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Food

An Evening at Fraiche

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I knew it was going to be a good night, when we walked out of the thick twilight and into Fraiche and the Arcade Fire was playing.

I had made the reservation three weeks before, and even then, they did not have seven or seven-thirty available, so I settled for 6:45. Far be it for me to cast aspersions, but there were other empty tables around the entire time we were there.

We were seated on the Patio near the door. The awning that stretched above us had an opening, through which we could see the purpling sky and a jacaranda tree.

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We had a round of cocktails, which was all right. There was a blood orange martini that was really refreshing and a mojito that was a little syrupy. We ordered a round of oysters too, served with a little of the usual sauce, but also some shallot vinegar and some really strong horseradish. They were wonderful, and it was only the beginning.

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The word on the street about Fraiche is that the servers are snooty. Ours wasn’t too bad, a little on the brusque side until he got involved in our conversation about Dracula’s (real) castle being sold. Then he warmed right up.

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The appetizers were delicious. I had a fairly straight up heirloom and tomato salad, but everything was really fresh and there was a nice pesto-y thing going on. The corn chowder was garnished with mushrooms and has a clam base, so it has all the creamy-corn flavor of a good chowder, but with a different, salty tang. The beet salad also packed some surprises, when it arrived – pink and tender, with a really creamy ricotta that didn’t overpower the beats. All in all, these were some pretty standard LA appetizers, but Fraiche made each one their own.

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Then came dinner, and it really was the main event. There was a rigatoni with lamb and rosemary ragu – a solid dish, though again, one that’s been popping up on a lot of menus lately (I need to figure out how make one at home, though whether it should be brown, or red, as Fraiche’s was, I can never decide.) The monkfish was tender and delicious – but a little dangerous – too easy to eat it all! There was a fabulous risotto, so full of cheese that it left strings when you take a fork full. It had a wonderful toasty taste, almost like a grilled cheese and mushrooms and asparagus. It was pretty hard to stop eating that too. The dish you always hear about in connection with Fraiche is the veal cheeks, so we had to check that out. They were everything that was promised – they were crunchy and almost bacony on the top and then the meat on the bottom was so tender. It was a really wonderful meal. But we were too full for dessert!

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Fraiche
9411 Culver Boulevard, Culver City

All photos by Jacy for LAist