Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fraiche (Culver City)


We arrived on a Saturday evening without a reservation and we were told that they were completely booked for the night.  We were given the option of sitting at the bar or wait for a cancellation.  We didn't feel like waiting for someone to cancel their reservation so we took a seat at a table in the bar area.  I think If I return I'd choose to sit at the bar again.  

The patio looked a bit cramped to me.  I don't particularly like to sit so close to other people and the configuration outside has tables set-up so that conversations to the left and right would easily be within earshot of you and your guest(s)  I prefer more privacy.  I don't want the party to the left of me listening in to me discuss how I disposed of a body in a hole out in the middle of the Mojave, ya know?  At the same time, I don't want to hear or see some couple engaged in some serious PDA.  Anyway, that's just me.  Now, to the food!

First of all, these were the absolute worst pictures I have ever taken so I apologize heavily in advance.  I didn't have my trusty camera on me, so I used my camera phone.  Camera phone + dark setting + amateur photographer = my pictures below.  Feel free to flag them as "inappropriate" if you feel like it.  Heck, if you are really offended, message me and I'll personally take the pictures down myself.   

The cocktails I tried were "The Babe" and "The Grape."  The Babe was stiff, slightly smokey (from the bacon infused bourbon), aromatic from the orange peel and it had a sweet luscious mouthfeel from the Maple Syrup.  "The Grape" was less alcoholic than I would have liked but the grape flavor really came through.  I've had grape cocktails elsewhere and this one had the most grapes muddled into it.  - 4 stars      

Monkfish, sure is ugly. But damn, it sure is tasty.  This was my favorite dish of the night.  The fish was buttery and delicate while the wine and shallot sauce was plentiful enough to complement the fish without overpowering it.  The potato puree tasted a bit water-logged but then again, it was probably just excess moisture from the wilted spinach sitting atop the potato mash.  Either way, the potatoes were not as creamy or buttery as I would have preferred.  Factoring in the price ($25), portion size and flavor - 4 stars.  

Their Short Rib Agnolotti ($16) is basically a rectangular ravioli stuffed with shortrib.  Similar to the Monkfish dish, the sauce was flavorful yet not overly dressed on the pasta.  The aroma from the pasta was very earthy from the truffle butter and mushrooms.  The seasonings were spot-on as well.  Not once did I think to even look for salt and pepper for either entree.  - 4.5 stars.         

We finished our meal with a Chocolate Coulant ($12).  It was basically a mini "molten" or "lava" chocolate cake with a scoop of peanut butter ice cream, toffee bits and spiced banana slices.  We both enjoyed the dessert but the price felt a bit inflated again.  - 4 stars.   

Parking in the structure on Cardiff Ave (between Culver and Venice Blvd) is free for 2 hours with no validation necessary.  Each additional hour is $1 WITH validation, however.  Fraiche validates.  If that lot is full, which happens frequently, try the parking structure on Watseka Ave. 1 short block south of Cardiff Ave.  No luck there?  Try the Meters.  Last resort or avoid the hassle altogether and valet.     

Warning: the following photographs may or may not be suitable for all audiences. 

 The Babe (left) - Bacon Infused Bourbon, Grade B maple Syrup & Burnt Orange Peel.  The Grape (right) - Vodka, Elderflower Syrup,Grapes & Lime. 

Monkfish “Francaise” - Spinach, White Wine, Potato Puree & Shallots.

Short Rib Agnolotti - Clam Shell Mushrooms & Truffle Butter.

Chocolate Coulant -  Toffee, Spiced Bananas & Peanut Butter Ice Cream.

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