********THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED.********
Everything old is new again at La Cachette Bistro (twitter @LCBSantaMonica).
Chef Jean-Francois Meteigner, former executive chef of the beloved shuttered L'Orangerie, has moved and reinvented his own beloved 15-year-old La Cachette from Westwood to Santa Monica.
We witnessed firsthand just how beloved La Cachette was. Chef Meteigner's loyal old fans (and, yes, "old" as in "senior citizen") have followed him in droves to this new location -- the place was populated with the geriatric set.
Unlike La Cachette's old clientele, however, La Cachette Bistro feels modern, albeit a tad corporate. The space and design are sleek, but the decor lacks pizazz. I'd characterize the food as updated classic French. It's comfort food, but it's interesting and not overwhelmingly heavy.
The prices are not overwhelmingly heavy either -- a bit lower than those at the old La Cachette, which cost a pretty penny. In fact, La Cachette Bistro will begin offering three-course prix fixe lunches for just $15 next Monday.
We were all fairly amused by this pacifier-like butter bell contraption. It's fun eating with our friends, the Cruisers.
Mr. Cruiser even tried applying it directly to the bread. Good times.
Ms. Cruiser had eaten here before and was warmly greeted by Chef Meteigner. She highly recommended the brandade of house-cured fresh cod with garlic bread ($14), so we jumped at the chance to try it. We also got the salmon appetizer special of the day.
The cod was lip-smacking garlicky goodness. The salmon was tasty, too, but the cod impressed me more. I piled it sky-high on my bread.
Fish and langoustine soup with rouille and swiss cheese ($10).
Enjoyable. A happy seafood party in your mouth.
Belgian endive salad with organic California walnuts, California bleu cheese, and truffle oil dressing ($15).
I didn't taste this salad, but the Cruisers seemed to like it.
Frisee and baby spinach, organic bacon, organic poached eggs, and garlic dressing ($14).
Fantastic salad. I'm a sucker for bacon and spinach together. Word of caution -- the poached egg is poached very soft, so if you don't like runny yolk, ask for it poached medium or hard.
Lobster bisque served with rouille ($10).
So interesting and particularly impressive because this bisque was non-dairy. How was it so rich without cream?! Pure essence of lobster. Mmm.
Kurobuta pork shank braised with honey and vinegar with sour cherries and mashed potatoes ($26).
Luscious piggy! Absolutely fall-off-the-bone succulent! Lucky Mr. Cruiser!
Maple Farm duck breast with ginger rub, braised red cabbage, apple, orange chips, and orange sauce ($28).
Slightly on the firm side, but it had a lovely sweetness and tang.
Buffalo short ribs with coffee rub, potato gratin, and Cabernet jus ($25).
The potato gratin was forgettable, but the buffalo short ribs were something to behold. Oh-so-tender and melt-in-your-mouth scrumptious. Lucky Mr. Monkey!
Duck leg, housemade duck sausage, and lamb cassoulet ($24).
My duck leg was fabulous. My lamb chunks were tasty. My sausage was decent. I understand this was a cassoulet, but my glorious meat was totally drowning in beans. Beans, beans, the musical fruit. I skipped a whole bunch, so I did not toot. I did have to forage for the good stuff, though. But at least the good stuff was indeed good stuff.
Side of corn gratin with parmesan crust ($7).
Delectable. But I do love corn. A lot. And cheese. A lot. I might be biased.
Side of sweet potato fries ($7).
Berry tart and ice cream ($10).
We ordered a rhubarb strawberry tart, but this came out instead. That's ok. It was still palatable.
Organic strawberry shortcake and crème fraîche and strawberry sauce ($9).
Best of the bunch! Our server recommended this, and boy were we happy he did.
Tahitian Vanilla raspberry crème brûlée with raw sugar crust ($8).
Yummy although not euphoria-inducing.
Homemade French crepe with Nutella, banana, and dark chocolate sauce ($9).
I liked this, but I tend to like all crepes. Simple and delicious.
A big thank-you to our dear Cruisers for inviting us to dinner. Oui had a blast!