It appears that Dustin Nicolarsen’s takeover of the former Cheval Blanc Bistro space in Pasadenais now complete. The 41 S. De Lacey Avenue location in Old Pasadena was for a long time a place for upscale French dinners serving assorted Continental dishes, before Nicolarsen, who also runs The Derby, Caffe Opera, and Carmine’s, took it over in the fall of last year.
The new restaurant, cheekily enough, is called White Horse (dust off that high school French: Cheval Blanc means White Horse). It features a lounge-y component with a cocktail focus, particularly in the whiskey arena, plus a 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekday happy hour. Food wise, chef Ryan Maguire is keeping things pretty straightforward, with a mix of small plates, salads, and burgers.
Inside, White Horse is dark and welcoming, with tile flooring and plenty of dark stained wood. Lamps and chandeliers give the long bar a dim, brooding feel, while high-backed chairs dominate the lounge seating.
White Horse is currently in soft open mode, with daily hours from 4 p.m. to midnight or so during the week, and noon to midnight or so on the weekends.