It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon when we found ourselves done with our event and were looking for a comfortable and interesting place for happy hour. Coming from DTLA we decided to go visit La Poubelle, the French translation being “the trash can”. With a name like that, how good could it be? Names aren’t everything, and this place is far from a trash can. It’s a wonderful French-style bistro on Franklin Ave in Hollywood. The interior is quiet with a large wooden bar, French bistro art on the walls. a bartender that is there to serve and offers up great suggestions. I love going to places with character and this place has lots of it. Plenty of people watching to keep us entertained, conversations by Hollywood wannabes name dropping the who’s who of the industry. Girlfriends talking about their latest dating issues and a parade of fashion do’s and don’ts walking by.
To me, these are all the things that make for a great happy hour experience. It’s also one of the reasons that my girlfriend and I like to sit at the bar no matter where we go since it’s where all the action is.
We decided to start off with a Tower Cocktail made from vodka, cucumber, mint, and basil. The nice thing is it’s not very sweet. I like being able to taste all the subtlety of ingredients that blend so nicely to create a most refreshing cocktail. Food starters were, Warm Chicken Confit with pickled onions, herbs on ciabatta, Heirloom Beans – Canelli beans, bacon, celery, and parsley oil and pomme frites. What a way to start off. The chicken confit is a fantastic blend of herbs and lusciously tender chicken that melts in your mouth, the addition of the pickled onions cuts through the fat cleansing your palate just enough to enjoy the richness of the confit. The Heirloom Beans were different in a good way, a nice blend of flavors that featured the beans, I know what a novel concept, while the bacon and celery were welcome accents yet not overpowering. Crisp pommes frites, nothing better, simple and delicious.
So what’s next. Having finished our first round we ordered another and a few more things to go sample. Who can resist Shells & Cheese Gratinee, Short Rib Sliders, and Oysters? The Shells & Cheese are made with a blend of comté and mozzarella in a béchamel sauce, creamy goodness punctuated by the slightly crisp gratiné on top made for a divine experience. The Kumamoto Oysters were fresh and sweet served with mignonette, horseradish, and lemon on the side so you have control over how much you want to mask the flavor of the oysters. Lastly, we had a short rib slider. The presentation was wonderful but the meat was a bit on the bland side, the slaw on top did taste good but I missed the full flavor of the meat that I would normally expect from a braised short rib.
What would happy hour be without dessert and we decided to go for Jacquie’s Crepe with house-made ricotta and strawberry confit? It’s not overly sweet and the smooth texture of the mild ricotta is a welcome change from the normally gritty texture it can have. A nice way to end our afternoon and begin our evening.
La Poubelle is an oasis in the true Parisian tradition. Low key with an unpretentious happy hour that is sure to tantalize the palate. Enjoy it on your own, with a friend or your significant other. It’s sure to go on your list of places you’ll want to revisit many times.