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Figaro's French Food Comes With a Side of French Service

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We sensed we were in for it right away. We'd heard about Los Feliz's Figaro in that "Oh, you haven't been there?" way, and goodness knows we'd been by it a hundred times, taking note of the tres Parisienne sidewalk cafe look. But when we walked in, and were facing a man in waiter's clothing who, instead of greeting, smiling at, or, heck, even talking to us, just sort of stared at us until we provided him with our seating choice (inside or outside), we thought perhaps we were in for it. We chose outside (better for people watching, better to soak up said sidewalk cafe ambiance)--and then the debacle began.

Figaro seems to serve the expected French fare: Croissants, Croque Monsieur, Salade Nicoise, and Quiche. Sometimes they just call the food item by its French name, and that's convincing enough ("Thon" anyone?). They're pricy, too; Sandwiches run $9-15, entrees $10-27, and the desserts--mon dieu!--average $10 a pop. Our tiny wine-glass was filled with some water, and a basket of bread was set before us, and we dove in, excited to sample their organic breads, but not wanting to ruin our impending lunch. The man who seated us was also our waiter--when he served our dining companion his iced tea from a carafe he spilled some into our butter, remarked on his clumsiness, but never took our butter away (that now had a couple of ice cube islands floating in iced tea puddles) to replace it. We knew his leaving the carafe of tea meant most likely he was unlikely to come back for refills (laziness masked as thoughtfulness), and he most certainly did not return ever with more tea, or more water for that matter. Ahhh, but this was just the beginning...

We were excited for the main course, and we were looking forward to what we'd ordered: Quiche with Pommes frites, and Crepes au Poulet with salad. So we were really disappointed when le garcon charmant brought us: Quiche with Salad (small mistake) and Un Sandwich Poulet with Pommes Frites (not a small mistake). Our waiter said "I guess it's apparent I'm not paying attention" (without irony) and whisked both plates away. Some time later he returned with the right dishes, but we were just sort of over the whole experience by now, having realized that their French food was delivered with stereotypical rude and bad French service. The food was passable--French enough in that it was rich and filling. The crepes were a mishmash of heavy flavors, the salad drowning in dressing, the quiche a nice texture but un petit peu boring, and the frites utterly sad and soggy. Dessert was not going to be an option, and we were ready for the bill. Which, of course, was presented without having been adjusted to reflect what we'd actually ordered (tres inattentive, oui?), thereby causing us to have to wait for it to be fixed, with a perfunctory apology. We longed for a sip of water--but our water glass remained empty. We knew the waiter and the bus boy would talk about us, not even behind our backs like we'd caught him doing when we first sat down (we think it was about the table next to us, but we weren't sure where exactly that finger was pointing). We were happy to leave. Our suggestion to you to prevent this from happening: Don't go to Figaro. Comprennez vous?

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Figaro 1802 North Vermont Avenue (323) 662-1587
Photo credit: Seeing Stars

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