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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...