Churhc & State - MY NEW LOVE! [Review w/ lots of PICS!]
Full review with pictures: http://www.twohungrypandas.com/2009/0...
Don't bother trying to find CHURCH AND STATE in bold letters. We did not see any Church and State signage until we got to the front door. Instead, "National Biscuit Company" marks the building. Turns out, we were eating at a landmark. This is the original west coast headquarters of Nabisco or back then the National Biscuit Company.
Church and State's decor is classy, chic, and festive. The long, bare windows and hanging lights make us feel like we are eating outside under the bright moon. R&B and Hip Hop music plays softly in the background while waiters and staff interact with patrons. The kitchen is wide opened; we watched Chef Walter Manzke as he worked the kitchen and got the orders out. Church and State has all the components of a fancy restaurant, but it's also fun and young.
We were seated ten minutes after we arrived. Our friendly waiter greeted us and got some wine. We're not really wine drinkers, but we decided to celebrate the occasion. As recommended by the waiter, Wesley ordered a glass of 2005 Jean Perrier et Fils Vieilles Vignes- Savoie [Mondeuse] ($12) and Evelina had the 2007 Domaine Moreux- Sancerrc [Sauvignon Blanc] ($14) .
Right after we ordered, we were treated with gougeres, also known as cheese puffs. These gourgeres were made with Gruyère cheese, which gave it a slightly salty taste. Overall, this little piece of pastry was light, soft, and scrumptious.
After the gougeres, the waiter came with sliced baguettes and some of the best butter we've ever had. The butter was soft, creamy and unsalted. It went well with the bread's hard and crispy crust and the soft and fluffy interior.
We ordered the Assiette de Charchuterie ($18) as our appetizer, which included three types of salami and four different pates. The salami were good cuts of meat; the middle one was the smokiest and most flavorful. The pates were also very good. The second pate from the right had rabbit meat, which we've never had before. Overall, the charcuterie was a great way to start off our meal.
Evelina ordered the Confit de Canard ($17), which is essentially preserved duck leg that has been salt cured, slowly poached in duck fat and then encased in the fat. The duck leg also came with potatoes Sarladaise and pickled cherries. The result a duck leg with crispy skin and tender, delicate meat, which was salty, but full of the natural duck flavor. The pairing of the duck and cherries added a sweet and tangy bam to the dish. The potatoes, which is fried in duck fat, were also delicious! Evelina really loved this standout dish.
Wesley ordered the Steak Frites $25, which included a bearnaise sauce. The steak was ordered medium-rare and was cooked beautifully. The bearnaise sauce wonderfully complements the fries, but the au jus was too flavorful to waste., so Wesley soaked his fries like a sponge and consumed every drop of the savory au jus.
Wesley also ordered Gratin de Macronis et Fromage ($6) or, in English, mac n cheese. The macaroni is melted in three types of cheese, Gruyere, Cantal, and Mimolette that went very well together. Definitely great mac n cheese.
For dessert, Wesley ordered a coffee and Evelina had dessert wine, the Jorancon 2006 Uroulat ($12), which was really sweet and fruity. The waiter brought over a cut board of desserts and right when we found out the Croustade aux Fraises ($8) or Savory pie in strawberries had rhubarb, we were sold. Atop of the bread crumbs is a dollop of buttery ice cream. We thought the ice cream went great with the warm dessert, but because it wasn't a big portion, the ice cream melted too fast for us to really enjoy it. Nevertheless, savoring this final dish was a great way to end our dinner.
Having dinner at Church and State was a great way to celebrate the years we've been together. The service was great, our waiter was attentive, informative, and friendly, and the food is some of the best we've ever had. The prices were also great for French food. Some may complain that there's too long of a wait for the food, but we say the wait is a reassurance that the kitchen is taking time to prepare our meal. Plus, it gave it us time to reflect on the food and just talk. (Definitely don't go here with someone you can't carry a conversation with). We're already looking forward to our next visit!
For this C&S I used a Canon 5D. However most of my pictures on the blog are from a 20D or 1D. I like to shoot without a flash and use the natural light of the restaurant no matter how dark it may be.
At C&S we were in a dark corner but I managed to position a small candle to provide most of the ambient light.
Church and State is a wonderful restaurant. Chef Walter Manske does the best charcuterie in Los Angeles. This is not bistro food – just bistro prices. This is a gem of a restaurant and Chef Manske is a superb chef. I didn’t do a lot of text and basically let the photos tell the story.
Bread and the wondrous Echire butter
Fried Salt cod with saffron aioli
Big Eye Tuna Confit, Tomatoes, Basil
Santa Barbara Spot Prawns, parsley, cucumber, olives, tomatoes and dots of basil puree
Housemade pates and terrines plus pickled vegetables and coarse grain mustard
Terrine of foie gras with port wine gelee
Asparagus with porcini mushrooms and Porcini brown butter
Crispy Pig’s Ear, Sauce Bearnaise
Pig’s feet, Wagyu Oxtail, Lentils, Frisee, Bacon lardons
This is the ultimate comfort food, executed perfectly. What more can one ask? My only complaint is that I wish it was closer – driving to downtown Los Angeles is a pain.
Ugh, I wish I could love Church & State without hesitation. it is a fabulous spot and brings so much life to that corner of downtown. Fits the zeitgeist perfectly. But Friday night the service was truly deplorable. We waited 1/2 hour WITH a reservation, got one quick apology, and that was it. There were other factors why the effed-up service was surprising but I don't need to go into detail.
Food was terrific, as it's been during my other quick visits there. But an hour and a half from res time to entrees is inexcusable. In all fairness the waiter was polite and helpful WHEN he came around, but those times were few and far between.
Oh, and we got gougeres, but no bread and none of the fabled butter!!