Just went there this weekend. Here's my write up (longer one + photos here http://stuffycheaks.blogspot.com/2009...
)Get the woodfire pork and the corn ravioli, they were both my favorite
We were looking for a dining place in Santa Monica to celebrate my friend's birthday, so we decided to check out the new Fraiche location. The menu looked the same as the other one; pastas and a couple entrees. We decided to order a couple appetizers for the table and an entree each. They ran out of the lobster tagliatelle (drats) and said they would substitute it with shrimp. Hmm.. for the same price? Doesn't seem fair...
Bread was served only after we requested, and it arrived at the same time as the appetizers.
1. Foie Gras. Can never say anything bad about foie, you'll never disappoint.
2. Speck and burrata. The speck was mild and tasted great with the drizzle balsamic vinegar. I am not usually drawn to mozzarella but this was delicious. It was soft and creamy but didn't have a strong flavor. This was definitely my favorite of the starters.
3. Oysters on half shell
4. Baby beets, with hazelnuts, mache and mozzarella. The beets were lovely and I liked the crunchy hazelnuts.
The only beef I had with the appetizers was that there was a salad overload on most of the plates which just seem like filler to me. Entrees came out shortly after
5. Squid ink pasta with sun dried tomatoes, shrimp, calamari and clam.
The pasta was soft and delicate, and I liked the dark black color from the squid ink Most of the seafood was perfectly cooked except for the calamari that was overcooked. The pasta dish was delicious but I think it needed a bit more flavor, perhaps from a more intense seafood broth or a little more salt.
6. Braised short rib pappardelle with arugula
The pasta was fresh but had a bit too much flour and needed a bit more egg. The braised short rib however was tender and flavorful.
7. Breadcrumb pasta served in broth with pulled chicken
I liked that this pasta was prepared differently, in soup. The pasta itself was a bit denser because it's made from breadcrumbs. The soup was served lukewarm so it would have tasted better if it was warmer. The online menu also listed a similar dish (that wasn't offered when we were there) with pulled duck instead of chicken. I think the former would gave been better because of the richness and color it would bring to the dish.
8. Corn ravioli with brown butter and sage
One of my favorites. It was simple. I loved the sweetness of the corn and the sage butter was fragrant. I think this is where Fraiche excels; with its fresh and simple pasta.
9. Kurobuta pork chop with brussel sprouts
10. Woodfire pork. best of the entrees. The meat was soft and the sauce had a sweet maple flavor.
11. Steak and frites.
For dessert, we ordered beignets and two bread puddings.
The food was alright; there were a couple of strong dishes but some of the rest were nothing special.