Chef Dominique Theval grew up in Paris and apprenticed at Hotel Meurice while still in cooking school, which is a major accomplishment unto itself. I had quite the meal at the Meurice last year, so I knew I'd be in capable hands with Theval. After time in notable Paris kitchens, he cooked in and out of London for years, as well as Bermuda, before eventually following his love and eventual wife to the US, where the two of them went on to start their own place, Dominique's Kitchen in 2012.
The menu at Dominique's Kitchen is actually a large departure from the multi-course, white plated, white gloved affair I experience at the Meurice. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Dominique's is casual and comfortable with plush leather chairs and fun notes of Paris scattered throughout.
The menu has some French staples on it like escargot and homemade pate, but also includes pastas and risottos with a something for everyone listing. What's also refreshing and probably most notable, is that most items on the menu are under $20. Sadly, there are not many places in LA where you can get a quality cooked meal for that price that doesn't include a bloomin' onion.
A great start to our meal was smoked trout rillettes that hit all the right notes, served with crisp green beans and shallots.
The next dish had an interesting blend of ingredients from soft baby calamari to smokey grilled watermelon, spicy arugula, pine nuts, goat cheese and cranberries.
Chef Dominique's take on the salade nicoise included a whole piece of fresh, seared tuna on a bed of organic greens with the other usual suspects of fingerling potatoes, black olives, haricot vert, hard boiled eggs, tomato, and of course some nice salty anchovies.
The chef is also taking note to the curious CA ways and palate and has added a daily gluten free pasta to his menu. We tried a sage and butternut squash ravioli, which was a bit more dense and chewy than it's usual counterpart, but still not too bad if you need to omit gluten from your diet.
Our dessert came out in flames with the classic baked Alaska that I hadn't seen or eaten in years. I remember thinking, how cute and kitchy, I'll just have a bite to be polite, but once I dug into the sweety and tasty treat, I couldn't stop. It was a fun way to end the meal and a lovely little trip down memory lane for me.
Dominique's is a great casual neighborhood restaurant serving up affordable fare in a nice environment. They also have a great happy hour menu on Monday's that they call Ménage à Trois Monday. They offer a nice selection of plates for just $3 - yet another reason to make a trip to the South Bay.