Unlike many restaurants / bars, Happy Hour at Comme Ca means cocktails and food from a special menu (vs. discounted prices for existing items), plus deals on alcoholic beverages. So first things first: Though the food menu had us salivating, there were only three cocktails on the HH drink list. Vodka Rose, El Diablo and Copper Fix ($6 each) - unfortunately, none of them really excited us - so defeating the whole purpose of Happy Hour for us in this arena (saving $$$) - we decided to go with more creative sounding drinks from the "18A" Cocktail menu instead. Totally in love with the savory / spicy cocktail trend, we decided to try Hot Pepper Smash ($12) Bourbon, Thai chile, lemon wedges, honey, muddled, shaken, strained & topped with crushed ice and a sprig of mint. Designer originally wanted another drink with vodka, but as vodka does not sit well with with her (she will literally get sick), we asked if Uval can replace it with another liquor - not knowing if anything else would work with that combo of ingredients. Uval was very accommodating, and ran through a list with us - finally landing on rum. But then designer decided to go for Hot Pepper Smash instead, though rum sounded appealing - so she ended up doing Hot Pepper Smash with rum instead of Bourbon. While discussing customizations (which I would normally never do, with food! I love tasting things as the chef intended) I think I mentioned that I am excited by really creative concoctions with unexpected ingredients (like Katsuya's burning Mandarin - with citrus and cranberry kicked up a notch with chili and jalapeno) and Uval offered to make a totally new drink for us if we're willing to experiment with him - an offer we couldn't refuse! The product we ended up calling "Oasis" ($12) was made with agave nectar, vodka, thai chile, dill and bell pepper! It was a sophisticated drink with nuanced layers of flavor, well balanced, just the right amount of sweet with a unique herbal tinge of dill, and just a bit of heat from the chile. The Oasis turned out to be one of my favorite cocktails of all time! And Uval said once people around us saw it, they also started to request it. Even though the cocktails were $12 each, and it was technically a 'school night' - we had to go for second rounds of both!
Uval's warm, personal approach really made the experience for us - besides the custom drinks which really created a memorable experience, he circulated through the customers at the bar / tables like a PR pro (I mean that in a good way!) - and made sure everyone was enjoying their drinks and food.
Osteria Mozza's, the ultimate for me in LA), with the creamy cheese balancing well with the crunchy, market fresh slivers / slices of legumes.
All in all, we had a lovely time at Comme Ça, which would have been a role model in every regard from food, drinks, ambience to service - with the exception of price. Granted we ate way more than normal people would at happy hour, and we had two rounds of full-priced cocktails, but our bill came out to $100 for two (half of it was in full priced cocktails), which is not what we set out for when heading to Happy Hour, at all. At Waterloo & City, with its bigger portion sizes of heartier gastropub gourmet, we would have left stuffed and had four rounds of fun, original drinks at half the cost.
If Comme Ça could just offer more selections of cockatils including some of the more exciting 18A ones at half price, and either offer larger portions of small plates or take down the price a bit, I would say everyone should have a Happy Hour 'like this'. But in any case, next time I am feeling well-funded, I would definitely be back for several rounds of the "Oasis" drink and Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding for starters!!!
On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 6 bites
Presentation - 5.5 bites
Originality - 5.5 bites
Ambience - 6 stars
Service - 6.5 stars
Overall experience - 6 bites
Price - $$$ (3 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 95%______________________________________________________________________
8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90069
OpenTable: Look for reservations
Happy Hour: Daily 5-7pm $6 cocktails (3 choices), $8-$9 small plates, $4-$7 beer, $5-$9 wine