OK, let's get this out of the way: Comme Ça is pronounced sort of like "comb sa." And it means "like that." You know, as in "comme ci, comme ça," "like this, like that."
So now you're probably thinking "like what?" And well, the what of the that is sort of difficult to describe.
Los Angeles-based chef David Myers' Comme Ça is at heart a French bistro, but the wall of windows overlooking the lights of the Strip are very un-French-bistro-like (the view of Paris Las Vegas notwithstanding). And then there's the sleek bar area, and the ambitious cocktail menu with carefully concocted spins on the classics, and our fresh-faced waitress, whose uniform evoked the countryside of not only France but also oh, maybe Iowa.
But two things are very true to Comme Ça's heritage: its menu of simple, mostly rustic French-bistro-style dishes and the correspondingly reasonable prices, at least relatively speaking.
We'll start with the Moules Frites ($26), which we'd expect in any respectable French bistro. Personally, I'm not all that crazy about mussels (although the person who ordered them is), but these were tender and tiny, fairly delicate things, claiming Price Edward Island as their home . They were served in a long, narrow dish, bathed in white wine and sparked with garlic and chorizo. On the side were perfectly crisp fries (the frites), along with a little cup of creamy housemade mayo.
The Scottish salmon ($26) was maybe a little more assertive than I usually like my salmon to be, but the preparation was perfect in that it rested on a bed of beluga lentils generously mixed with chunks of smoky bacon, plus sweet golden raisins and a cipollini onion or two. So there it was, the bacon and raisins and onion and even the earthy lentils providing a counterpoint that very effectively balanced the flavor of the fish.
Braised beef cheeks ($33) were appropriately tender, with a great depth of flavor. Earthy mushrooms and Swiss chard, ethereal whipped potatoes and a velvety sauce Bordelaise completed the plate.
Friends who tried Comme Ça before I did insisted that I had to try the steak tartare ($15) and the duck confit ($14), which were starters. The former was fairly traditional with its confit egg yolk and crisp toast points, with housemade pickled vegetables as a definite plus (especially the onions). The latter was appropriately tender and moist and mellowed with sour cherry jus and a couple of surprises, chunks of vanilla-roasted pumpkin and some pomegranate seeds.
Autumn vegetables ($9) were roasted and about what we expected, although the "fall spices" were not, evoking mostly vanilla, a surprisingly effective touch.
And then there were the beignets au chocolat ($9), which are even harder to describe than Comme Ça itself. Yes, they were sort of delicately crisp, like a standard beignet, but then there was the fact that chocolate oozed out when we cut into them (which, trust me, is a very good thing). Caramelized vanilla ice cream, coffee crunch and caramelized banana slices completed a very decadent picture.
Service throughout was, as I said, quite pleasant; if I could take our server with us from place to place I'd never have a service complaint. But everyone was on point, from the hostess to the bartender to the runners and bussers.
Because, you see, Comme Ça is like that.
Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at 383-0474 or email her at hrinella@ reviewjournal.com.