Chablis Food + Wine a worthy replacement for Paul’s Cafe in Tarzana

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erinnphoto110x110BY ERINN EICHINGER

In these hard economic times, it’s no longer surprising to see an established restaurant hang its closed sign for good.  It’s always hard, especially when the spot, like Paul’s Café in Tarzana, has been a part of the scenery for so many years.  Long a date night and special occasion favorite Paul’s closed down and the wood clad room with its inviting patio sat dark.

If there is an upside to this trend it’s when a new venture hangs its shingle in the old spot.  So when Chablis Food + Wine took over Paul’s old space I was pretty excited to check it out.

The ambience and layout of the restaurant and the patio hasn’t changed much. But Chablis has sleeker and more contemporary feel compared to Paul’s which could come off as a skosh stuffy.   To go with the inviting atmosphere was service that was, from the moment we walked in the door, relaxed and attentive.

The wine list, if not awe inspiring, had some interesting choices and the best part? It wasn’t too cumbersome.  Better yet, all the selections (save for a bottle of champagne for $85) were under $50.  When we couldn’t decide between two selections our server happily brought over both bottles, offered us a tasting and gave us a brief explanation of each wine’s attributes, a nice touch.

Nuts and olives ($4) is the perfect starter with a glass of wine.  Photos: Erinn Eichinger

Nuts and olives ($4) is the perfect starter with a glass of wine. Photos: Erinn Eichinger

Along with our wine we started out with some crunchy French bread and Marinated Olives ($4).  There were about three or four varieties tossed with almonds.  It was a clean, simple dish and the perfect way to start our meal.

We also tried the Arugula and Belgian Endive Salad ($8).  The vinaigrette was light and lemon-tart but the Serrano chips (aka fried ham bits) wasn’t really necessary. The best part was the large portion of soft, creamy, fresh mozzarella drizzled with a good quality balsamico.

The Pan Roasted Scallops with Potato Leek Cakes ($12) sounded good on paper and in fact each one, on their own, was pretty tasty.  They were both cooked very well but the scallop didn’t need the leek cake and in turn, the leek cake didn’t need the scallop.  In this case less would have been more.

Couscous and eggplant

The Eggplant Roulade ($17) stuffed with spinach, artichokes and ricotta cheese on a bed of warm couscous dressed with a tomato basil sauce.

The Eggplant Roulade ($17) stuffed with spinach, artichokes and ricotta cheese was warm and delicious if a tad heavy for my taste.  It actually reminded me a bit of a glorified mozzarella stick and that’s not necessarily a bad thing!  They were served on a bed of warm couscous dressed with a tomato basil sauce and for me that was the best part of the whole dish.

Last we tried the Peppercorn Crusted Tornadoes of Filet Mignon ($20).  It’s a simple dish that was perfect in a comfort food kind of way.  The garlic mashed potatoes were the perfect foil for the fork tender veggies, the beef which was cooked a perfect medium rare and the wild mushroom brandy sauce.


Peppercorn Crusted Tornadoes of Filet Mignon with wild mushroom brandy sauce ($20) is a simple and perfect comfort dish.

I was bit disappointed that they don’t offer espresso drinks for after the meal, but that’s something easily rectified.

I have high hopes for Chablis Food + Wine.  It felt like the chef really cared about each dish that left the kitchen.  I hope the place catches on and that we can see how the restaurant evolves over time.  For a newbie it definitely stood on its own.

Chablis Food + Wine 18588 Ventura Blvd. Tarzana, CA 91336 818.343.9100

Erinn Eichinger is a lifestyle writer for print and television who’s worked and lived in the Valley for close to 20 years. She was a contributing writer for Sun Community Newspapers, as well as Fox News, KCBS News, Food Network, Discovery Health, A&E, Fine Living and The History Channel. You can check out more of her writing at

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • Pauline

    Aw — I liked Paul’s! Still, this place sounds like a decent substitute.

    Nice review, Erin!

    I am wondering — how does Chablis compare to Nona Cafe? (RIP)

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