Church & State Separates Itself
Restaurant Type: French
As you get closer to Church & State Bistro in Los Angeles, your first thought might be, “Where the hell am I?” The restaurant is located in the warehouse district of Los Angeles, a few blocks away from the Los Angeles Produce Market that is located at Olympic and Alameda. When looking at the surrounding area, you’re very thankful there is a manned parking lot very close to the restaurant, but this is a burgeoning restaurant area here in Los Angeles (photo below from C&S website).
Since we were going to a concert after dinner, the group arrived when the place opened at 5:30, and there were already people sitting at the comfortable bar. By the time we left, the place was packed.
We started with a Kir Royale, sparkling wine with Crème de Cassis ($13). Upon being seated, we were notified that on Sunday evening, there was only the $39 prix fixe menu available, which was fine with us (I will add to our review for the regular menu after this, foreshadowing the fact we really enjoyed this place).
We all started with an amuse-bouche (a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre). According to my web dictionary, “Amuse-Bouche are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but, when served, are done so according to the chef’s selection alone.” And here I thought an amuse-bouche was just a funny bouche.
Our amuse-bouche turned out to be a Radish and Butter with a Lemon Zest and Sea Salt. I cannot tell you the last time I ate a radish but damned if it wasn’t good.
Next up was a Tarte aux Champignons (Tart with Caramelized Onions, Gruyére and Mushrooms). This was spectacular, as evidenced by the fact that the entire appetizer was devoured in a matter of seconds by the group.
The three choices for Plats Principaux were (1) Gnocchi, consisting of Gnocchi, Pea Shoots, Artichoke Slices, Truffle Oil in a Parmesan Cream Sauce; (2) Saumon, which was Salmon, Potato Fondant, Braised Swiss Chard and a Lemon-Chive Beurrmonte or (3) Longe de Porc Rôti, a Roasted Pork Loin and Pulled Pork Cheeks with Button Mushrooms. Three of us chose the pork while Burt opted for the salmon. Both were delicious. I was going to try the Gnocchi since I am a Gnocchi freak, but I had just had it a couple of nights before.
Church & State has an extensive wine list, and although corkage is 20 bucks, if you buy one off of their list, they will waive the corkage fee on your bottle. That’s what we did. We bought a bottle of 2007 Domaine Michelot Bourgogne Rouge – Meursault for $52 and brought a bottle of Wilson Petit Syrah.
Now it was time for dessert, and the menu just stated it would be a selection of house-made desserts. What a selection it turned out to be. Staring us in the face, next were four desserts that all were scrumptious. I think the Chocolate Coffee Pot de Creme was the best of the lot, but the Creme Brulée, Pistachio Cherry Pie and Chocolate Mousse Pie were all terrific.
Our next visit to Church & State was a few months later on a Saturday night with friends Paul and Susan. This time we were excited to sample items from the main menu.
In my never-ending quest for different types of snails (to eat, not to exterminate in the yard, tried the Escargots de Bourgogne en Croûte…burgundy snails, garlic butter, puff pastry ($18). Tres Magnifique!
We all tried the Saint Jacques: diver scallops, cauliflower, romanesco, pine nut, caper-raisin pistou ($34) and the Bouillabaisse…provençal fish stew, cockles, prawn, mussels, fennel, potato, leek, rouille ($27).
MaiTaiTom Rating Food + Ambiance + Value 4.7 maitais (out of 5)
Church & State Bistro
1850 Industrial Street • #100
Los Angeles CA 90021
Lunch: Monday – Friday: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Dinner: Monday – Thursday: 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Dinner: Friday: 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Dinner: Saturday: 5:30 p.m., – 11:00 p.m.
Dinner: Sunday: 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
(featuring a special “Church On Sunday” 5-course prix fixe menu for $39)
Parking Lot (kitty corner to restaurant): $5