Church & State, which dropped from three stars to two stars post Walter Manzke and under SIV's watch, is up for discussion again. Jonathan Gold pays the French restaurant — presently cheffed by Tony Esnault (who earned a perfect four stars while at Patina) — a visit and while he praises the place, it's not without faults:
… which is for the moment the closest thing to a first-rate French bistro that Los Angeles has seen in years — French-French rather than California French; leaning toward rustic preparations and deep flavors rather than toward lightness, simplicity and the new, but informed with stunning technique.
Still, Church & State may not be the place to order canard a l'orange — the sauce may not be over-sweet, but it has no particular character either — and while the snails may be presented in individual pastry-crowned crocks, the herbed garlic butter is a bit insipid. I'm not sure I'd send anyone here for the salmon, which tends to be overcooked …Gold declares the coq au vin the "best coq au vin I can remember having in a restaurant," and on the subject of mac and cheese he writes, "I'm not sure I have ever tasted better macaroni and cheese, crusty and chewy and stinky with Gruyère." [LAT]