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Mar 15, 2009 04:07 PM

Church and State: terrific meal last night

Went with some friends to Church and State last night and had an excellent meal. I have not been a huge fan of Arroyo’s places, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the space itself is lovely – albeit loud – and the food and service top notch. Great drinks at the bar, and the bartender went out of his way to make sure we were well taken care of. All the staff, in fact, from waiter to hostess to bus staff, really takes care of you.

As for the food: we ate a lot! We started off with Escargot… perhaps the highlight of the night. Even if you think you don’t like snails, and I don’t particularly, this is one of the best dishes I’ve had in a long time. You get 5-6 individual dishes topped with puff pastry and filled with garlicky goodness. We also tried the Bone Marrow flan. I was not a huge fan, mostly because I am not a fan of the consistency of flan. Everyone else loved it, and it came with a terrific radish and parsley salad. We also had one of the tarts. Also terrific. They are huge and served on a very cool wooden board. My only suggestion here would be for a half size for an appetizer. But I am not complaining.

We tried all three salads: frisee, egg and lardon salad; baby lettuces with herbs and a citrus vinaigrette; endive. All were excellent. The dressings in particular were top notch. If I had to choose one, go for the endive.

Then as entress we had: steak frites, cassoulet, mussels and mac and cheese. The steak frites was served sliced, not always my favorite, but the meat was excellent, perfect temperature with a terrific char, and the fries outstanding. I loved my Cassoulet. It was vegetarian and different than a normal cassoulet… I think the type varies night by night. But when something is this good, who cares if it is not the norm. The vegetables were fresh and perfectly cooked, and it had a creamy, flavorful sauce. The mac and cheese was good. My friend who ordered the mussels liked not loved them. She felt they could have had more flavor. But it would be tough for anything to beat the juice that came with the escargots.
All said… great service, great food. I look forward to returning to hit some of these again and also see what the roast chicken is like!

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  1. I too enjoyed my one meal at Church and State. I have to say though the roast chicken was just meh. I mean, $19 for the smallest 4 pieces of chicken I've ever seen in my life! Accompanied by a few veg scattered around to make the plate look less empty. The salt cod fritters were much more enjoyable, as was the apple tart for dessert. Also agree that the fries are very good. I was curious about the cassoulet and mussels, will have to find the opportunity to go again.

    1. Also loved Church and State - see here for commentary and pics:

      1. I love that escargot and the bone marrow! The foie gras terrine is also incredibly delicious as is all their house made charcuterie. I really have to go back and try the cassoulet; it sounds great. It's really great to be able to eat Walter Manzke's food again...

        1. I've been twice and loved it both times. The fois gras terrine in the jar is so, so, so good. The bistro classics - tarte flam., onion soup, moules frites, duck confit - blow the competition (annisette, comme ca) out of the water. Watching Chef Manzke in the open kitchen is half the fun. The other night I was there with a friend and S. Irene V. was at the next table, picking at their delicious cherry almond tart. Also be sure to try their chocolate ganache tart: a study in dark velvety chocolate! And perfect with a tiny glass of sweet wine.

          1. My wife and I dined for the first time at Church and State two nights ago (Saturday). We had the highest expectations and they were exceeded. Hors d' oeuvres were a selection of cured meats (duck bacon, bison, rabbit) and pâté (pigs' feet with parsley...). The citrus dressing on the salads was light, ever so sligthly sweet; quite remarkable. I agree with an earlier post that the size of the roasted chicken was surprisingly small but it was flavorful as were the perfectly seared, rare slices of steak. Roasted cauliflower, several cheeses, a chocolate tart, dark-roast coffee... all were very good. Throw in a bottle of wine, two hours and an attentive but casual waiter and it made for a great evening.