Friday, July 23, 2010

Church & State After Manzke

Church & State
1850 Industrial St
Los Angeles, California 90021
(213) 405-1434

I am pretty much 100% sure that gorgeous < $40 bottle of French red wine we drank last night contained at least 8 glasses, or at least my head is sure this morning. Nevertheless, I am happy to report Church & State, post-Manzke is operating on full cylinders. With maybe one tiny exception.

Foremost, above and beyond the food, I have never had better service at Church & State.  Despite being slammed with both reservations and walk-ins, the host gave us very good care. We stalked seats at the bar for awhile before giving the host our names for a table, then annoyed the wait staff by standing in their station and customers by hovering over them hoping they would leave before finally going outside to sit at the long communal table to enjoy the night air while waiting it out.

Everyone behind the bar including the tender, bar back and sommelier were very attentive.  Tasting a few wines before deciding on one (having had a sweet drink at the Villains opening night did not help my palate one bit), the bar back humored me more by letting me try three or four, even following me around with a new glass while I wandered throughout the bar saying hi to people we know. He is awesome. Finally the sommelier had us taste something that was full bottle worthy (I didn't know we were buying a magnum, for crying out loud).

Above, the supposedly 750 ml offending bottle of deliciousness.

As we strolled outside to enjoy the evening and conversation with not-so-strange strangers, I asked the host to let us know if seats opened at the bar before a table. He not only let us know, he guarded the open seats with his life. Several people tried to grab those precious stools and he saved them.  For us. Loves him.

The food.
Frisee au Lardons: Perfection. Perfect amount of slightly wilted frisee in a warm acidic vinaigrette, lots of lardons chunks and a soft boiled egg to write home about. This is the standard to which all frisee au lardons salads should beholden to.

Steak Tartare: The one hiccup in the evening.  Over-processed, in my opinion. The steak seemed to me to be cut in a food processor instead of by hand, although I wasn't in the kitchen. But the chunks were very uniform in texture and just too small. The outcome was a little mushy although the flavors were nice.

Pomme Frites: Substantial, crisp, slightly puffy on the inside. The perfect size, larger than shoestring, much smaller than steak fries. I hazard to say they are about the same size as McDonald's fries but way tastier, no sogginess whatsoever.

Steak Frites: I mentioned the high quality of the frites above, but the quality of the cross cut New York state is excellent. Even cooked medium-well (D), it melted in your mouth like butta.

We had great company on the patio and at the bar. The quality of the service was really unsurpassed anywhere we have dined, which is an improvement because frankly the service at Church & State used to suck. And almost every morsel of French bistro food I inhaled was perfection. And then there was that deliciously naughty bottle of wine...


weezermonkey said...

You lie! NOTHING is tastier than McDonald's fries! ;D

Glad to hear it's still a worthy destination sans Manzke.

kevinEats said...

Thanks for the update Liz. Was the menu pretty much the same as under Walter's tenure?

Food, she thought. said...

Weezer: *gasp* mcDonalds does make good fries, but I find they can be quite soggy sometimes. Then again, not to be a gastronomic snob, I don't eat at mcD's v often.

Kevin: yes, the menu appears the same. Much bigger than it was pre-Manzke but still incredibly focused.