For those of you who have followed Gary Menes' traveling restaurant Le Comptoir, most recently at Fred Eric's downtown Tiara Cafe, you will want to enter another location into your phone -- and itinerary. Beginning Sept. 10, Le Comptoir will be popping up at the downtown wine bar Mignon. Because Menes likes downtown. Because Menes and Mignon's owner became friends during the Tiara run. And because Mignon has a counter -- and since Le Comptoir means "the counter" in French, the project kind of requires a counter.
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This incarnation of Le Comptoir will be for two days a week -- Mondays and Tuesdays -- and will run for about two months, maybe longer depending on how things go. As before, there will be two dinner seatings, at 6 and 8 p.m., and dinner will encompass five courses for $52. Look for vegetable-centric dishes and lovely wine pairings. The counter in question seats 16, but Menes says he'll seat 12 at a time. Make reservations through Le Comptoir's website.
"This is real garage cooking," the chef says about the current iteration. "I don't have the luxury of a lot of equipment; it's really going to test us." Menes said this with tangible excitement rather than concern, having just spent the afternoon out foraging. For a chef whose idea of fun is finding greenery in the San Gabriel foothills and hauling farmers market produce up from his home in Long Beach, setting up shop at a downtown wine bar is just another chance to improvise. As for what's up next, Menes says he has more projects upcoming -- about which more later. In this current era of moveable feasts, you just have to keep checking in, don't you.
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