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Mar 21, 2009 11:23 AM

Church & State - Simple & Solid

Color me silly but when I ordered "roasted marrow" at Church & State I wasn't expecting a giant whole piece of marrow cut in two, bone and all.
OK. Maybe I should've, it says 'roasted marrow' after all. But I was surprised. And yes, apparently one can have too much bone marrow. The marrow on toasted bread was quite satisfying at first, but after eating half of first section, I was already overwhelmed by fat ...
Do share this dish with more than one person!

The rest of the relatively short menu at this lively bistro newly manned by Walter Manzke offers other indulgence, like escargot and foie gras, but you can also go healthier and lighter with a salad mesclun.

I, however, not realizing how fat-stuffed I'd be after all those bone marrow, ordered the duck confit: Confit de Canard a la Montmorency (French lentils, pickled cherries) - $15
This seems to be one of the cheaper duck confits out there, and it's quite good. The skin is crispy and the meat is pretty tender. It's simple, yet satisfying. Nicely paired with the pickled cherries.

Loup de mer (seabass, ratatouille provencale) - $24
Flaky and moist fish - it was done pretty well, again with nicely crispy skin. As you can see from both entrees, there's nothing 'frou frou' here. Everything is simple, but solid.

During my meal I saw a waiter bring the dessert tray out to another table, and knelt down to show them the selection. Hot frenchie kneeling down in front of me with a tray of desserts .... Yum ....

Alas, my companion immediately ordered dessert, not giving the chance for the waiter to come by. Booo.

Anyway, we got a special dessert of the day, a strawberry apple tart.
Pretty good, not too sweet, nothing too special either.

The chocolate cake was a better match for me.
More like a chocolate mousse cake, it was dense and rich. Got my sweet tooth and chocolate craving fixed right here.

A hopping downtown bistro with simple and solid food and nice lively atmosphere for a night out on the town. There was nothing in particular (so far) that would make me crave it and go back, but I was happy and satisfied with everything and can definitely see picking this place to hit the town with some friends.

Plus, I need to try them escargots.


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  1. I have been going to church & state since they opened despite VERY mixed experiences. the last 2-3 times have been much better due to their new chef Manzke from Bastide. He has really turned the food around. Virbila of LA Times recently gave them 3 stars. So happy about that. IME they have always been busy, but I am hoping their success continues and they get even busier. I am a fan.

      1. Went there a few days ago. Pretty good, especially for the money. I personally think the appetizers are better than the main dishes, so I would rather just order a bunch of those instead of an entree next time. The escargot was fantastic and probably the best dish we had that night (also had steak frites, duck confit, steak tartar, apple crisp thing, and cherry tart). The escargot was garlicy and buttery goodness, yum.

        There were a few minor negatives though:

        -Service was friendly, but a bit on the slow side even though it wasn't that busy.
        -Got served lukewarm coffee, but it was promptly replaced
        -Not in the greatest neighborhood and the streets are not fully paved, so don't bring a good car if you can help it.
        -You will smell like food when you leave.

        1 Reply
        1. re: martiniman

          I also have to add that it's a bit hard to find for me. Apparently you have go on a parallel street past it and then go the other way bcs it turned into a one way street - something that my GPS wasn't aware of for some reason.
          They do have valet on the side street for like $6 ish (IIRC), which is not *too* bad for downtown LA.