Cafe Birdie in Highland Park, CA
Updated: Jun 25, 2019
Last Friday night was my bimonthly dinner with my good friend Guy. We try to get together every month but due to schedules and life in general its closer to every three. No matter how much time lapses we always share good food and have a great time. When trying to figure out where to go, he found and forwarded me an article from LA Eater about a new place opening in Highland Park.. Done and done!
As I walked in the front door it was an obviously 1920s french bistro feel. Although a bit noisy, it is quite warm and inviting. At night, it was very dimly lit. For those of you who can't read a menu without glasses like me, you'll need them. Overall, a very nice ambiance. The outside patio where we sat had candle light. It was beautiful.
Since it was a new opening, I made reservations to play it safe. I'm glad I did. We were seated right away and a server greated us within a few minutes. He went over both the cocktail menu and the bistro menu in detail. We asked for his recommendations and suggested 2 dishes per person if we were hungry. We asked for a few more minutes to mull over the menu.
Lets start with the cocktails. Everything is handcrafted in house. All the juices are fresh pressed at the restaurant by professional mixologists. Normally, when I hear mixologist, I look for the $15 a drink price tag. Not here. The cocktails are reasonably priced between $10 and $12 and are a good poor. I, of course, chose the trouble maker. Actually, I choice it twice. A delightful combination of Gin, grapefruit, simple syrup and bitters. Perfect summer cocktail.
Now, for the food. The one page menu is split into 4 sections. Toasts, Salads, Plates and Pasta & Risotto. We ordered a plate from each section. Steak Tartar, Autumn Salad, Moroccan Chicken and the Pork Cheeks Ragu.
Steak Tatar "Toast" - The Steak Tatar was good. The toasted baguette was a bit chewy, but crisp and good. However, the combination of the two was difficult to eat and didn't seem dance together harmoniously. We both felt it should have been on a crisper thinner toast. 3 stars
The Autumn Salad- As this blog ages, you'll find that I don't like fruit in my food. I love fruit, but on its own. Occasionally in desserts, but not in my food. This salad was the exception. Containing, figs, pears and dates, this salad was light and delightful. I want more. 5 stars
Moroccan Chicken - There are 4 chicken strip like pieces on the plate along with a Moroccan type dipping sauce. The chicken strips were excellent. Tender but super crisp. The dipping sauce was kinda thick and really not easy to dip the chicken in. The chicken gets 5 stars, but the dipping sauce only gets 3 stars.
Pork cheek Ragu - I love me a fresh pasta and I was so excited to read that this pasta is made in house. Unfortunately, it was just OK. It was a bit too thick and the texture was slightly off. However, the Ragu was delicious . And I loved that the pasta wasn't over sauced. 4 stars.
Overall, we very much enjoyed the night. The food service was a bit slow, but that's to be expected with a new opening. The ambiance was perfect. The food was good. This is a great place for a date, dinner with a friend or a celebration.
After dinner we wandered next door into the newly refurbished Highland Park bowling alley. We were too full from dinner to order one of their famous pizza's, but not too full for a dirty martini. 5 stars.