240 S. State College Blvd.
Brea, CA 92821
I was looking for a place to go for dinner on New Year's Eve. I wanted to go to a place I had never been before. I was looking around the internet and stumbled upon La Vie en Rose in Brea. I had been wanting to try this place for years. Since I'm also a big fan of French food, this seemed like the perfect choice. I booked a reservation for 5 people at 7:00 PM a few weeks in advance with no problem.
We arrived at La Vie en Rose and it looked beautiful. The restaurant was built to resemble an old fashioned French farmhouse. The restaurant was elegantly decorated with tons of Christmas decorations. I was a little sad that there wasn't a single "New Year's" decoration though. We arrived about 30 minutes early since there wasn't any traffic. Luckily they were still able to seat us a few minutes after we arrived.
We looked over the menu and saw that they offer both a 3 course Prix Fixe (Price Fixed) menu for $39.75 as well as an a la carte menu. They also have a very reasonably priced wine list. Myself, S and R decided to go with the Prix Fixe meal while V and J ordered a la carte. V ordered one of the nightly specials which was Mahi Mahi covered in an orange beurre blanc sauce (Sorry, can't remember the price). J decided on the Medaillons de Veau Sautés, Sauce Crème aux Cepes (sauteed veal tenderloin $28.75). She also ordered a Soufflé au Grand Marnier ($11.00) at the same time because they need to be ordered 40 minutes in advance.
For the first course of our prix fixe meal, S ordered the caesar salad, R ordered the French onion soup and I ordered the gnocchi with basil and brie cream sauce. I gave my gnocchi to V though because I wasn't that hungry. V said that the gnocchi was pretty good but that it was lacking a little in flavor. J and S also tried the gnocchi and agreed that it didn't taste like much. V put some salt on it and said that it was a little better. She also said that the gnocchi was really light and fluffy. She really liked the consistency. R said that his soup was good but nothing special. He said it's about what he would expect of French onion soup. It wasn't bursting with flavor, he said, but he still enjoyed it. S said about the same thing of her caesar salad.
French Onion Soup
Gnocchi with Basil and Brie Cream Sauce
Next up were our entrees. S and I both ordered the Sautéed Beef Tournedos & Lobster Tail with Béarnaise Sauce. I was really excited because I really like lobster. I decided to take a bite of my lobster first. I tried to gingerly cut a piece off with my steak knife but quickly realized that I was going to have to actually saw through the lobster meat with a lot of force. I looked up and saw S having a hard time cutting through her lobster as well. S looks up and says to me, "This is only the second time I've ever ordered lobster. Is it usually this hard to cut through?" I assured her that it was not. The lobster was extremely overcooked so it was dense, dry and as tough as leather. It was so dry that I tried spreading some butter from the bread basket on to it in hopes that it would make it better. It didn't. I was also disappointed because the menu said "beef tounadoes," as in multiple pieces, but S and I only received one small beef tournado on our plate. The beef was surprisingly hard to cut through as well. However, when we ate the steak it was pretty tender, so that was odd.
R picked the Duck Breast Sauteed with Orange Sauce as his entree choice. He thought the duck was pretty good but felt that the sauce was a little too sweet. J tried his sauce and disagreed. She thought that the sauce wasn't sweet enough. So I guess there must be another category of people that think the sweetness is just right.
V liked her fish but seemed to get sick of the sauce pretty quickly. She said that the fish was moist and tender. About halfway through the dish though, she stopped eating and said she just didn't feel like eating any more of it.
J thought that her veal tenderloin was tender and juicy. she said that the sauce that came on it was also very good. She said that the meal was very much in the traditional French style.
One of the things that I didn't like too much about this place was that every single entree served here comes with the same side dishes. They may or may not change, I'm not sure. On this particular night, the side dishes were potatoes au gratin and sauteed vegetables. Neither one of them were very good. I like it when a restaurant offers side dishes that are unique to each dish. When every dish comes with the same side dishes, it makes me envision a cafeteria style kitchen in the back where someone is just scooping out portions from a large buffet of chafing dishes.
For dessert I chose the chocolate mousse with white chocolate shavings. R decided upon the cheesecake and S chose the creme brulee with fresh berries. I thought the chocolate mousse was pretty good. It was nice and rich and had a velvety consistency. I thought there was a little too much white chocolate on top though so I dumped it out. S said that her creme brulee was good. It came with three blackberries on the bottom of it. R seemed to like his cheesecake as well. The dessert portions were pretty small as well. The creme brulee was probably 3 ounces and R just got a sliver of cheesecake.
Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce
J's souffle came out and looked fantastic. The waiter punched a hole in the top and poured some sauce into it. J really liked her souffle. V tried some of the souffle as well. The portion that she got didn't have any sauce on it so she said it just tasted like hot, whipped egg whites. She got a little more with some sauce and said that it tasted a little better, but was still really eggy.
Overall, I really liked the feel and atmosphere of this place. It has a really warm, inviting feel to it. The owner was seen walking around and greeting people. He even stopped at one table and had a conversation with them in French. The food I had just wasn't that great though. I really want to like this place, because I love French food. I think I'm going to give this place another chance and hope that whatever I order is better than the lobster I had on this occassion.