Kit Marshal’s Le Sous-Sol is the very model of a Left Bank boite. It’s down a winding flight of stairs below his Au Petit Café restaurant where Marshal pioneered many French dishes in our area when it first opened in the early sixties. Le Sous-Sol is new (since January 1st, 1972), and has been an instant success, attracting the likes of the Rolling Stones, Sergio Mendes, artists Larry Bell and Dwayne Valentine, Warren Beatty and Julie Christie, musicians and producers—and, it too, is a tablehopper’s scene, where diners wave or get up to greet friends with effusive greetings and the obligatory showbiz kiss. (As to whether there’s an etiquette to tablehopping. I can only answer, do what you feel comfortable doing. If you want to nod, smile, wave a hand, over to a table to get into a brief conversation, then do it. But don’t intrude on a table that that has just been served food; allow them time to enjoy their lunch or dinner. Quite often, what’s comfortable is to have an after-dinner drink together, or leave the tables if the restaurant is jammed, and have a drink at the bar.)

     Le Sous-Sol has been dubbed, “Son of Au Petit Café,” and in truth, it's a worthy offspring. Myriad fin de siecle mirrors cover the Algerian-red cellar walls. Candlelight graces the tables. Host Marshal, son of actor Alan Marshal, is often at the restaurant looking after guests.

     It was Marshal who pioneered the mushroom salad in southern California, and at Le Sous-Sol it is perfection. Thin slices of white mushrooms are gently bathed in a fine oil-and-vinegar dressing $1.75. Or, if you prefer a richer first course, there is a duck pate $2.50 at dinner, $2.00 at lunch—blended pork and goose seasoned with herbs, white wine and baked, and lovely chilled artichokes $1.50 served with a thick vinaigrette sauce.

     The menus are written on hanging blackboards although the waiters are adept at discussing the specialties. The rack of lamb with fresh tarragon sauce always receives raves – my friend, producer Paul Gregory, touts it highly as one of the best to be had in town $6.75 dinner only. There is rabbit with a creamy mustard sauce $6.50 at dinner, $3.50 at lunch. Filet mignon au poivre, with cream, cognac and mustard sauce is $8.75, as is an entrecote Bordelaise, cooked in a red wine and shallot sauce.

     Kit’s Special is one of Le Sous-Sol’s justifiably worshipped desserts—vanilla ice cream is whipped with brandy, topped with strawberries and raspberries in season and doused with Grand Marnier liqueur. $2.50.

     A very good “house” wine is the Colcombet, from the Cote D’Or—it’s available in bottles of white or fed at $5.50. Being the wine connoisseur that he is, Marshal, of course, has a fine wine cellar, and many important vintages are on hand, but the Colcombet is a good drinking wine, if you aren’t looking for—as they sometimes say in the wine trade—“a Jesus in velvet pants.”

     Le Sous-Sol, downstairs of Au Petit Café, is at 1230 North Vine Street in Hollywood. Telephone: HO 97176.
     Lunch weekdays, dinner nightly. Closed Sunday. Streetside parking.