This past week, one of my foodie cohorts and I went on our second foodie adventure together (we are trying to make 2010 a year of adventures and new dining experiences). Since I've been back in LA, I've heard glowing reviews of Church and State, which is located outside of downtown LA, in the Warehouse district. The restaurant sits below the National Biscuit Company building which was converted into swanky lofts several years back.
The restaurant is cozy, well designed and hearkens back to Paris and what a typical bistro feels and looks like, if we were inclined to jump on a plane right this minute and head for gay Paris. Tables are close together and lights are strung, the only thing missing was the French music, but wait, we are in LA. Instead of the classic French music, they have replaced it with cool, cutting edge tunes, yeah, now it reminds you that yes, you are still in LA my friends.
The menu features typical dishes you might see on a menu at any French bistro - escargot, cheese plates, mussels, steak frites, french onion soup, the list truly goes on and on, which brings me to our selections of the evening. Mind you, it was definitely difficult to choose, there were so many things I wanted to try. I began the meal with the Salade Frisee aux Lardons, a frisee salad with poached egg, crispy bacon, delicate croutons and a simple viniagrette. Breaking the yolk up and letting it seep into the web-like frisee, this salad made me roll my eyes in ecstasy - several times I might add. The creaminess of the yolk and the saltiness of the bacon are a match made in ingredient heaven. My foodie co-hort ordered the Gratin de Macaronis et Fromage, how could she resist?!? This concoction of macaroni and cheese was divine. Made with Gruyere and Cantal, this decadent treat was thick, creamy, delicious and so well-balanced.
The Fruits der Mer was absolutely breathtaking, a slice of grilled bread with a generous slather of bright aioli livened up the plate next to a bouquet of shrimp, mussels, clams and potatoes in a saffron infused broth. Again, my eyes rolled with delight and my belly sang joyfully. The Poulet Roti was ordered by my foodie co-hort and while I only tasted the sauce (sweet and mellow tomatoes), she insisted that the chicken was moist and tender, not to mention the vegetables. A beautiful presentation too for such a simplistic dish.
And to finish off this intoxicating meal, the Chocolat Pot de Creme spoke my name (I'm sorry Creme Brulee, next time, I promise). The pot de creme was studded with caramel, fleur de sel, hazelnuts and raspberries. Rich, rich, rich, but I still managed to pick apart each ingredient. Considering that all these ingredients are rich on their own, I was surprised that each ingredient remained true to its form. The dark Vahlrona chocolate with the smoky caramel and delicate salt was simply melt-in-your-mouth food orgasm at best!
Now that I can finally say I've eaten at Church and State, there are many reasons why I want to return. The diners who sat next to us ordered several dishes we didn't get to try but the aroma and sight is enough for me to go back and order different dishes. There may be separation of church and state in America but please don't separate my Church and State in LA.