During our long drive through LA Friday night we stopped in at the much heralded Fraiche for a snack. The menu is a little on the small side, for D. Not a ton of options and no specials. The usual brasserie fare, done pretty well.
The interior and exterior of Fraiche is beautiful and warm, so inviting. I can see hosting a dinner party or family event here.
The bread course is satisfactory. Nothing ground breaking, but a nice olive tapenade for spreading.
D's first course is the beet salad. I love the light colored beets, and they are cooked to a perfect texture. I enjoyed the mache, the roasted hazelnuts added an earthy note. The house made ricotta had a very smooth texture and nice flavor, and was used generously. However, the dish lacked zing. The lighter beets are not flavorful enough to carry the dish.
I started with oysters, and they were perfect. The accompaniments are well thought out and considerate. Mignonette, cocktail sauce, horseradish, lemon wedges and lots of all four.
The server told me these puppies are kumamotos, but I am not a believer. These were too much like the oysters I had at Anisette, called an iishu. These are a farmed oyster, where they start with the kumamoto, but continually turn them so the bed of the shell deepens and the body of the oyster rounds out and stays small but becomes a little meatier. I am convinced that is what these are.
This dish was a huge success. Moules frites, obviously. The fries were bananas. The broth was incredibly buttery. The moules were outstanding and perfectly cooked.
Having had a late lunch, I ate a simple caprese for my main course. The tomatoes were nice, the mozzarella was perfect, not too hard yet not quite as soft as a burratta. Drizzled with a lovely rich balsamic and sprinkled with onions that didn't overpower the dish. There were supposedly three kinds of basil, and in my opinion, there was not enough of any of the three types. Let's have some BASIL!!! I want basil in every bite and I want it now.
This dessert was actually nice. It is a frozen custard made from Nutella, so hazelnut and chocolate. D was unfamiliar with Nutella. Our server and I tried to explain it to him. Like a peanut butter, but made from chocolate and hazelnuts....but, she said thrice, NOT peanut butter. OK? This was delicious. I actually had two bites.
On the final analysis I have to say i was happy but not overwhelmed. I know this is supposed to be one of the best places in Los Angeles, but I was not wowed. Things tasted good. Service was good. The inside and outside dining rooms were packed. We got a small table in the bar immediately, that incoming clients hovered around like vultures waiting for us to finish, so obviously this is a well loved place. However, I am not sure I am going to rush back anytime soon. I think it is one of those things where something has been so hyped it cannot live up to the hype. It's just one of those things.