This week, Jonathan Gold reviews Republique, the celebrated restaurant by Walter and Margarita Manzke that took over the former Campanile building on La Brea. The Goldster heaps on the praise for the Manzkes in their effort to recreate the magic in Charlie Chaplin's old offices, with the most acclaim reserved for the fries:
The fries at République are all the best one on the plate, crisp, slightly hollow and a bit creamy inside, straight and uniformly hot — a kind of perfection that can take a minute for the mind to process. Fries aren't meant to be this good, or at least not this consistent.
Gold continues with more love for everything from the Dover sole to the roasted chicken.
Says Gold on République:
République is a super-bistro, a small-plates joint jacked up on steroids. And your feelings about the restaurant may well depend on whether you mind the $5 supplement for first-rate Normandy butter (ordinary butter is free), whether you consider a small pot of pan drippings worth paying for (you should) and whether you might consider an evening of cheese, cool duck-liver mousse and Margarita Manzke's scorching-hot baguettes to be an evening well-spent...
Walter Manzke's signature, if you can call it that, is the elevation of familiar dishes through mastery of detail, like the Santa Barbara spot prawns kept alive until seconds before they are split and tossed on the charcoal grill, or the blast of fennel in the slivers of pickled onion tossed in with the steak tartare. [LAT]
Late last week, the LA Times also published a review of East Borough, where Jonathan Gold also has mostly good things to say about Paul Hibler and Jason Neroni's partnership with Chloe Tran and John Cao in Culver City:
East Borough is a real Vietnamese restaurant shoehorned into a non-Vietnamese setting: puffy fried imperial rolls designed to be tucked into wisps of Boston lettuce with pickles and herbs; cauliflower and long beans stir-fried with fish sauce; a rice bowl with pickles, braised pork belly and poached egg that wouldn't have been out of place at Chego; and a gently spiced papaya salad. [LAT]
All the dishes at Canteen Grill are served with laffa, the thin, chickpea-based bread common in Israel (it's also gluten-free). You can get any dish as a laffa wrap, or as a plate for a couple bucks more. Aside from shakshuka, offerings include chicken and beef kabobs, falafel, a pan-fried chicken they're calling schnitzel, and chicken parigot, hot-sauteed chicken thigh pieces with onion. [LAW]