When I saw the subject line of the email — “BYOB@papilles,” I thought, uh-oh, not another note from a disgruntled guest who found out, too late, that the Hollywood French bistro doesn’t allow outside bottles. I was already drafting my answer when I opened the message.
Wrong -- and happily so. This was a note from the bistro’s PR representative, one Joe Grantham, informing me that Papilles (pronounced pah-PEE) is starting BYOB nights this week. Here's what owner Santos Uy wrote on the restaurant's blog about the new policy:
"When we first opened, we decided to not allow outside bottles. We believe in our wine program, and in supporting artisans making small production, natural wines similar to those found in the proper bistros of Paris. . . We felt that these wines were underrepresented in LA and decided the best thing to do in order to 'spread the good news' about these wines was to not let our guests bring their own bottles. Many of you have embraced our restaurant and our policies and we’re extremely thankful.
It turns out that many of you have the same type of wines in your cellar at home. So we invite you to bring in your prized possessions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and we’ll be happy to open it for you.
If you bring a nice bottle of French wine, we will open it free of charge. Anything outside of France will be $15 to open. (And if you bring in a bottle of crap, we will laugh and scoff at you behind your back). Only 1 bottle per table please!"
You can’t get much fairer than that, considering that the three-course menu is such a bargain for the quality at around $35. I love this modest little French bistro with Tim Carey behind the stoves and owner Santos Uy (founder of Bacaro and Mignon) curating the wine list. Read the Feb. 23 review here.
The new policy satisfies the wine geeks out there who want an excuse to enjoy a special bottle from their cellar or the 2009 cru Beaujolais they just picked up from their local wine shop. And it beefs up the crowd on the slower Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
Papilles, 6221 Franklin Ave. (at Argyle, in strip mall across from Mobil station), Los Angeles, (323) 871-2026, www.papillesla.com.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photos: Papilles. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times.