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And the food? A grab-bag of reliable, old-school faves, like pot stickers, crispy aromatic duck, sizzling rice soup for two, moo shu pork, moo goo gai pan, spicy Szechwan chicken, and many others. Not as exotic as some other places in the Valley, but 100 times better than what you'll get at the mundane, prefab chain joints.
Oh, and very important: Make sure you have all of the above at George Venezia's Mes Amis Bistro and Bar. Owner Venezia hails from the old country. And though he has lived in the Valley for several years and run many a bistro here, he still retains that Gallic bonhomie that is the true hallmark of his countrymen. Venezia's presence, his boisterous singing, and hobnobbing with guests are emblematic of how un-stuffy an evening at a French restaurant can be. And his Provençal-style menu is as accessible as the man himself, whom you'll often find near the bar, in jeans, entertaining everyone with a song. Go, but save some frogs' legs for us.