times — always perfect.  I have eaten more than THREE THOUSAND fries — and I can tell you, they are better than McD, by far, in every way.  Thomas Keller has applied his art of food perfection to Bistro food, and the results are stunning — worth going for the bread (baked on site at the Los Angeles restaurant) and butter alone.

The dining room at the Los Angeles location, in Beverly Hills, is the most beautiful room in the city — I went with friends for lunch on a rainy winter day a year or two ago — we got there at noon and stayed till five — felt like we were in Paris.  The last room this beautiful in Los Angeles was Le Orangerie on La Cienega (which is now a Nobu).

One example:  The Roast Chicken.  Chef Keller, a few years ago, took a group of us into the kitchen and showed us the technique he created to make this deceptively simple dish.  The dark meat and light meat sections and cooked for period of time together, but finished separately to ensure that neither the light nor dark is over or under cooked (which frequently happens when an entire chicken is cooked at once).  You might be able to find this technique in the Bouchon Cookbook.  Once you have a roast chicken cooked this way, it is nearly impossible to eat a Bistro style roast chicken cooked any other way.

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