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NOT SO FRAICHE FEELING

WAS AT FRAICHE AT 6PM tonight. I had been there 3 times. I requested a table not near the service area, since they were FAR from being busy, i thought it wasn't such a huge request. the fat, euro looking host/ wanna-be maitre-d said to me that if i didn't want the table he was 'giving" me, i could "take it or leave it"...I waited for my date to decide. I was fuming. I wasn't asking for the world, just a table we could sit at for an hour or so. NO GO. My date insisted we stay, so I followed their lead. My beet salad was very good, then lost my appetite when the surrounding traffic (table) became unbearable. My date decided to just leave after i informed them of the fat guy's rude commentary. The waiter offered his apologies. He finally moved us to another table. An area I originally asked for and STILL was not occupied (and continued to be opened even after we left!) We ordered the special fish, it was delivered incomplete. Server NEVER came by to ask to see how our food was. Nobody cared. The 2 guests next to us waited for olive oil and balsamic v. for a long time after they requested from the waiter. They ordered the same fish special, only theirs had something more on top that ours did not. Felt so shafted. When I asked the waiter (he says that he just started 2 weeks ago) why the difference, he was patronizing with a "tough jvdsifvubnifvu" attitude only found in Los Angeles. It seemed as though the MAGIC TOUCH WAS DIMINISHING BEFORE OUR VERY EYES. Service fell apart. Server FINALLY came over with dessert menus. 4 minutes later he came by with the check. I was furious.
maybe we might want the chese plate, or perhaps a dessert???!!! What the hell? I have gotten better service at Norm's! We will never return to this dream place that is not worth the time. I must say the fish was very good. If only the Kitchen staff taught the inexperienced, immature front-of-the-house how to function.....then we might get some mileage from this place. But I don't think so.

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  1. Well, FOH is easier to fix than the back, so hopefully they get their act straightened out before my reservation tonight at 8:30 :D (unlikely, I know, but hey wishful thinking).

    When you say the special fish was delivered incomplete, what do you mean?

    2 Replies
    1. re: SauceSupreme

      The fish was supposed to have fried artichoke chips. Ours did not. I am curious to hear about your meal. I think the service is much better inside than out. I hope you luck out. I am sure you will like the food.

    2. OMG! We almost had dinner there last night but they weren't open yet (5:20pm) and Kar didn't want to hang around and wait. I was on my way to Valentino for a Wine dinner and didn't have a lot of time to blow plus there was a icy feeling from the Staff. No one came over and offered some assistance if we were to wait the 10 mins till they opened? Deja Vu? I've always been concerned about Fraiche knowing some of the Staff which came from other Restaurants which were not very impressive in the past.
      Anyway we went around the corner and Kar order some Chicken Tacos and was happy , dropped me off at Valentino's , sounds like we dodged the bullet?

      1. That's too bad. We've been once so far and had pretty good service and we liked the food a lot. We're taking the folks on Sunday for Father's Day so I hope the restaurant has its act together - at least it will be an interesting test.

        1. That's very disappointing to hear. 4 of us went last Friday night and I was a little worried about the service from the maitre'd and staff, but those fears immediately vanished once we arrived for our 8:30pm rez.

          Not to excuse the service you experienced, but keep in mind Fraiche is new and they've recently started lunch services in addition to dinner. As with any new place in this city, finding competent waitstaff and training can be challenging.

          From our experince, we hit the jackpot with a great server (I think her name was Nicole) who was very attentive and schooled on the menu; plus, the food was outstanding. I'm going back...

          1. Always good service at Norm's -- at least the one at Lincoln and Colorado in SM. You might not want to order the "fish special," though, as it probably involved canned tuna.

            1. Was there for drinks & apps a week or so ago on the front patio area. Had the sweetest most adorable waitress and the food (meatball sliders & steak frites) was great.

              The sommelier though recommended some awful wine - he tasted it and said it tasted fine to him (and to his credit he did offer to get us a different bottle if we wanted), but there was definitely something wrong with it. Wonder what his background is.

              1. We have been to Fraiche twice -- had great service from Kat (female server -- brown bun, blue eyes) the first time, rather diffident service from a distractible guy the second time, and a bit of surly from the host twice -- who is he -- the loser brother of a big investor? We ignored him and had good meals both times.

                We have been hearing about his miserable attitude from friends in the area (we live near the restaurant, so everyone in our neighborhood is trying it out) -- same sort of situation as OP -- go in early -- place empty -- ask for a specific table -- given a very rude response. One time our neighbor, who is French, tried talking sense to this fellow and they practically had a Gallic smackdown. Needless to say, they left and say they will never go back.

                I really have to say I just do not get this kind of attitude in any establishment. How hard is it to be reasonably courteous to the public who are paying to eat at your place? It's not like Spielberg is there every night keeping the place popular into perpetuity. Good restaurants open and shut all the time, and often service is part of the failure.

                1. The fat host is likely the owner, Thierry Perez. He is from France and has NUMEROUS complaints on other boards, esp. Citysearch.com. Many of them are quite comical, i.e. shouting matches with patrons in French, tossing people out if they don't like their table.
                  Among restaurant professionals like myself, he has a terrible reputation. Seems to get fired or leaves places very quickly. But this is partially HIS restaurant, so he is there to stay. Enjoy!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tastey

                    My family and I tried to "walk-in" on a week night a week or two after the restaurant opened. The "fat host" basically ignored us even though the restaurant was 10% (maybe 20%) full. He didn't even acknowledge that we existed. After a few minutes, he decided we waited long enough and told us a table was available. He did so without even looking at us. My wife decided to do likewise and we walked out. We love the new restaurants in Culver City and we live nearby, but it will take a lot for us to visit Fraiche.

                  2. I was there for lunch on the second day of lunch service. The host was friendly. The place was virtually empty the whole time we were there, which I was surprised about, since it's supposedly the latest greatest in CC. We lucked out with Mr. Distracted, the waiter. The portions are too small--are we back in the late 80's? I hate huge portions, but I don't want to be served an entree that looks like an appetizer, either. I'll be back for dinner, but if I get the kind of grief the OP got, I won't likely be back again.

                    1. "LE MAITRE D' N'EST PAS POLIS" (Translation: The host is rude!!)

                      My wife and I made reservations on a recent Saturday night. The male host made a bee-line to an outdoor table, which was too cold for us. He told us we would have to wait at least a half an hour for an indoor table, which was unacceptable to us as the person taking the reservation should have asked us if we wanted an outdoor table if that was all they had. It is normal to assume that a reservation would get you an indoor seat unless you request or are told otherwise.
                      Rather than being apologetic, he was just rude! It sounds from the reviews that the food is very good at Fraiche, but unless they get rid of this "owner" host, LA is too competitve a restaturant market for it to make it in the long run. I have already told 5 of my foodie friends who frequent LA's top restaurants on a weekly basis.

                      1. Wow, what a shame that someone is probably cooking their heart out back there and the OWNER of all people is ruining the experience for everyone! Where's Gordo when you need him?? I'm almost tempted to call up and make some unusual requests just to see what this host-from-hell is like! I walked by there everyday during lunch when it was being built, and there was obviously a thought of energy and thoughtfulness put in by a lot of people. It's too bad one man is single-handedly ruining the place.

                        1. Yes, the staff at Fraiche is just plain rude. Just this past Monday, I made a 10:15pm reservation on Opentable.com. I understand that it was a late reservation, and I also made it fairly late (about 45 min before), but that's the beauty of Opentable right? When I got to the restaurant, they said my reservation did not exist and the kitchen was closed - in a manner that was not polite at all. I suggested that they should look into fixing their reservation hours online so that this wouldn't happen again to myself or others, and they rudely told me that I should have called them before I showed up.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: triton819

                            You expected a restaurant to honor a late reservation made online via a third-party for a MONDAY night at practiaclly 11pm!?

                            I would have definitely called first before leaving; better yet, gone earlier or not at all to begin with. This isn't NYC, it's LA and people don't eat late.

                            Still, at the very least, they could have thrown you a bone and offered you a rez the next evening...

                          2. Finally made it to Fraiche after much anticipation. To sum it up in one word: disappointment.

                            Time of day: 1 p.m. on a Tuesday. Not very busy; most of the outdoor seating was empty and only about 1/3 of the indoor seats were taken.

                            Service: it was passable, although nobody came by to take drink orders or to deliver silverware for a good 15 minutes are we were seated. The service all-of-a-sudden improved for reasons I will mention below.

                            Food: The complimentary bread with small tureen of olive oil was possibly the best part of the meal, although the burrata caprese was also quite tasty. The meal, unfortunately, went quickly downhill from there.
                            My order: The pan bagnat sandwich, which the waiter said was one of his favorite things on the menu. The "rare" albacore that was promised? Nope... Completely overcooked. The tapenade? So oversalted that I could barely eat half of my sandwich. Once I scraped off most of the tapenade, the sandwich was tolerable.
                            Friend's order: salmon salad (special of the day) with fennel, mixed greens, lemon vinaigrette. Sounds promising. That, also, was so oversalted that my friend's lips began to burn after eating about 1/4 of the salad. After flagging down our waiter, [enter improved service here] she sent the order back and ordered the mushroom salad instead. Bad choice... The mushrooms tasted like they came from a jar and the salad was way too sweet. Another dish left uneaten and an appetite left unsatisfied.

                            Was Mr. Travi out of the kitchen that day, or is the food always that oversalted and subpar?

                            After all the hype about this place, I'm afraid it was a huge disappointment. You're much better off walking down to Honey's Kettle Chicken a few doors down.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: choysauce

                              That's too bad about your bad experience. I haven't tried the pan bagnat and salmon salad is not something I would normally order anywhere, but I have been to Fraiche a number of times and have never had an over-salted dish. Also, I enjoy that mushroom salad a great deal, nothing jarred about it, and maybe it tasted overly sweet after all that salt.

                              I would never ever choose Honey Kettle over Fraiche. Goodness, never.

                              1. re: choysauce

                                Regardless of your experience, Honey's Kettle is dreadful by comparison. Grab hold of yourself, wake up, and go back with an open mind, and mention the problems on the previous visit. Cannot imagine the experience will not be better, maybe even much better.

                                1. re: choysauce

                                  I think I had lunch that same day, had the salmon and the salad was oversalty. I eat there about three times a week, and it was the first time I couldn't finish a dish. One bad experience out of twenty isn't keeping me from coming back. Try the menu at night, it's not disappointing.

                                  1. re: Gastrogourmet

                                    I don't plan to write Fraiche off... I just need some time to get over all the salt. And I will most likely give it a try for dinner. How's that for an "open mind," Carter? ;)

                                2. That's amazing!

                                  About 2 months ago, a few workers and myself went to try Fraiche for lunch. We walked in to ask if they had space for lunch without a reservation (the place was half empty so we assumed the answer would be yes). The host took us to a table outside but we asked to be seated inside. He simply looked at us and said no. It was one of the rudest answers I'd ever heard in a restaurant of that "status". I would have understood if the place was full or if he had bothered to give us a reason such as the tables are reserved, etc.... But all we got was "no" and a glare. We left immediately and never went back. We work in Culver City so it's a shame that a local place has such bad service.

                                  5 Replies
                                    1. re: slacker

                                      In this weeks LA times food section, they actually made Thierry out to be a great host--shows you how utterly clueless they are.

                                      1. re: Adsvino

                                        Not to defend the LA Times, but I'm sure Monsieur Perez knows when to turn it on... the smiley-face mask is very easy for folks like him to put on and off. Folks like him will never change...

                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                          I've never encountered any rudeness at Fraiche. Perez has been friendly and accommodating on each of my visits. I find him rather charming.

                                          Have you also experienced bad service there?

                                          1. re: hrhboo

                                            Boo, because it's you! How could he be anything but, Madamoiselle?!?! I'm wrong for badmouthing a guy I've never met, but I have to deal with a guy who seems to be his detached Saimese twin on a regular basis... same description, same position, same M.O. He has the same demeanor as he picks and chooses...

                                  1. Had a terrible experience at Friache a months ago courtesy of Thierry Perez, he was extremely rude and we decided not to stay. After read all of the great reviews went back last week. The food was wonderfull, the service was good BUT they still have one HUGE problem Perez is still there and still unpleasant to deal with. Maybe Jason Trevi will realize Perez should go and he could have truly fantastic place.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: JennyG2008

                                      Your thoughts on herr perez are consistent with those of most others on this board, yet he is still there. Until they decide to change the ownership of the place, perez is there, regardless.

                                    2. Maybe the "fat, euro looking host/maitre-d" sensed your prejudices and decided to take it out on you by treating you poorly. Furious indeed.

                                      1. I have had the same experience a this place. The food is very good but the service is attrocious. You feel as if they are doing you a favor by allowing you to pay them to eat.
                                        There are too many good restaurants in LA that also have good service for me to want to go back to this place. Its a shame because the Chef is very good, but unforutnately the owner is a schmuck.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: murray26

                                          im surprised that in this day and age restaurants are still getting by with crappy or indifferent service. i would like to try the food out since i hear so much about it, unfortunately if i went with my gf and the matire'd was acting like that there is no way we would be eating there.

                                          1. re: AGENT FOODIE

                                            Yeah he's (perez) a peach. Too bad he's an owner, it would be less messy to get rid of him. My guess is that as long as the food is getting out there and they are still able to pack the place every night, no changes will be made FOH. Oh well. There are plenty of other places who do care and who serve good food.