The top of Laguna Honda may be a surprising place to find a quaint French bistro, ChouChou makes its home there all the same — on the only business block in the Forest Hills neighborhood. The menu may include steamed mussels scented with shallots, fennel and white wine or a chef’s specialty such as clay pot stews topped with a pastry shell. A tender pork medallion gets a hint of the Alps with a white wine-mustard sauce and Swiss cheese-laced mashed potatoes. Hearty herbed lamb stew studded with babyvegetables is another winner. The charming staff won’t let newcomers leave without trying the tarts. It seems the owner has a pastry shop in France, and the tarts reflect that fact with tender crusts encasing rich pastry cream and bountiful fruits.
A “welcoming” owner and his “caring” staff contribute to the “cozy” vibe at this “friendly” French bistro “in an unlikely spot” (Forest Hills); though it’s “nothing fancy” and a few confess they “wouldn’t cross town” considering the “uninspiring” interior and “crowded” confines, it’s still a “nice neighborhood” spot for a relatively “reasonably priced” meal capped by a “phenomenal” tart.