Church & State – 2/12/10
Church & State
1850 Industrial St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
It’s been a while since my last post – unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of my recent dineLA excursions. The highlights were Jar and Chaya Downtown, Grace was pretty good, and both Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris were disappointing.
Church & State has been one of the most popular French bistros since it opened a little over a year ago. The kitchen is headed by Walter Manzke, formerly of Bastide and Patina. He brings with him fine dining expertise into a more casual, trendy bistro setting. The restaurant is located in an industrial part of the city, east of downtown..where you typically don’t want to be at night. The last time I went, it was at night for dinner, and you wonder where’s the best place to park your car on the street. However, on this occasion, we went for lunch (thanks to a BlackboardEats promo of 30% off).
The restaurant, with its tall glass windows, is housed on the ground floor of a historic building, now converted into lofts.
Purposefully, there’s not much to the interior. The open kitchen is to the left.
The menu is standard bistro fare, for the most part. A variety of tarts, escargot, moules frites, steak tartare, steak frites, and a variety of sandwiches and salads are all on the menu.
We decided to sample a couple of the appetizers and entrees.
Moules Marinière – Mussels, white wine, pommes frites, aïoli
A couple of the mussels were a little fishy, but most were good. The white wine sauce was delicious, especially with the fries. I think these are some of the best fries in the city, cooked in duck fat. Yum!
Rillettes de Porc – Berkshire pork, prune confiture
I’m usually not that keen on rillettes as I tend not to like cold meats. This one was not bad, with a nice accompanying plum sauce.
Steak Frites – French fries, sauce béarnaise
The bistro classic – steak and french fries. The steak was exceedingly tender, but it did not have a large beefy flavor that you would expect at a steakhouse. Cooked a nice medium-rare, I can see why this is one of their most popular dishes. The fries, again, are excellent.
Bouillabaisse – Provençal fish soup, prawns, mussels, clams
The bouillabaisse I thought was a little on the small side, especially compared to the steak. However, the seafood was fresh and cooked well. The prawn on top was excellent. Juicy and succulent, and perfectly cooked.
Chou de Bruxelles – Brussels sprouts, Medjool dates, chili
These brussels sprouts were pretty good, but nothing special. Lots of butter.
Pot de Crème au Chocolat – Caramel, hazelnut, fleur de sel
To finish, we had this thick chocolate pudding with caramel on top, as well as caramelized nuts, including hazelnuts. I feel like I’ve had a lot of chocolate puddings lately (most notably at Jar) and this was a good one. I really liked the caramel to go with it.
Overall I was pleased with my experience. For the most part, the food was executed very well. The mussels and steak frites were probably highlights for me…especially the fries. Service was good in the beginning, but really slowed as the restaurant got busier. They need more staff during the Friday lunchtime service. I would probably still say Bouchon is the best French bistro in town, but Church & State is a more laid-back and down-to-earth spot.