Los Angeles is at the moment blessed with a handful of fantasy bistros, places that could hold their own in bistro-sated New York or even Paris, like Anisette, Lou, Comme Ça and Church & State, which are redefining the form. And then there are the regular L.A. bistros, the dining rooms we fall into for an omelette at lunch or a big salad for dinner, pretty good terrines and rillettes made on the premises, and the usual rations of négociant Bordeaux, cheesy onion soup and roast chicken.
Le Saint Amour, named after the mediocre but evocatively dubbed Beaujolais cru, is a big, handsome place, a tall, narrow dining room running street to street in the restaurant-row area of downtown Culver City, with wisecracking waiters, ranks of outdoor tables, and an air of cheerful Parisian diffidence that is hard to manufacture. The charcuterie-intensive menu of blood sausage, snout salad, tripe sausage, Toulouse sausage with lentils, and merguez with carrots makes sense, as the chef/owner is the sausage-maker Bruno Herve-Commereuc — best known from his years at the downtown bistro Angelique — who has always had a meaty outlook on cuisine. Sometimes you’re in the mood for an exquisite, deconstructed choucroute, but perhaps more often it’s going to be a quick plate of steak-frites before the movie. Le Saint Amour is a decidedly useful bistro.
Le Saint Amour, 9725 Culver Blvd., Culver City, (310) 842-8155, www.lesaintamour.com.