Take a stroll in downtown Hollywood and you’ll breathe in aromas from Turkey, Romania, Thailand, Mexico, the Middle East, Italy, Peru, Greece – the roster of ethnic restaurants on the boulevard just keeps growing. Newcomer Brasserie Chow adds a French accent to the mix. Owner Ramzi Naber’s menu pairs bistro classics like crepes, croque monsieur and escargot with American standards (that’s the Chow part) like filet mignon, sliders and apple pie. There’s live music nightly, and the bartender makes a wicked dirty martini. But it’s a bit early to cheer. The food is up and down like a yo-yo.
Ambiance: The 240-seat restaurant took over the former Universe Café space nearly three months ago, transforming it with higher ceilings, a handsome dark-wood bar, new furniture and vibrant coral walls. The brasserie inherited enviable outdoor seating on the sidewalk and covered patio, and boasts a casual vibe, reasonable prices and earnest servers.
- A starter of foie gras crostini – pan-seared slices of rich goose liver on dollops of delicate, house-made ginger-onion jam top
- A mostly French wine list
- A generous $5 single-cheese plate — goat cheese, Gorgonzola, brie or aged Cheddar with dates, honey walnuts, ginger-onion jam, apple slices and toasts
- Roasted beet salad with quartered red beets artfully arranged with creamy herbed goat cheese and assertive arugula in a tart vinaigrette
- Seafood vol au vent – a puff pastry shell brimming with tender calamari, shrimp and baby scallops served on a plate ringed by clams, mussels and more calamari
- Hot, crunchy and well-seasoned fries
- Beef bourguignon – tender hunks of meat, carrots and baby onions. in a thick wine sauce
- Sweet or savory crepes filled with creamed spinach, mozzarella, onions and a choice of with seafood, eggs or chicken
- A delicious dessert crepe stuffed with bananas, drizzled with warm chocolate syrup and garished with fresh blueberries
What Didn’t Work
- Flavorless potato au gratin
- Plump, but pale pan-seared sea scallops MacKinnon
- Light and flaky, but flavorless vegetarian quiche
- Tasty, but off-temp crème brulee