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Oct 4, 2008 09:19 AM

Slightly underwhelmed at Fraiche: review with pics

The interior and exterior of Fraiche is beautiful and warm, so inviting. I can see hosting a dinner party or family event here. The bread course is satisfactory. Nothing ground breaking, but a nice olive tapenade for spreading.

D's first course is the beet salad. I love the light colored beets, and they are cooked to a perfect texture. I enjoyed the mache, the roasted hazelnuts added an earthy note. The house made ricotta had a very smooth texture and nice flavor, and was used generously. However, the dish lacked zing. The lighter beets are not flavorful enough to carry the dish.

I started with oysters, and they were perfect. The accompaniments are well thought out and considerate. Mignonette, cocktail sauce, horseradish, lemon wedges and lots of all four. The server told me these oysters are kumamotos, but I am not a believer. These were too much like the oysters I had at Anisette, called an iishu (?). These are a farmed oyster, where they start with the kumamoto, but continually turn them so the bed of the shell deepens and the body of the oyster rounds out and stays small but becomes a little meatier. I am convinced that is what these are. Categorically,

This dish was a huge success. Moules frites, obviously. These were some of the best fries I have had this year.. The broth was incredibly buttery. The moules were outstanding and perfectly cooked.

Having had a late lunch, I ate a simple caprese for my main course. The tomatoes were nice, the mozzarella was perfect, not too hard yet not quite as soft as a burratta. Drizzled with a lovely rich balsamic and sprinkled with onions that didn't overpower the dish. There were supposedly three kinds of basil, and in my opinion, there was not enough of any of the three types. Let's have some BASIL!!! I want basil in every bite and I want it now.

The dessert was actually nice. It was a frozen custard made from Nutella, so hazelnut and chocolate. The flavor was enormous, the cold custardy texture was wonderful. The pastry chef used a paintbrush dipped in chocolate to make a beautiful brown sweep across the plate.

On the final analysis I have to say i was happy but not overwhelmed. I know this is supposed to be one of the best places in Los Angeles, but I was not wowed. Things tasted good. Service was good. The inside and outside dining rooms were packed. We got a small table in the bar immediately, that incoming clients hovered around like vultures waiting for us to finish, so obviously this is a well loved place. However, I am not sure I am going to rush back anytime soon. I think it is one of those things where something has been so hyped it cannot live up to the hype. It's just one of those things.

review with pics here:

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  1. Best oysters ever - with ample garnishes?
    Outstanding moules?

    This reads like a rave review to me.

    May we please have a rough idea of cost for two? (Also - no wine?)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Maxmillion

      mmm..unsure of the cost. probably right around $100. We drank 1 martini each and each had one wine by the glass. They offer some specialty wines by the glass, higher end. They were out of several of these options. And the waitress was unable to recommend any wines, she hadn't tasted them. This is a shame.

      It's not meant to be a bad review, per se. Just not the amazingness I was expecting.

    2. "i was happy but not overwhelmed"
      Well, that's precisely my definition of being happy.

      "this is supposed to be one of the best places in Los Angeles"
      Who said that? Not yours truly.

      C'mon Lotta, life is short, enjoy what you've got!

      2 Replies
      1. re: RicRios

        I sense that she was trying to convey that Fraiche is not a "destination" dining spot - at least as far as she and her husband are concerned. I think that's a fair assessment.

        1. re: Servorg

          Thank you, Servrog. Exactamente.

      2. It's solid and not overpriced. And the monkfish francaise is a really good dish: reminds me of childhood (veal francaise at Vincents in Mamaroneck, NY every Friday night with mom, dad and brother) but with a little twist. (I mentioned this to the chef, he said totally, he was riffing on that type of red table cloth Italian.) I like.

        1. The oysters you are referring to are called "Kusshi"

          1 Reply
          1. re: hannibbal

            THAT'S the name! i searched all over trying to find the name. those are the best oysters. have you been to any restaurant recently that was serving them?

          2. Hi and thanks for the review... But like others, despite the title, your review reads largely like a rave. I could only find two miniscule complaints from the review, such as skimpy basil and mild beets. Otherwise, you gushed over the "beautiful and warm" decor and ambiance, and as for the chow you employed phrases like: "they were perfect" (oysters), " "huge success" and "Incredibly buttery" (broth), "moules were outstanding", and "flavor was enormous" (dessert). You called the service good and you were happy (but not overwhelmed). And for the record :-), your review of Comme Ca (in which you were disappointed with the burger) was actually so positive & /well written, that it made me want to try that burger for the good things you wrote and captured by photo. You obviously put much consideration into these good reviews, which makes the initial titles so perplexing to some such as myself. Thanks all the same!

            1 Reply
            1. re: silence9

              Hmm. Interesting. I suppose I expect to be blown away by places that are as highly regarded and talked about as Comme Ca and Fraiche. Several people had told me I had to try Fraiche, and while it was nice and the service was decent, I wasn't amazed. Restaurants that have been worth the hype have included Saddle Peak Lodge (even with bad service) and Izayoi in Los Angeles and both Boulevard and Bacar in San Francisco. There is a continuum of greatness, if you will, and I found Comme Ca and Fraiche to be somewhere in the middle rather than to best of the best end...