Restaurants Now: Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles, Le Jardin, Frenchie

If your idea of a perfect summer afternoon is one spent lounging by the pool, spotting celebrities, and eating cheeseburgers, we have the spot for you. But if July’s heat makes you dream of France, apéritifs, and airy, cool-tiled brasseries, we have those, too.
four seasons

Los Angeles: Four Seasons Pool

Lunch by the hotel pool is a California tradition, whether at an umbrella-shaded table, inside a cabana, or just straddling the chaise longue while trying to keep the sunblock and the ketchup from melting into one another. But poolside menus, even at establishments with decent dining rooms, tend to offer the same old things: burgers, club sandwiches, chicken quesadillas, fruit salads…Not the celebrated and celebrity-crowded pool at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles, which reopened in late June after a three-month renovation. The new menu is surprisingly extensive, with its offerings divided into four categories: Indulgence, Comfort, Energy Booster, and Antioxidant (hey, this is L.A.). Okay, yes, the poolside staples are available here, including a truly extraordinary bacon-cheeseburger (Comfort) and a fruit salad composed of three kinds of melon, sundried tomatoes, basil, and feta (Antioxidant). But when's the last time you saw a chaise-lounge menu whose roughly two dozen listings include mahi-mahi tacos, seared halibut with heirloom tomatoes and asparagus, and Indonesian chicken satay? Prices are steep—$22 for the tacos, $24 for the burger—but the food is very good, and, yes, that is Mick Jagger talking on his cell phone over behind the potted palm. (Pool use is restricted to registered guests, but tables in the dining area are open to all.) 300 South Doheny Drive, Los Angeles (310-273-2222) —Colman Andrews

Reims, France: Le Jardin

Enfin! With the opening of Le Jardin at the Les Crayères hotel in Reims, the French brasserie has finally been reborn for the 21st century. All over France, but most egregiously in Paris, the beloved brasserie had been skidding into a sorry mediocrity since the 1980s, when most of them became part of either of two chains—Flo or Frères Blanc—both of which seem to value good accountants more than good cooks. Now, chef Didier Elena, of the hotel’s two-star Les Crayères restaurant (and formerly of Alain Ducasse in New York) has come up with a terrific template for a brasserie revival. In solid brick outbuildings that have been sleekly decorated in a quiet, loft-like industrial style by interior designer Pierre Yves Rochon, Le Jardin features a huge garden terrace, an open kitchen, and a row of large black suspension lamps over a bar with communal seating. The reasonably priced menu—the average check per head runs about $65, about a third of what you’d pay at Les Crayères—features cosmopolitan comfort food. For starters, there’s a refined French take on clam chowder, plus tuna and avocado tartare, langoustine ravioli with lemon thyme, and marinated fresh sardines. Main courses include a first-rate sole meunière, steamed boudin blanc sausage with onion-apple compote, and a terrific crab gratin served in the shell. The best dessert is bread-and-butter pudding with raspberries and fromage blanc ice cream. With a fine selection of wines by the glass, Le Jardin is perfect for anyone visiting the Champagne caves in Reims, easier to do since the new TGV Est line has put the city within 45 minutes of Paris. 7 Avenue du Général Giraud, Reims (03-26-24-90-90) —Alexander Lobrano

Paris: Frenchie

Tucked away in the cobbled, film-set charming Rue du Nil in the Sentier, Paris’s old garment district, chef Gregory Marchand’s terrific modern bistro, Frenchie, is a place I dearly wish I could have kept to myself. But that wouldn’t be fair. Marchand, who cooked at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in London and then at Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern in New York, changes his short menu—two starters, two mains, two desserts—daily, and after a half-dozen meals here, I can say he’s doing some of the best cuisine du marché in town. On my last visit, a steamy night in Paris, a salad of watermelon and pine nuts in a light vinaigrette, sea trout in horseradish sauce, and a perfect cheese plate were a cool way to beat the heat. The meal not only showed off Marchand’s technical skills but let his Anglo-American ambitions shine through. I’m still dreaming about the lamb and chickpea ragout and the rhubarb-lemon verbena panna cotta I had the time before. If this place were within walking distance of my apartment, I might eat there every day. 5 Rue du Nil, 2nd arrondissement, Paris (01-40-39-96-19; —Alexander Lobrano

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