by Jo Stougaard
Pork…. the other white meat. If you enjoy tubed meats as much as I do, then you’ll surely love the Boudin Blanc at Cafe Wa s. Chef Alex Reznik’s plump pork sausage was for me the perfect comfort food. Each bite topped with a dollop of velvety potato purée, with kale and tart red grapes on the side. My husband Peter had the Daube de Bœuf (red wine braised pot-roast) and it was delicious, but this morning I woke up craving a full English breakfast… banger sausages, fried eggs, grilled mushrooms, tomatoes and beans on toast. That’s what Peter and I have every year on Christmas morning. It’s our yearly special celebration breakfast feast. The Boudin Blanc last night tasted like Christmas morning!
Our evening at Cafe Wa s definitely felt special… like Baz Luhrmann and his production designer wife Catherine actually created the whimsical “ooh lala” Moulin Rouge decor. The revolving piano… the staircase to nowhere… and of course the Absinthe bar… bring on the green fairies!
We went with our good friends Tomy, Lacy, Dean & Steph. Our table was directly next to the wonderful (and slowly spinning) piano player. It really made us feel like we were part of something exceptional. Owner Ivan Kane dropped by several times to check on us (he is a friend of Tomy & Lacy), and I noticed that he really made an effort to greet EVERYONE… not just his friends. A very gracious host indeed.
What we all shared: Blinis aux Saumon Fumé (scottish salmon / crème fraiche) $5. Médaillon de Crabe Napoleon (lump crab / heirloom tomatoes / avocado) $15. Pâté de Campagne (country-style paté / cornishons / radishes) $13. Escargots (garlic confit / european butter / pernod) $14. Betterave (roasted beets / goat cheese / arugula / lemon oil) $11. Boudin Blanc (pork sausage / potato purée / red grapes / white kale) $18. Daube de Bœuf (red wine braised pot-roast / potato / red wine jus) $24. Gratin de Macaroni (mac ‘n cheese) $6. Pot de Crème (langues de chat / cardamom banana brulé) $8.
Address: 1521 N. Vine St. in Hollywood (just north of sunset)Hollywood, CA 90028 (323) 466-5400
About the name – from the CafeWas website: Wanting a vintage sign to help the disconnect from the modern structure of the Sunset and Vine building into his bohemian restaurant. Ivan Kane searched through neon junk yards in Vegas, where classic neon signs go to die. One day, there in the distance, the sun reflecting off it, he saw a CAFE – ALWAYS OPEN sign, which lay dented and rusted, beckoning him to plug it in. Once doing so, the CAFE neon illuminated brilliantly, while the ALWAYS OPEN struggled to come to life. Eventually – and intermittently – only the W, A and S in ALWAYS OPEN flickered on, buzzing and faltering every few minutes. It was a marriage made in heaven. Ivan had his sign – and his name. Ivan Kane.s CAFÉ WA S. With the help of a sign maker, the sign was restored and repaired (almost). Ivan Kane’s was riveted on top and piano keys were added to the bottom… but the WA S stayed as it was (excuse the pun). Ivan Kane’s Café Wa s. What was… is!”
Note: Boudin is the French term for the blood sausage, or ‘pudding’, made with the blood of the pig. Boudin blanc is a white sausage made with pork but no blood. Boudin Noir is a dark-hued French blood sausage.