Church and State is Steven Arroyo’s newest restaurant. It is located downtown in the former loading dock of L.A.’s Nabisco Biscuit Co. Building. From what I understand it was off to a shaky start, but with Walter Manzke now in the kitchen, this is a definite must restaurant. The menu is French classic bistro done perfectly. Service, overseen by Joshua Goldman, is professional and efficient.
There is an other-wordly quality to the decor in that you honestly don’t feel like you are in LA - more Paris or New York in feel. The high ceiling is latticed with exposed vent ducts and strings of lights. Tables are well-spaced so you have none of that Anisette feeling of being squeezed and cramped. The kitchen is open and Chef Manzke is absolutely in charge - this is a chef who understands and executes bistro cuisine to a tee.
My only negative is that from the Westside it is a long drive, particularly during rush hour. But, it is worth the hassle.
Gougeres - light, airy
Salt Cod Beignets (baccalo) with crispy, deep-fried parsley and saffron aioli - if these are not done right, you might as well be eating leaden, heavy “fish cakes” - again perfect
temperature, done right with an excellent aioli
Joshua then brought a huge platter that contained a bounteous array of incredible “goodies.”
Pickled vegetables and the most delicious assortment of housemade pates, terrines and saucisson sec that included Duck Ham, Pigs feet and ham, Wild Goose from Canada, Rabbit. Chef Manzke makes this all in house and from what I understand he doesn't have a grinder so he hand chops everything.
Rillette de Saumon, confit of organic Scottish salmon with a topping of gribiche (chopped pickles, capers, parsley, hard-boiled egg yolks and whites) - this was stupendous and the gribiche topping was perfect
Terrine de Foie Gras topped with port-wine gelee, toasted brioche - another absolute winner and again what Chef Manzke does so well are the additional touches to each dish. In this case it was the port-wine gelee.
Rillettes de Cochon, Berkshire pork from Heritage, prune confiture
Kushi and Malpeque Oysters on the half shell
Escargot de Bourgogne, snails topped with a pastry dome and baked in garlic, parsley, shallot butter with the addition of pernod. The pernod was wondrous, adding an aromatic note to the dish.
Pig’s feet with a frisee salad sitting on a bed of lentils, finely diced potato and carrot with what appeared to be tiny lardons. I inhaled this dish.
Roasted Marrow Bone - rich, yet delicious
Tarte Flamiche- caramelized onions, bacon, Gruyere cheese - the last time I had a tart done this well was with Alsatian Chef Eric Klein. Comme Ca's tart, as a comparison, had burnt edges.
Steak with Bearnaise sauce - we were getting very full and the steak was just as good as leftovers - perfect bearnaise.
Cheese Board - 7 different types of cheese plus 5 different accompaniments
I have no notes on the desserts as we had a lot of wine.
‘96 Compte Audoine Dampierre, Champagne
‘04 Chablis Wm. Fevre, Le Clos
‘03 Gevrey Chambertin, Mes Favorites, Alain Burquet
‘81 Ch. Clos Labere, Sauternes
A fun dining experience with superb food and service