Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yes, Oui Can


Everything old is new again at La Cachette Bistro (twitter @LCBSantaMonica).
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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.
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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.
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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).
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Enjoyable. A happy seafood party in your mouth.

Belgian endive salad with organic California walnuts, California bleu cheese, and truffle oil dressing ($15).
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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).
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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).
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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).
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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).
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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).
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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).
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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).
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Delectable. But I do love corn. A lot. And cheese. A lot. I might be biased.

Side of sweet potato fries ($7).
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Pleasant but not groundbreaking.

Berry tart and ice cream ($10).
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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).
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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).
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Yummy although not euphoria-inducing.

Homemade French crepe with Nutella, banana, and dark chocolate sauce ($9).
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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!


  1. I LOVE the variety of meats they serve - some of my faves. But it worries me a little that y'all didn't recognize the butter's what people used before they decided to keep butter in the refrigerator.

  2. I'm going to take a new job just so I can travel to this joint for the $15 lunch prix-fixe. La Cachette was my second "fine dining" restaurant ever, first after college grad. L'Orangerie was my first memorable V-day meal in LA. This stuff is all dear to my heart. And DAMNIT, how does one get to eat with you? Don't make me beg!

  3. Can the Cruisers invite me out to dinner too?

    That pork chop looks absurd.

  4. Rivers, who doesn't like corn and cheese?! Did the kitchen run out of rhubarb? Strange they brought y'all out a tart!

  5. now those look like real crepes!

  6. i wish you had tooted your compliments to the chef. hahhahha. why am i up so early?

  7. have been dying to try this place. great review!

  8. is that a roll on deoderant/ butter? this lunch looks amazing.

  9. Hey, I’m working with La Cachette Bistro. Thanks for your feedback. I want you to know that we are listening to your concerns and will pass along your comments to the owners._Thank you, Jackie

  10. I'm there with you on your bias for corn + cheese.

  11. I love corn and cheese separately as well as together. Yum. That crepe looks amazing as well. Dammit, now I'm hungry again.

  12. I could eat lobster bisque just about all day. Mmmmm!

  13. mmm lobster bisque. even the water from just steaming lobsters is tasty already.

  14. i really want one of those mini butter crocks now. or four.

  15. Aah, L'Orangerie! My husband proposed to me there. I need to tell him about this place. =)

  16. I want one of those butter cock things. I have a feeling I'd apply it the way Mr. Cruiser did. Great photos and commentary, as always.


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