Jan 2014

Republique – Los Angeles

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

I have yet to encounter a soul in the hyper-opinionated Los Angeles food community who doesn’t adore Chef Walter Manzke‘s cooking. From his early days at Patina and Bastide, to his more recent tenures at Church & State and Petty Cash, wherever Chef goes, the accolades usually aren’t too far behind.

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

Late last year, Chef Manzke and his wife, Pastry Chef Margarita Manzke, joined forces with restaurateur Bill Chait to open Republique‎ in the former Campanile space. I usually give restaurants a few months to settle in before coming in for a taste, but my impatience got the best of me in this situation—I needed Chef’s signature escargots en croute, and I needed them now.

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

The Astronomer and I were initially seated at the communal table toward the front of the restaurant during our visit, but scored a table for two after asking the hostess nicely.

Pro Tip: My friend Darin dined on the same evening and requested seats along the Chef’s counter, which turned out to be warm but festive. 

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

As The Astronomer and I perused the menu, we were each offered a super-sized bread stick. I tried not to spoil my appetite by eating the entire thing, but alas, it was futile to resist its buttery and salty charms.

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

Dinner officially began with the grass-fed beef tartar ($18) with tarragon aioli, pickled red onions, and potato chips. The tender bits of beef, seasoned just right, were fantastic. The potato chips offered a crunchy contrast that The Astronomer appreciated, but me… I just wanted the meat straight up. Rawr!

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

The “Gulf White Prawns” ($16), snappy yet firm, arrived in a Vietnamese-style slaw with shredded green cabbage, persimmons, pistachios, chili, lime, pomegranate, and fried shallots. This dish was completely unexpected and totally delightful.

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

Next on the scene was the house-made charcuterie ($24), which serves “one to four” according the menu. The selection of goodies on the plank included a dazzling array of salami, head cheese, pork terrines, duck liver mousse with port wine gelee, and pork rillettes.

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

To accompany the cured and preserved meats were buttered radishes, pickles, olives, two varieties of mustard, fruit preserves, and warm baguettes. I’ve been a  tremendous fan of Chef Manzke’s charcuterie since his days at Church & State, and I am so stoked that I can get a fix anytime I want.

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

The only dish that missed the mark tonight was the highly anticipated escargots en croute ($12). While the puff pastry was spot-on, the snails and buttery broth hit a sour note that didn’t taste right. A shame.

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

The final savory dish was the “Risotto Nero” ($19), squid ink-stained rice paired with tender morsels of Atlantic calamari and Mediterranean octopus. The dish’s flavors were bright and light even though it looked anything but.

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

To finish, a superb “Sage Panna Cotta” ($10) topped with butternut squash cream and pumpkin seeds. This perfectly savory sweet provided the ideal ending to a solid dinner.

It’s good to be Walter Manzke.

624 S. La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: 310-362-6115

One year ago: Nước Chấm – Vietnamese Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
Two years ago: Meyer Lemon Muffins
Three years ago: Beijing Pie House – Monterey Park
Four years ago: La Grande Orange Cafe – Pasadena
Five years ago: Arde’s Bistro – Los Angeles (Burbank)
Six years ago: Mì & Hủ Tiếu Xào
Seven years ago: Á Châu – San Diego

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8 thoughts on “Republique – Los Angeles

  1. I can’t wait to go. You didn’t get the soft scrambled eggs with uni?! I’ve seen so many pics of that dish on Instagram I dream of it…:). Thanks for the review- that charcuterie board looks impressive.

  2. A most worthy spot on your next trip North, Kirbie!

    Anne – Vern ain’t much of an uni guy unfortunately, so we stuck to dishes that we could both enjoy. A few people have commented that the bread is too thick for the eggs and uni, FYI. I could definitely see that being the case.

  3. I’ll never forget my first Walter experience with you at Church & State! A shame the escargots at Republique wasn’t as spot-on as the ones we had that night, but here’s hoping they’ll get back to their original glory soon!

  4. Don’t forget to bring plenty of money with you, because you’re going to be charged an extra 3% surcharge to cover the restaurant’s health care for its employees, thanks to Obamacare.
    The owner is passing that extra cost on to YOU!
    You’ll see it listed right there on the bill!
    And I’d be willing to bet that you are going to see this “trend” start to happen a LOT more.
    I’d also be willing to bet that this post of mine will be deleted very soon because, well, the truth DOES hurt, doesn’t it?

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