Jessica Biel's Au Fudge Restaurant, Reviewed by a 6-Year-Old
The kid-friendly dining experience, which opened Friday, as seen through the eyes of a THR senior editor's daughter. As Chloe puts it, "It was one of the best brunches ever."
For a 6-year-old, I’ve eaten at a lot of restaurants, but Au Fudge was the first I’ve been to with a stuffed unicorn head on the wall in the dining room. It’s also the first I’ve seen with a separate play area — they call it the "Creativity Room" — complete with an art studio and a tree house. Daddy said it was a new "kid-friendly" place owned by an actress named Jessica Biel, but even though I’d never heard of her or seen any of her movies, I had a really fun time. In fact, except for the part when daddy dropped a $6 double-decker chocolate fudge cupcake on the floor and muttered something that sounded a lot like the name of the restaurant, it was one of the best brunches ever.
It was pretty crowded when we got there — daddy kept telling mommy how lucky we were to get reservations — and our table wasn’t ready, so the very nice lady at the front door took us to the Creativity Room where we could wait. There were about six or seven other kids playing with hula hoops (my favorite sport!) and making craft projects out of pipe cleaners and cotton balls and glitter. Some of the parents must have been really thirsty, because they left their children there by themselves and went to get drinks at the restaurant’s bar. But two nice ladies were there — "Au Pairs," they called themselves — to watch over the kids and make sure they didn’t run out of crayons or fall down the treehouse steps. So the kids didn’t get mixed up, the Au Pairs put stickers on their shirts with their names on them. I saw a "Shane" and a "Harper" and even a "Luca" but no normal names. Still, I was really impressed with how kids dressed in West Hollywood. One 4-year-old boy had mirrored sunglasses and a fur vest. Mommy said he looked like a 40-inch-tall Lenny Kravitz, whoever that is, but I thought he was really cool.
After about 20 minutes of play time, our table was finally ready, so we left the Creativity Area and sat down in the dining room. It was kind of dark in there, even in the middle of the day, so daddy had to use his iPhone flashlight to read the menu. It was also pretty noisy — almost every table was filled with families with small children. Almost. Sitting at the table next to us was a man and a woman who didn’t seem aware that they were eating in a kid-friendly restaurant. They weren’t kid friendly at all. Every time I got fussy in my seat or knocked over my water cup or talked too loudly, they glared over at our table in a really mean way. At one point we could overhear them complaining to their waiter that they were having a hard time dealing with all the kids in the dining room. Mommy gave them the same look she once gave me when I decided to decorate our new dining room table with Doc McStuffins stickers. After the couple canceled their order and went to a different restaurant, daddy called them a name that he made me promise never to repeat.
The one thing that’s really important to me when we go out to eat is crayons. I hate restaurants that don’t have crayons to play with while we’re waiting for our food. Those little packets of clay that some restaurants hand out are OK, but I prefer crayons. Fortunately, Au Fudge had them, but our waitress took forever to bring them over. Honestly, how hard is it to bring a box of crayons? When they finally arrived, daddy asked me to draw some pictures of the restaurant so that we’d have something to remember it by, but I barely had time to finish one picture of me sitting at our table when our first course arrived.
For appetizers, we ordered tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons and a small side of mac and cheese. Now, I’m something of an expert on mac and cheese, so I was really looking forward to tasting Au Fudge’s. I hope I don’t get in trouble for saying this, but it was just OK. It was better than most but not as good as Cheesecake Factory’s (even though mommy says the Cheesecake Factory’s mac and cheese is "disgusting" and "barely edible"). I was also looking forward to the tomato soup but the waiter came over to tell us they’d run out, so daddy ordered the chicken matzo ball soup instead. It was really yummy, although daddy said it wasn’t as good as grandma’s. For the main course, daddy had a Cobb salad and mommy had avocado toast (yuck!) with a fried egg. I had rainbow pasta with butter, which was so yummy I ate it really quickly and got a stomach ache. Luckily, it went away just in time for dessert.
Instead of ordering dessert from the menu, we went into the cafe part of the restaurant, where they had big glass cases filled with cakes and cookies and other sweets. After the man behind the counter explained which ones had dark chocolate (I hate dark chocolate and don’t understand why it was even invented in the first place), I picked a huge double-decker fudge cupcake with a star-shaped cookie planted on top. But as daddy was carrying it over to our table in the dining room, a 5-year-old boy came running out of nowhere and bumped into daddy, and the cupcake went flying onto the floor. I was so disappointed! I know I should have handled it better but I couldn’t help but tear up. Daddy could see I was upset, so he picked me up, took me back to the cafe, and got me another. It was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. Even better than the Cheesecake Factory’s!
Photos: Lenka Ulrichova