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Republique by Walter Manzke, impressions+photos

Johnny L Nov 28, 2013 12:54 AM

Having never had the chance to try Manzke's cooking I assembled Chrishei and Offalo to help me work my way through part of the extensive menu.

Photo set here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnlee1...

Pig's Head: Not much in terms of actual pigs head but it was a good frisee aux lardon salad with an oeuf on top. Addition of lentils added a nice weight to the dish.

Beef tartare - Very tender and well dressed, overall a nice simple tartare.

uni scrambled eggs on toast - pretty much tastes what it looked like, not knocking on it but not must order for me.

charcuterie board - an amazing selection of house made dry cure sausage and terrines/rilletes. The pork rilletes is worth ordering by itself but the gallotines and terries were not bad at all.

Pork Rinds - very light and airy, the chili vinegar dipping sauce was a nice touch.

Cote de Porc - An amazing selection of pig products, sausage, chops, belly, bacon wrapped salsify with spatzle and fruits. The chops themselves were cooked perfectly, the pork belly was juicy with a crispy skin as well.

Desserts - bombloni, passion fruit tart, sage panna cotta, and caramel pot de creme can't say I'm a huge sweets person so I did not find the desserts to be notable to me but I did enjoy them nonetheless.

For me I think this is a restaurant that has hit the ground running and is worth checking out, service is great and we didn't experience any hiccups with food wait times. If you aren't planning on checking it out soon then be sure to keep an eye on it, I suspect much of the menu will change.

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  1. r
    revets2 RE: Johnny L Nov 28, 2013 01:04 AM

    Did you have any bread? We think it's the best bread we've ever had in L.A.!

    19 Replies
    1. re: revets2
      Johnny L RE: revets2 Nov 28, 2013 07:59 AM

      Yes the bread is good. Can't say its the best for me but it does rank high in LA.

      1. re: revets2
        Ciao Bob RE: revets2 Dec 1, 2013 11:32 AM

        At 8 bucks for a small baguette (that is usually provided for free), it should be.

        We had a disappointing evening at Republique.

        The food was OK, very similar to Church and State. Most dishes were way over salted. The porc was the best dish.

        The killer was the service. It was really a mess last night. I know it is probably their first big weekend, so I have to cut some slack. But it took just forever to get anything from a cocktail to wine to our dishes.

        Interesting policy, a 3% charge is added to each bill for Health and Medical Benefits for the staff.

        1. re: Ciao Bob
          chowseeker1999 RE: Ciao Bob Dec 1, 2013 11:55 AM

          hi ciao bob,

          interesting. i suppose most menus' prices reflect the operating costs / profit targets of a restaurant, and it's "built-in" to the price of, say, a $15 dish that it'll cover whatever expenses it needs to cover (like Health & Medical for the staff).

          strange that they didn't just mark up the price of the menu 3% and just leave that note out.

          it feels like they're nickel-and-diming the customer at that point. what's next? another restaurant adding an extra 4% on top of the 3% for vacation time or paid holiday leave?

          1. re: chowseeker1999
            andytseng RE: chowseeker1999 Dec 1, 2013 01:45 PM

            That is the same impression that I get. It's not like we know what their benefits policy is. They just want you to feel better about paying more, thinking that it's going to some sort of cause. If you complain about the price being high, maybe the implication is, "well, you clearly don't want everyone to have healthcare."

          2. re: Ciao Bob
            Johnny L RE: Ciao Bob Dec 1, 2013 07:04 PM

            Service was great for me, I felt the seasoning on on point so no comments there.

            As for the 3% charge, note that it says to adjust your gratuity accordingly. So the way I see it, feel free to tip 12% if you usually tip 15% without feeling guilty because then you know at least the back of house is getting some of the benefits of the tips which they normally never see. Remember servers in these restaurants can take home pay 2-3 times what the cooks will make thanks to tips so this is on par with what San Francisco has been doing for some time.

            1. re: Johnny L
              cls RE: Johnny L Dec 1, 2013 08:11 PM

              Wow, "service was great" = 15%?

              1. re: cls
                Thor123 RE: cls Dec 1, 2013 08:15 PM

                Seems like it would take it to 17 percent (all else being equal). That said, the 3 percent is offensive and tacky. I think.

                1. re: cls
                  Johnny L RE: cls Dec 1, 2013 10:01 PM

                  When did 18% become the new standard? Besides tips don't benefit the cooks who work the hardest so I usually don't have an incentive to tip generously.

                  1. re: Johnny L
                    cls RE: Johnny L Dec 2, 2013 06:55 AM

                    Um, 20% has been the standard for good service for a few decades now.

                    1. re: Johnny L
                      latindancer RE: Johnny L Dec 2, 2013 11:24 AM

                      <Besides tips don't benefit the cooks>

                      I firmly and respectfully disagree with this statement.
                      I've been a server, albeit many years ago, and part of my tips (my decision not anyone else's) went to the cooks and anyone else i felt benefited my work.
                      It was a way of showing my appreciation for how fast my orders came out.

                      1. re: latindancer
                        Johnny L RE: latindancer Dec 2, 2013 11:48 PM

                        That's you and not industry standard practice. Cooks don't expect to earn tips and in some states its illegal for them to even get tips unless they actually come in contact with the customer.

                        1. re: Johnny L
                          latindancer RE: Johnny L Dec 3, 2013 08:56 AM

                          <not industry standard practice>

                          Not the state(s) I've been in and I've known a few servers in my life who've done the same thing. Also known a few owners who're very familiar with the practice. It's just smart business.

                          Back to Republique.
                          I'd simply leave 3% less for the tip.
                          I'd be interesting to see how many servers actually stay on when a larger percent of their customers are doing the same.

                      2. re: Johnny L
                        latindancer RE: Johnny L Dec 2, 2013 11:28 AM

                        <When did 18% become the new standard?>

                        Well, I'm thinking more like 20% and it's been that way for quite awhile now.

                  2. re: Ciao Bob
                    cls RE: Ciao Bob Dec 1, 2013 08:05 PM

                    Sounds like a political statement rather than an attempt to make diners understand their bill. (FWIW, I'm sure they're under 50 employees so exempt from the new mandated healthcare.)
                    I would rather forget about politics when going out to relax and eat, unless I choose to discuss it with my dining companions.
                    I love Manzke's food, but this makes me want to pass.

                    1. re: cls
                      Johnny L RE: cls Dec 1, 2013 10:03 PM

                      It's easy to ignore the crappy working conditions that most cooks have to put up with when you're in the dining room but it's a reality and if it leads to better working conditions then it's a good thing.

                    2. re: Ciao Bob
                      latindancer RE: Ciao Bob Dec 2, 2013 11:26 AM

                      <a 3% charge is added to each bill for Health and Medical Benefits for the staff>

                      Have you ever experienced this anywhere else, Ciao Bob?
                      This is so strange to me.

                      1. re: latindancer
                        Porthos RE: latindancer Dec 2, 2013 11:42 AM

                        SF has been doing this for a while now.

                        Unfortunately, some restaurants were just pocketing the money.


                        1. re: Porthos
                          latindancer RE: Porthos Dec 3, 2013 08:58 AM

                          <unfortunately, some restaurants were just pocketing the money>

                          I guess I need to start looking at my bill a little closer. I just usually hand the card to the server without looking at the bill.

                      2. re: Ciao Bob
                        Discerning1 RE: Ciao Bob Dec 11, 2013 10:54 AM

                        Seems to me that the 3% H&W charge is indeed a political statement. It's a way of pitting customers against the waitstaff, which is really sh*tty.

                        I remember in the late 70s when the first tip cup appeared in my SF neighborhood at the Double Rainbow ice-cream store. I thought then, and I still believe, the cost of the product should include decent wages.

                        Now we take it as standard that you should drop coins in any bread or ice-cream counter, etc. Still irks me.

                    3. Porthos RE: Johnny L Nov 28, 2013 09:08 AM

                      Nice photos!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Porthos
                        Johnny L RE: Porthos Nov 28, 2013 09:39 AM

                        Thanks, unfortunately the cote de porc came out a bit out of focus. Was too hasty with my composition.

                      2. TheOffalo RE: Johnny L Nov 28, 2013 03:16 PM

                        Thanks for the invite Johnny, and great to meet and have a meal with you!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: TheOffalo
                          ipsedixit RE: TheOffalo Nov 28, 2013 03:32 PM

                          Did you, my good man, order the duck gizzard flammeküeche?

                          It was, from what I understand, one of the stars during their soft opening week.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            Johnny L RE: ipsedixit Nov 28, 2013 03:38 PM

                            Unfortunately it was taken off the menu, they replaced it with a chanterelle tarte flambe.

                        2. t
                          Thor123 RE: Johnny L Nov 28, 2013 03:52 PM

                          It's in the old Campineli space, right?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Thor123
                            chrishei RE: Thor123 Nov 28, 2013 04:57 PM


                            1. re: Thor123
                              latindancer RE: Thor123 Nov 29, 2013 08:17 AM

                              Yes it is.

                              The only thing that may sway me from going and trying it out is the fact they've damaged the beautiful, old tile fountain and given it a place outside in the corner.

                            2. r
                              ronsilverado RE: Johnny L Dec 7, 2013 12:05 PM

                              I was there last night with my wife and we were pretty underwhelmed. It has the same look and feel as every other place from the Chait cookie-cutter (i.e. cold, lots of wood and communal tables), and what struck me was how badly this aesthetic works when a place is half empty. Even by the time we left it was nowhere near full, and it just felt cavernous and uncomfortable. Really a disappointing use of such an amazing space.

                              The food was good, if not particularly memorable or innovative. My wife and I loved the butternut squash agnolotti, my pork chop was well cooked but not particularly memorable. Ditto the hamachi crudo and bouillabaisse. Service was friendly but spotty, but that is to be expected.

                              I'm glad I went, but there are just way too many restaurants these days taking bigger chances and doing way more exciting things if I am going to drop that kind of money. Maybe it's just that expectations were so high. Honestly, the whole thing just felt sort of lazy.

                              Not sure what the fuss was about over the $8 baguette. And don't get me started on the "Healthy LA" surcharge.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: ronsilverado
                                OscarFox RE: ronsilverado Dec 7, 2013 12:12 PM

                                We must've shared same "communal table" (2nd choice after saying no to the main seating option, a.k.a. uncomfortable bar stools; communal table w/individual chairs, mind you! I expected a long bench...).

                                Some prices I'm reading from the check:
                                Corkage $30
                                Half dozen oysters $21
                                Oven roasted marrow bone$12
                                Roasted Brussels sprouts $14
                                Cote de Boeuf $50
                                Bouillabaisse $32

                                Definitely not worth it.

                                1. re: OscarFox
                                  foodiemahoodie RE: OscarFox Dec 7, 2013 04:11 PM

                                  State-of-the-art, cutting-edge pricing!

                                  1. re: OscarFox
                                    Porthos RE: OscarFox Dec 7, 2013 04:19 PM

                                    Only the corkage and brussel sprouts look pricey. Everything else seems in line with mid-high end pricing.

                                    1. re: Porthos
                                      OscarFox RE: Porthos Dec 7, 2013 04:43 PM

                                      At mid-high end pricing my tukhes expects a soft landing.

                                    2. re: OscarFox
                                      manku RE: OscarFox Dec 7, 2013 08:40 PM

                                      I thought Church and State was really fun - but mostly because of the location and vibe. The food was really average brasserie (or is it bistro) fare. Like Balthazar in NYC, but not as good.

                                      This place looks, as least food wise, quite similar. And dreadfully uncomfortable and noisy.

                                      I don't mind paying high prices for dining out, but this trend of minimalist decor, uncomfortable seating and barren tables is terrible. Paying nearly 100pp for this experience isn't worth it, IMHO.

                                      1. re: manku
                                        ronsilverado RE: manku Dec 8, 2013 01:47 PM

                                        I was trying to describe Campanile's use of the space to my wife, who had never been. It really was a much more comfortable dining environment, and it got me thinking. Are table clothes (and comfortable chairs for that matter) a relic at this point? With the obvious exception of very high end places, I can't think of a single place that I frequent from the past few years, except Hatfields maybe, that I would not describe as cold and loud.

                                        1. re: ronsilverado
                                          foodiemahoodie RE: ronsilverado Dec 8, 2013 06:00 PM

                                          Unless it's fine-dining that wants to protect it's Michelin-star status - white tablecloths are likely going away - extra hassle, cleaning, etc. (Melisse and Providence, both quiet).

                                          n/naka - no tablecloths, but comfortable chairs and quiet.

                                          1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                            revets2 RE: foodiemahoodie Apr 27, 2014 01:53 PM

                                            Most restaurants use a linen service for cleaning tablecloths and it is expensive. Pretty big expense line item.

                                            Guess the question is, who's willing to pay more for tablecloths?

                                        2. re: manku
                                          foodiemahoodie RE: manku Apr 27, 2014 01:06 AM

                                          Strongly disagree that the food at Church & State (at least under Manzke's helm) was not as good as Balthazar. Or "average." I found it to be exceptional. As good as it gets.

                                          1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                            revets2 RE: foodiemahoodie Apr 27, 2014 01:58 PM

                                            foodiemahoodie is on to something here.

                                            Been dining at Balthazar since '97. The Balthazar comparison is difficult to make unless one ate there during the time Manzke was at the stove. Pretty sure he was the second or third chef and the Church & State has seen many chefs come and go in the meantime.

                                            Heard the Tony Esnault is turning out good to great food there right now. Having been lately. Should try to go before Spring opens.

                                            1. re: revets2
                                              Ciao Bob RE: revets2 Apr 28, 2014 10:07 AM

                                              I went when he was there and I would agree that it was no Balthazar, not by a mile campagne.

                                              1. re: revets2
                                                manku RE: revets2 Apr 28, 2014 10:22 AM

                                                Manzke was there the times I went...usually hanging out with the staff.

                                                Everyone has different opinions,,,which is why, unless you really know someone's palate, they are pretty worthless (including my own!).

                                      2. n
                                        ns1 RE: Johnny L Dec 8, 2013 04:52 PM

                                        i can't wait to until we see a line that says "7.25/hr service fee to cover employee wages'

                                        1. e
                                          Ernie RE: Johnny L Dec 11, 2013 03:26 PM

                                          The 3% note is exceedingly tacky for a restaurant in this price range

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