Maybe it’s the old Beverly Hills Hotel green palm wallpaper next to the ‘living green’ wall or the classic and eclectic collectible Assouline books that you can peruse while you wait for your table, but this rendition of Bastide seems poised to last. The inviting walled courtyard patio is still there, but seating additions include a cozy private chefs table or a long communal dining table in the front room that feels more like a local neighborhood home, surrounded by books, than a restaurant. Chef Joseph Mahon has worked with Daniel Boulud in NY and David Myers in LA; and he isn’t the least bit intimidated by all the other chef’s incarnations of the eatery from Ludo Lefebvre to Alain Giraurd and Walter Manzke. “I came to Bastide because I wanted to work with Joe Pykta (the owner) and his team. I felt I could make a significant contribution to the overall direction the restaurant. I have followed Bastide through the years and admired all of the previous chefs and there individual talents. It is nice, to be able to contribute what I have to offer to Bastide and that fraternity of chefs.”
Now fully open for dinner, Mahon makes his flaky halibut with ramps and fiddlehead fern or perfect roast chicken with wafer crispy skin topped with prosciutto. Sashimi style yellowtail with fava beans; potato soup with watercress custard and bacon should not be missed – nor should the homemade beignets with crème fraiche vanilla bean sauce for dipping. Or as Chef Chef Mahon will tell you, “It takes some hard work to make a glorified doughnut taste great. The secret is stick to the basics. Use clean fryer oil and the yeast dough has to be made fresh everyday.” Mahon even produces headcheese in house which is the hot dish of the moment. “We brine the heads for 3 hours. Braise in aromatics over night. Then we gently pull away the tender meat from all the cartilage and fat. We season our meat and bind with some reserved cooking liquid. Once we get the right consistency, we roll it, tie it and chill it for 1 day. We serve it sliced with a crispy pig ear salad and whole grain mustard.”
The food is beautifully paired with European favorites and finds by sommelier Dario Dell’Anno such as ‘Whispering Angel’ Rose from Provence and a Ferrari Brut from Italy - and the same family dynasty as the car. We are rooting for this inception of Bastide and hope we don’t see those giant red doors closing again any time soon.