by Atlas Novak

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Having dinner with your friend is always a fun experience. You go out, talk, eat, and go home having had your fill in conversation and food. Having dinner at “the friend,” however, is an experience all its own.
I’m talking of course about L’Ami (French for “the friend”) in Brentwood. Sitting across from the Brentwood Country Mart on 26th and San Vicente, the popular restaurant is nestled underneath a wall of vines. Valet parking is offered at L’Ami, which, although nice, was not necessary, as I was able to find a space further up the block at a parking meter, which was turned off for the day.
Upon entering the restaurant, the atmosphere enveloped the senses. The lights hung on the sides and semi-open roof conveyed a sense of being outside, despite not being so.
A very friendly and animated waiter, boasting a French-like accent, who took our orders with gusto, approached my friend and me. While a college student, I took French as part of my general requirements. I was slightly disappointed upon ordering in French, the waiter admitted that he did not speak the language. Granted, that’s not something that someone in Los Angeles is going to come across often, but it would have been neat if my order in a French restaurant could have in French. However, that didn’t detract from the fact that the food was fantastic.

Me with my ribeye, my friend with his dayboat scallops, sat in awe for a moment at the plates as they were placed on our table. The dishes were beautiful. The steak was immaculate. The green beans and potatoes were arranged to form a perfect trinity of colors. The scallops, meanwhile, were perfectly round and seared, with Carmen-Miranda-like hats, their toppings in a nice ‘whipped-cream looking’ shape.
Upon biting into my steak (or “un bifteck,” if you want to really get French with it) I was delighted at the render, with the complimenting vegetables playing their part, providing different textures to the dish as a whole.

Meanwhile, my friend’s scallops also starred. According to him, “They have a very nuanced taste. The toppings provide a compliment to the texture. The scallops themselves melt in your mouth, as they should.” I was able to sneak a bite when he wasn’t looking, and I am inclined to agree with him. If anyone’s ever experienced the jealousy of your friend’s dish being better than yours, then it’s easy to understand my envy of those scallops.
Lastly, we moved onto dessert. I got crème brulée, the crust was a little thick for my liking, but ultimately it was creamy and melted in my mouth.

Overall, L’Ami is a great restaurant to visit if you want to experience a night sky in the summer when the sun hasn’t gone down at 8 p.m. and the food is made with care and expert precision. Entrees rest in the $30 and above price range, with a 3-course prix-fixe menu available Thursday – Sunday evenings at $49. L’Ami offers Happy Hour from 5.30 p.m – 7 p.m. daily, as well as a Kids Menu and Weekend Brunch.
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