Belle Diner is fantastic, go there. Now. Preferably on a Wednesday.
Earlier this summer, when they first open, I said I wasn’t really sure how well Belle would do, being as there are already established restaurants serving good food in the same genre and price range. I was a little bit wrong. I still contend that Rizzo’s has better food, and for less money to boot, but I wouldn’t count Belle Diner out. We just stopped by and had a fantastic time. I’d like to go ahead and apologize for the photo quality. I’ve been using my Nexus 4, waiting on the Nexus 5 to come out, since my HTC One is up for sale. The N4 camera isn’t the greatest. I have a QX100, but I got sick of waiting on Sony to make me some decent software for it, so I ordered an RX100M2. Point being, the photos don’t really do the place, or the food, justice.
Anyway, I took the day off and my girlfriend and I decided to go walk around and play Ingress. After a couple of hours of walking around pwning noobs, we were famished. I suggested going to Kooky Canuck so I could see my friend Dustin, but Christine wanted to try something new. We were standing right outside of Belle Diner, so why not?
First, I was a big fan of the place when it was Rio Loco, and might have even been a little bitter about it being something other than Rio Loco. When it was Rio Loco though, it was kinda closed off. The first thing the new owners did was open the space up, and it honestly looks MUCH better.
The server came over and let us pick our own table, which is pretty cool to me. I understand how this won’t work on a super busy night, but it’s nice to have a choice when the restaurant is slow.
We picked the second table from the door, and were seated next to an Aussie couple on a roadtrip through the states. They were heading back to LA via I40, a route we frequently take, so the first few minutes of our experience consisted of swapping road trip stories and giving tips to them, very cool.
We got menus and waters, then the server (who was awesome), mentioned they were doing a wine tasting that night, and for $10 (!) you could get 5 glasses of wine. I obviously took them up on this offer.
While we waited for food, the guy doing the wine tasting, Chris, came over and gave me my first glass. He was friendly, knowledgable, and not a douche, which is a pretty rare trait in wine tasting. Even though we looked borderline homeless after wandering around downtown for a couple of hours, he still gave us amazing service and exhibited an intricate knowledge of the product. The server brought out bread, and some cheese and fruit to go with the first wine course.
The smoked cheddar was especially tasty.
Not long after, our entrees came out, I got the roasted chicken with basmati rice.
Christine got the Crab Salad.
Both we great. I didn’t try the crab salad, but my girlfriend totally cleaned her plate, which rarely happens. The Chicken dish was an airline cut chicken breast (airline cut is when they leave the wing attached) with basmati rice and brandy pan jus. The sauce was very thin, but worked very well with the rice. The chicken was perfectly cooked, well seasoned, and moist. I got a pretty good buzz thanks to Chris. and left very happy, armed with a new wine I will buy often.
I think this is going to be my new Wednesday spot. The wine tasting price is fantastic, a great way to start a night out or just a great deal for a nice dinner with wine. If you haven’t checked it out yet, Belle Diner is definitely worth the time.