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Exile Yourself to Corsican Specialist Napoleon and Josephine on Melrose

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Cedric Savelli and chef Olympe Ricco open the first Corsican restaurant in Los Angeles.

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Cedric Savelli and Olympe Ricco opened Napoleon and Josephine restaurant last night after a hosting a friends and family night last week. Savelli is a world musician, while Ricco hails from a bountiful culinary pedigree, as his sister owns a five star Relais & Chateau in Calvi, Corsica while Ricco's parents own several restaurants in Balagnese. The two Corsicans partners hope to bring their native cuisine, which is rife with both Italian and French traditions, to Los Angeles with this first effort.

Napoleon and Josephine's room is charming and graceful, much like the historical portrayal of Josephine, the first Empress of France. There is a ceiling fresco, but also Martinelli signs and a "Napoleon NAPE" poster stylized in the vein of the Fairey's "HOPE". The decor is classic 11th arrondisement bistro, but not anachronistic.

The Frenchness of N&J's menu is unmistakable: commas instead decimals, classic script font, French, not English. The dishes, however, show the Italian culinary influence that is the foundation of Corsica's unique food. Think liver mousse, but also tagliolini parmiggiana. Most telling of all are items such as cannelloni aux brocciu cheese and stewed veal aux olives, two resoundingly Corsican dishes not found anywhere else in Los Angeles.

While the Roman Empire exploited Corsica's viticulture as a source of cheap wine, N&J is proud of its Corsican wine selection, much like the Corsicans are proud of their native son, Napoleon Buonaparte. Bottles of red and whites from Calvi, Figari, Sartene and Patrimonio, Corsica's first D.O.C., are on offer, though come prepared to drink, as only a moscato is available by the glass.

The Fairfax District restaurant is merely a block away from L'Assiette, and with Le Relais De l'Entrecôte opening next year a couple miles away, Melrose might become the Frenchiest street in all of Los Angeles by mid-2015.

Napoleon and Josephine
7212 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 424-7487

Napoleon & Josephine Menu