Favorite Dish: Escargot Risotto at Fraiche Culver City

Escargot Risotto, Basil, Tomatoes

I had a wonderful dining experience at Fraiche the other night, and the standout dish was an amazing bowl of basil sauced and perfectly cooked risotto. The rice grains altogether made up a creamy consistency but had a firm bite underneath it all.

Of course, the real treat was the four snails that rested atop the green bed. Buttery and flavorful as ever, their richness was a pleasure to apportion to every other bite of risotto, which stood by itself thanks to the vibrant basil. The tomatoes were a perfect addition, providing a subtle sweetness that complimented the other rich flavors in the dish.

Paul, Fraiche’s sommelier, poured us a delicious 2008 Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc – the crispness of which made a perfect pairing to the richness and creaminess of the risotto dish. Every bite I took was beautifully finished off and washed down with a sip of Sancerre.

There are other spectacular dishes you should try at Fraiche, like their Endive Salad with Truffle Vinaigrette and Copa de Parma – a savory and indulgent yet balanced salad (thanks to the dates) like you never had, before. Their House-Made Agnolotti, filled with mascarpone and topped with wild mushrooms and truffle butter were another favorite of mine. The mild mascarpone was a good match for the heavy truffle butter, with the delicious wild mushrooms that lined the plate making me close my eyes for a moment. Of course, if I failed to mention Chef Ben Bailly’s awesome truffle burger, I’d be omitting a huge reason why foodies across town dine in Culver City. Try it for yourself, and unless you also had the tasting menu, plan on eating the whole thing yourself. No room for sharing.

These are the kind of dishes that cause food-gasms, and it looks like Chef Bailly has settled in to his new home (since Petrossian) pretty well. Drop in to see what he’s up to – that is, a rustic menu with some solid dishes.

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Mon – Fri

11:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Mon – Sun

5:30 PM – 10:30 PM

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5:30 – 6:30 PM ($3 draft, $4 house wine, $5 well drinks)

Fraiche CC
9411 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
310.839.6800

@fraichecuisine

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation On Sunday, June 6

Credit: Taste of the Nation: Los Angeles 2010 PSA – Spot #3 (Alternate Version) from Jeff Vespa on Vimeo

As is evident in my coverage on this blog, culinary and food events in Los Angeles come and go – but what is probably the most important event all year will happen this coming Sunday. Personally, this has been a long time coming – since I helped host a fashion and foodie event at the Tory Burch boutique back in mid-April to help sell tickets to this event. Share Our Strength‘s Taste of the Nation takes place at Media Park in Culver City from 1 – 4 PM, and 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales to the event go towards ending child hunger in Los Angeles. You will not find an event anywhere with more star chef power, so if the barrage of food events (understandably) overwhelm you, pick Taste of the Nation as your charitable culinary bazaar of choice.

Here’s exactly why:

The 2010 Participating Restaurants, Chefs and featured dishes:

8 OZ, GOVIND ARMSTRONG / JACOB WILDMAN
Tuna melt: albacore confit with a cucumber salad

AKASHA, AKASHA RICHMOND
Pulled Niman pork on pretzel rolls with slaw & pickles
Grilled market vegetable salad

BAR 210, MARCEL VIGNERON
Thai shrimp skewers

BAZAAR / THE SLS HOTEL, JOSE ANDRES / JORGE CHICAS
Liquid nitro margarita
Liquid olives
Watermelon gazpacho shots

BISTRO LQ, LAURENT QUENIOUX
Macedoine salad, uni dressing, Maine lobster
Chilled porcini soup, mirabelle coulis, foie gras chantilly/espuma
Soy milk white chocolat ice cream, american caviar – macarons

BLT STEAK, LAURENT TOURNDEL / BRIAN MOYERS
Shortrib tortelli “caramelles,” sweet corn, chantrelles, summer truffle

BORDER GRILL / CIUDAD, MARY SUE MILLIKEN / SUSAN FENIGER
Cochinita pibil tostaditas
Chilean sea bass ceviche sushi, from St. Joseph Center’s Bread and Roses Café and Culinary Training Program

BOTTEGA LOUIE, SAM MARVIN
Torchon foie gras with organic apple gastrique & marcona almond brittle
Heirloom tomato, watermelon & feta salad

CACHE, JOSIAH CITRIN
Market-driven seasonal creations

CAFÉ WAS, ALEX REZNIK
Bohemian bistro food

CHURCH & STATE, JOSH SMITH
Cervelle de canut
Green chickpea socca with roasted eggplant, Anaheim chilis

COMME CA, DAVID MYERS
Salmon tartare

CULINA, VICTOR CASANOVA
Burrata with peperonata and Manni estra virgin olive oil “Toscano”

EVA, MARK GOLD
Charred beef, grated radish

FIG, RAYMOND GARCIA
FIG dog with bacon habanero marmalade, cheesy comte fondue and fritos

FORD’S FILLING STATION, BEN FORD
Lamb burger with wild arugula, spicy tomato chutney and melted Wisconsin hook’s baby blue
BBQ pork buns with bread & butter pickles and melted Wisconsin pleasant ridge

FRAICHE, ELDEROY ARENDSE
Albacore tuna tartare, harissa aioli, potato chips

GELATO BAR, JOEL GUTMAN / GAIL SILVERTON
Artisan gelato

GRACE / BLD RESTAURANT, NEAL FRASER
Grilled pork sliders, onion & bacon jam, violet mustard

HATFIELD’S, QUINN HATFIELD
Horseradish dusted braised short rib on smoked potatoes

JOE’S RESTAURANT / BAR PINTXO, JOE MILLER
Braised artichoke with buretta cheese and jamon Iberico
Carpaccio of pineapple, pineapple blueberry compote, coconut mousse
House-made ricotta tapas with anchovy, dried tomato, and Jimenez

LOCANDO DE LAGO, ROBERTO MAGGIONI
Gelato di Parmigiano alla Caprese (Housemade Parmesan Gelato with Market Grape Tomatoes “Caprese-Style” and 12-year Balsamic Vinegar)
Lingua in Salsa Verde (Braised Beef Tongue with Fresh Parsley Pesto)

LOTERIA GRILL, JIMMY SHAW
Papa con rajas (Potato with roasted poblano peppers)
Mole poblano con pollo (Chicken mole poblano)
Carne Deshebrada (Shredded beef with fresh guacamole and chipotle sauce)

LUCQUES/AOC/TAVERN, SUZANNE GOIN
Yellow tomato gazpacho with avocado and cilantro
Olive oil cake with citrus and pistachio aillade

M CAFE/CHAYA BRASSERIE, SHIGEFUMI TACHIBE
Tuna tartare and beef skewers, yakitori grilled

MAR’SEL, MICHAEL FIORELLI
Barbequed beef bahn mi with house pickled vegetables and chili aioli
California avocado salad fresh hearts of palm, Persian cucumber, yogurt, lemon and dill

MERCANTILE/DISTRICT, KRIS MORNINGSTAR
Shrimp and grits
Spicy pork meatball soup
Home made “Better Than Oreos”

MOONSHADOWS
Spicy tuna tartare

OSTERIA MOZZA / PIZZARIA MOZZA, NANCY SILVERTON
Panna cotta vaniglia with conserva di frutti & biscotti (Vanilla panna cotta with Mixed Berry Compote and Biscotti)

NAPA VALLEY GRILLE, JOSEPH GILLARD
Sweet Corn Agnolotti with La Quercia Pancetta

NOBU, NOBU MATSUHISA
Miso Marinated Black Cod with Butter Lettuce

PATINA, JOACHIM SPLICHAL / TONY ESNAULT
Marinated Hamachi, Cucumber Vinegar, Avocado, Granny Smith Apple
Crispy chocolate hazelnut, chocolate mousse

PUBLIC / 25 DEGREES AT THE ROOSEVELT HOTEL, TIM GOODELL / JEREMY STRUBEL
Seasonal specialties

RIVERA, JOHN SEDLAR
Tortillas Flor de Calabaza

SIMON LA, KERRY SIMON / MARIUS BLIN
Crab salad

SPRINKLES, CANDACE NELSON
Freshly baked Sprinkles cupcakes

STREET, SUSAN FENIGER / KAJSA ALGER
Burmese melon salad

THE FOUNDRY ON MELROSE, ERIC GREENSPAN
Grilled Cheese

WESTSIDE TAVERN, WARREN SCHWARTZ
California modern tavern cuisine

XIV, MICHAEL MINA / STEVEN FRETZ
Braised and Grilled Piedmontese Beef Cheeks, Lime Hoisin Glaze, Summer Corn Foam, Micro Cilantro
Hamachi Tartare, Nuoc Cham Gelee, Caramelized Lapxuoug, Peanut Carmel Powder, Compressed Cucumber

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Fraîche Keeps Things Fresh in Santa Monica

Halibut, Paddlefish Roe, Cauliflower Caviar, Peas, Chanterelle

All photos by Kevin Eats

Japanese Scallops, Braised Pearl Onions, Lobster Glace, Lemon Oil, Orange

Never having been to the Culver City location, I had my first experience at Fraîche  just a couple months after mine at Riva – the restaurant that was formerly housed where Fraîche stands now. It would officially be my second meal with Jason Travi’s protogee Sydney Charles Hunter III at the helm. Of course, I didn’t expect to visit the locale so soon after my dinner with other gals at Riva; at the time I also didn’t know I was dining at a place that would soon close. The surprise, however, was welcome – Fraîche set out to impress the Food Digger crew and succeed they did. The meal was pretty much mind-blowing.

We started out with Japanese scallops with braised pearl onions, lobster glace, lemon oil and orange. A great little seafood taste in which the citrus flavors were the most potent. Combined with the sweet and sour braised pearl onion, it was the lightest take I’ve ever had on a scallop.

Foie Gras Terrine Layered with Prosciutto and Fig Purée, Orange Gelée, Campari Gastrique

I think the following was my favorite part of the dinner: foie gras terrine layered with prosciutto and fig pur̩e, orange gel̩e, Campari gastrique and arugula. The combination of all the flavors together continued on the citrus note with the orange gel̩e. Adding to the richness of the foie gras terrine were the sweetness of the Campari gastrique drops and the sour greenness of arugula. The dish essentially touched upon all corners of my mouth Рhowever many there actually exist. The flavors were absolutely titillating but the textures in the components brought the dish full circle.

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