While I haven’t been a vegetarian for many years, I was intrigued by the prospect of eating at a Michelin star vegetarian restaurant. The restaurant is located inside the historic Hotel Normandie. Chef Gary Menes brings his vegetable forward menu to a level that could make any carnivore decide to be a vegetarian.
With days to dine limited to Thurs, Friday and Saturday and a very small 10 seat counter, making reservations long in advance is necessary.
Le Comptoir in Los Angeles offered a seasonal menu that is vegetarian with the option of lobster in course 4 and wagyu beef in course 7. The menu is a bit crumpled from being in my purse, but the meal was anything but crumpled.
My husband recently returned to being a vegetarian and we found the optional menu to be intriguing and appealing for both of us.
We waited in the lobby of the Hotel Normandie until we were taken up a narrow set up stairs to the small restaurant. Once inside we realized there was only counter seating and we were taken to the end of the counter area, which turned out to be the best seats as we were able to watch all of the food prepared and plated.
The team that Chef Menes has put together are from different backgrounds. One hard working man even owns his own burrito truck and when he closes in the afternoon, he heads to Le Comptoir to be part of the team!
Each course is meticulously put together by two or three team members moving in an assembly line.
I have to say that at first I was hesitant to try a vegetarian forward menu. But it turned out to be one of the best meals we’ve had in LA in a very long time.
I ordered the three optional menu items. Butter poached lobster with leek fondue, hand cut pasta with white truffles, and the American wagyu with radicchio and red wine jus. Funny enough, of the three, it was the vegetarian hand cut pasta that was my favorite! Of course, you can never ever go wrong with truffles!
It was an exceptional meal, albeit the ambience left a bit to be desired. Things I’d suggest for improving the Michelin experience – more comfortable stools with a back to lean on. A place to put purses such as hooks under the counter. And for me, if we aren’t going to use washable cloth napkins, could we please have a better quality paper one?
You might wonder why there isn’t a picture of dessert. Truth is, when that lovely donut hole with chocolate and coconut crème Chantilly was placed in front of me, I totally forgot to take a picture and ate the entire thing! It was absolutely delicious!
We enjoyed our dinner at Le Comptoir and especially enjoyed the counter experience of watching the team create the plates and Chef Menes cooking in the small but very organized kitchen.