I walked by and looked at the menu for Fraiche, thinking that one day I would have to try this restaurant in Culver City’s main downtown area. The evening menu included dishes like skate wing and a raw seafood platter that reminded me of the European bistros I love.

The outdoor seating area is beautiful with a covered and heated patio with some twinkling lights overhead; this is a year round outdoor area. The chocolate brown tones with the crisp white tablecloths invoke a warm welcome to the space and the host/hostess do a great job of coordinating during their busy lunch service.

Lunch is a mix of salads, like the wild mushroom or nicoise with optional add ons of shrimp, fish, or meat, and sandwiches include a royale burger. You can also opt for pasta like the spinach ravioli or a true entree like the steak frites. I decided to try the closest thing to a dinner item I saw, which was the steak frites. One of the best tests for a restaurant imho is how they cook a steak, a high second is how they cook their french fries and this dish would give me both items.

Three specials of the day were also available but unfortunately my waitress did not bother to announce them to me; I only learned of them after I heard a different server tell a neighboring table about them. I was pleasantly impressed by their extensive wine list and prices with bottles ranging from very decent domestics under $40 to $1000 bottles of Grand Cru Rothschild.

The steak was presented beautifully sliced, showing it was indeed blood rare as I had ordered, a very good sign. Unfortunately the taste was a bit charred and tough for a flat iron cut; it also lacked any other flavor so I had to add salt to it. The fries were also beautifully presented in a metal cup with homemade mayonnaise, but somehow they managed to be soggy and hot at the same time. The classic bistro double fry method of ensuring crusty yet tender fries was apparently lost on this chef.

Perhaps they do a better job at dinner, or on a week-end, I may never know. It is such a gorgeous space I might come back for their bar menu, which includes steak tartare and raw oysters, after all how badly* can you ruin raw ingredients?

*I know you can, but I am hopeful to find a good food reason to come back.

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