Solid French Brasserie Fare at Le Saint Amour

Moules Marinieres ($18)

It’s about time there was an approachable French Brasserie on the block; thankfully, Le Saint Amour is just that restaurant. With Walter Manzke having consulted on the menu and Chef Bruno Herve-Commereuc in-house to see that vision through, the Culver restaurant is putting out traditional French dishes that delight.

Country Pate, Duck Rillette, Galantine avec Pistachio, Toulouse Pork Sausage

During our media dinner, I even caught Maître Écailler (that is, shellfish expert) Christophe Happillon stopping by to visit old friends and enjoy dinner at the bar – proof that even an industry Frenchman will stop by Le Saint Amour to get his fix of back home.

All charcuterie, pates, sausages and terrine served at Le Saint Amour are made at the restaurant. Luckily, you can get your taste of them with little commitment, with a plate of pates and terrines starting at $11, or $12 including a serving of foie gras.

My favorite hors d’oeuvres of the night (besides the pates and terrine) was the Moroccan Merguez ($11), with refreshing couscous, arugula and baby carrot salad surrounding two tender, spicy and flavorful lamb sausages. This salad is a great way to start off a meal here, with pickled ribbons of carrot and radishes bringing bright flavors to the beginning of your meal.

Merguez | Moroccan lamb sausage, couscous, baby carrot salad ($11)

Or, you can order a traditional Escargots de Bourgogne, in which you get 6 for $10, each encased in their little containers for you to peel the buttery tops off onto which you spoon the snails in all their garlic and parsley buttered glory.

As for entrees, the mussels in white wine-cream sauce are definitely a must. They come with fries frites, which you can use as sauce and sop up all that goodness thanks to the crispy potatoes. Each mussel was almost like candy – you can’t have just one.

The Boeuf Bouguignon was also an indulgent main and one that I wish I had more room for. The peasant staple at Le Saint Amour was as well an executed dish that I’ve had in memory – though admittedly, my memory hasn’t spanned across numerous Boeuf Bouguignons. I think I’ll let it stand as being a dish of flavorful, braised goodness.

Boeuf Bourguignon | red wine braised beef cheeks, carrots, gnocchi ($21)

And don’t forget dessert. Their chocolate profiteroles (Profiterolles au Chocolat – $8) were delicious and appropriately hot and saucy on the inside, garnished well with a small scoop of banana ice cream, but what I really loved was the off-menu Blood Orange Granite, atop tangerine ice cream and panna cotta. This was a tart treat, a dessert that never made it so fun to suck in your cheeks.

All in all, you’re in for a rendezvous in France when you visit Le Saint Amour. The best part is, it’s not an experience that will break your bank. It’s down-home, approachable and traditional French fare that’s serious yet doesn’t take itself too seriously.  They’re also open for brunch, which will add a great weekend option to your calendar. 

All food and wine were hosted.

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Mon – Fri: 11:30 AM – 3 PM

Sun – Thur: 5:30 – 9:30 PM

Fri – Sat: 5:30 – 10:30 PM

Brunch: 10 AM – 3 PM

Le Saint Amour
9725 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
310.842.8155

The Monday Beer Garden at Chaya Downtown

Skewers (Shrimp, Beef Tongue, Chicken, Shiitake, Short Rib) - $2 ea

On Mondays, Chaya Downtown is featuring a special menu in their Beer Garden – which extends from their colorful indoor lounge area to their pleasant outdoor patio. I had the opportunity to try out a couple things from their menu and they were all pretty solid for the price.

Grilled Corn With Feta Cheese

The skewers for the most part were good, if maybe a little on the sweet side. My favorites were the shrimp, chicken and short rib.

The ear of corn was cut into 4 and the added mayo sauce made for a sweet and tangy addition to the slightly salty kernels. And let’s face it - this Midwesterner at heart is always a sucker for corn.

The mussels were good – a decent seafood addition to your happy hour. The great thing is that you get a good helping for the $8 price point.  But my favorite bite was probably the Albacore Tuna Poke, which came with a seaweed salad and was a refreshing dish, overall.

Albacore Tuna Poke

Check the menu below for your Monday at the Beer Garden:

Shrimp, Chicken, Beef Tongue, Shiitake, Short Rib Skewers $2 each
Sake-steamed Mussels $8
Grilled Corn with Feta Cheese $5
Chicken Spring Roll $5
Albacore Tuna Poke $7
Kirin Beer pitcher $15

 
Also available is Chaya’s regular happy hour menu, which features a couple $5 cocktails that will make you smile. Who says you can only drink beer in a beer garden?

Most food was hosted.

Further reading:

Happy Hour Report: Chaya Downtown’s Japanese Beer Garden – ShopEatSleep

Chaya Downtown LA: Make It a Three Day Weekend, Monday Nights at The New Beer Garden – Street Gourmet LA

Mondays through summer

5 PM – Close

Chaya Downtown
525 S. Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213.236.9577