I’ve heard a lot of great things about the downtown French restaurant called Church & State and had always wanted to go. Guess what? I finally made the trek downtown to see what all the fuss was about. I go downtown for about two reasons, one being the gun range and two being that it has an ever growing restaurant scene.
As I drove me and my 3 guests through the constant changing scenes of Downtown LA I start to question whether or not we have even passed this place to begin with, being that it seems like nothing but abandoned buildings are surrounding us. Finally I see a 2 block radius of hope! Church and State, another restaurant, a yoga studio, 2 loft buildings and a bar and I feel hunger and hope come over me. Its this small pocket of a broken down area that seems to be bringing a smile to my face.
Church and State is a downtown la GEM. They have an actual patio! We were lucky that on a night in November I would be comfy sitting outside with no heat lamp, and that there was actually one of the 3 tables outside available for us to enjoy. So far we were off to a good start. The patio was lined with soft brick flooring and large planter to create a barrier between the sidewalk and the actual restaurant. You could tell the restaurant was trying to give off the vibe of feeling open while still feeling separate from everything else with its floor to ceiling windows and doors. Esthetically speaking I would give this place a thumbs up for sure. It was different enough to make an impression but nothing over the top to make you think that they over did it.
Now on to the food, the best part of any dining experience. We 100 percent over ordered and realized this halfway through the 4 appetizers we ordered. We got a selection of cheeses that were accompanied by each respecting fruit jam (this I could have done without). The 3 other appetizers we ordered were things that I have never once had, EVER. This in itself made the trip worth it. For me I think that going to a new restaurant means that it has to have something that I have never had anywhere else. We had a goat cheese trio with butternut squash puree and a pumpkin jelly as the bottom layer. Next up was chickpeas fried in their natural shell with seasonings. They were like French style edamame that needed a booklet as to how to properly eat them, but still worth it.
Next up was the highlight of the meal for me. A goat cheese butternut squash tart. I thought it was going to be like one of those fruit tarts you get as a dessert and it was nothing like I expected. It was like a phyllo fried pizza crust that fell apart on the way to your mouth. Topped with the thinnest slice of butternut squash I have ever tasted as well as crumbled goat cheese, a little balsamic, and the finishing and best part… caramelized onion. I could have had this just as my meal!
The entrees were all what I expected, good but not great. We had the steak frites, which is frenchs version of steak and potatoes, so how bad can that be. The scallop entrée was light and perfect for the weather but I still felt as if the scallop was a little too tough for me, but I am super picky when it comes to scallops. Another entrée was a lamb dish with Israeli couscous, two of my favorite things. I wish this was my actual entrée because it was my favorite out of all the entrees. My entrée was recommended by the waiter and was a duck confit, sausage and pork belly casserole. I would have been happy with just the pork belly but the dish as a whole was unappealing in looks alone and was extremely heavy, they topped it of with breadcrumbs which made the texture just seem a little to off.
At the end of the meal we all felt full and at around 50 bucks a person I would hope we would be. I would love to go back and try some of the other things as well as coming back at a different season and seeing what’s different. Its nice to venture out of my Hollywood bubble sometimes to explore all that LA has in store for my belly and I wish I would do it more but sometimes I’m not up for an adventurous drive L I think everyone in LA should have at least an appetizer at Church and State and see for yourself how much downtown LA is changing… so go check it out and let me know your thoughts!!
Church & State – Downtown LA – French Inspired – $$$