Republique: Perfect Pasta


#61

Republique pasta remains as perfect as ever, although the use of foie gras was too light for the spinach cavatelli with kale and pecorino at a most recent visit. Still, it is pasta you can eat and feel healthy ingesting. The pasta is perfectly al dente, sumptuously sauced and comes together gloriously in an orgy of richness and vegetal depth as well as zest from the cheese and bits of liver. Just utterly wondrous.

Their beautiful beignets have switched to cheddar, which I find ok, but a bit overpowering for the sweet potato inside. Still, not bad, if a bit “slutty”.

Cocktails remain unreal good at Republique. The plum that is in season captues the essence of plum in a deep, punget way and is spectacular to drink.

A custom concoction of blackberries ad egg whites yielded a perfectly balanced sour type of drink of the type that is somehow beyond the ken of most bar tenders. A kind of blackberry milkshake almost, but with more clarity of flavor…incredible, and still staunchly stiff as well:

Republique remains a tremendously fun place to drink cocktails and eat pasta.


#62

I’d been to Republique for dinner a couple times a while back, but never ordered their pastas. Thanks to @Porthos @Ns1 @djquinnc @Aesthete @T3t @President_Mochi, and everyone, we decided to go back and try their pastas. :slight_smile:

Walking in, it’s clear to see that Republique remains one of the most popular places to eat in the city. Packed on every visit for dinner (and their brunch has a line out the door), they must be doing something right.

Helmed by Chef Walter Manzke (Patina, Church & State, and worked in the kitchens of El Bulli and Alain Ducasse), this is his flagship, putting out what looks like a mix of European and American dishes and incorporating ingredients from a variety of cultures.

Grapefruit (Tequila, Oro Blanco-infused Vermouth, Lime):

Really refreshing, citrusy and quite balanced.

Marin Sun Farms Lamb Tartare (Toasted Baguette, Fingerling Potato Salad, Anchoiade):

A visually stunning presentation, the Lamb Tartare was delicious! :slight_smile: Well balanced flavors of the chopped up Lamb and the Anchoiade gave it just enough of an interesting briny flavor.

Charcoal-Grilled Mediterranean Octopus (Watermelon, Cabbage, Pistachio, Chile, Lime):

I think I’d agree with @Porthos in that the Octopus itself was so-so (slightly rubbery), but the Watermelon, Cabbage mixed with the Chile-Lime and crunch of Pistachios were light and really refreshing. :slight_smile:

European White Asparagus (Asparagus Mousseline, Pee Wee Chicken Egg, Porcini, Parmesan):

Winner! The European White Asparagus tasted tender enough to have been sous-vide / boiled, before being coated in a slightly crunchy Parmesan crust. Breaking the Egg Yolk and mixing it all together resulted in a luxurious mouthfeel that never took away from the White Asparagus’ inherent taste.

English Pea Agnolotti (Brown Butter, Parmesan, Mint, Meyer Lemon):

Fantastic! Well-made little pasta filled with an English Pea filling, delicately sauteed with Brown Butter, with fresh English Peas on top. :slight_smile:

Hotel Nacional (Rum, Apricot, Lime, Pineapple):

This was recommended by one of our friends who joined us this evening. What a wonderful Cocktail! It was light, delicate, tropical without going over-the-top, and the Apricot and Lime flavors came through to balance things out. So good! :sunny:

Bucatini (Australian Black Winter Truffles):

First, the Bucatini was perfectly cooked al dente. Great firmness, yet just soft enough, without being mushy. It served as the perfect vehicle for Black Truffles. This was pretty darn delicious! :slight_smile: But they weren’t as fragrant as the best Perigord Truffles we’ve had.

Strawberry (Gin, Amaro, Sherry, Lemon):

Another excellent Cocktail! Republique seems to be churning out some of the better Cocktails for a restaurant currently. Really balanced, refreshing, with farmers market fresh fruit and herbs. The Strawberry was present throughout, but nicely complemented by the Gin, Amaro, Sherry and Lemon.

Marin Sun Farms Lamb Leg (Porcini Mushrooms, Polenta, Salsa Verde, Arugula):

I was looking forward to this. I haven’t had a good Leg of Lamb in a long time. Sadly, this was a disaster! :frowning:

Chewy slices of Lamb Leg with gristle, it was overly chewy and only partially tender in parts. I would’ve taken a braised Leg of Lamb over this. The flavors were also rather straightforward and a bit boring. :frowning: At $30 (+tax & tip) for this dish alone, you would hope it would be inspired.

Seeing @Porthos’ report and others, it seems their Grilled Meats are things worth skipping.

Went back for another visit (4th dinner), starting with:

Bread & Normandy Butter (Rodolphe Le Meunier Beurre de Baratte):

Their fresh, in-house baked Baguette, served simply with some of the most amazing Butter on the planet, this was simple, yet amazing! :smile: There’s something almost primal about eating fresh-baked Bread with a spread of Normandy Butter. I’ve never tried Rodolphe Le Meunier Beurre de Baratte, but it imparts this real, deep, outstanding buttery taste… like the way “Butter” ought to taste. Wow! :slight_smile:

Watermelon (Lemon, Thyme, Vermouth, Bourbon, Aperol):

Probably the only misstep for Cocktails we’ve had at Republique, this was too boozy, and unbalanced. There was a noticeable burn. It was a busy night for the bar (it looked like a mad house), but it’s still disappointing. The Watermelon did come through, but it wasn’t that enjoyable.

Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawn (Cherry Tomatoes, Purslane, Sauce Choron):

You usually see Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at top-end Sushi restaurants, or great Hong Kong Seafood restaurants, so I was really glad to see them offered here at Republique! I had to order this. :slight_smile:

It was perfect! A beautiful preparation, cooked just through, the Spot Prawn still very tender with a nice meatiness. It also helped that my Spot Prawn was full of Shrimp Roe! Add in the Sauce Choron, the super fresh Cherry Tomatoes, and it was happiness on a plate! :blush:

Sonoma Duck Leg Confit (Braised Red Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Baby Turnips, Wild Oregon Huckleberries):

Stunning. :open_mouth: Crisped Duck Skin on the outside, well seasoned, with a great poultry flavor coming through. The Braised Red Cabbage and Wild Huckleberries were on the sweet, vinegary side (not something I like), but the Duck Confit’s deep flavors on the saline side balanced things out.

But the real winner was just how succulent, moist and tender the Duck Leg Confit was. Hopefully this picture captures that:

Just delicious! :heart:

Italian Greyhound (Gin, Aperol, Grapefruit, Lime):

This was much better (and made by a different bartender). Really interesting balanced Cocktail. The Gin was apparent, but the Grapefruit and Lime really kept it focused, so the citrus and natural bitterness & fragrance of Grapefruit was the spotlight.

Spaghetti Rustichella (Pacific Dungeness Crab):

And we had to try another pasta, this time, a handmade Spaghetti - which results in a softer, more tender Pasta than dry Spaghetti - with fresh Dungeness Crab. This was another favorite of our meal! :slight_smile:

A good brininess, accenting the flavors of the Dungeness Crab, in a lightly buttery sauce. Just a great Seafood Pasta! :slight_smile:

Service was spot-on for two of our visits, and sort of semi-absent for two of our other visits.

While the pastas and most of the appetizers were standout and excellent, with great Cocktails (mostly), there’s one key reason I don’t know if I’d go back to Republique that often, and I hesitate to recommend it:

The price.

We easily averaged more than $100 per person (on one visit it was about $175 / person with no Wine). It just doesn’t feel like a good QPR, despite putting out fantastic Pastas (that really seem like some of the best in L.A.). At those prices, you would think you’d get white tablecloths, fine dining, top notch service to match it, all in a setting where you don’t have to shout to talk to each other (Republique for dinner is loud).

But clearly from the popularity and constantly packed dinner service, Angelenos have accepted the high price and informality. Republique also seems to have issues with their Grilled Meats, which is prominently featured on the menu, and have random misses throughout the menu. If you’re looking for great Pastas with price as no issue, definitely give Republique a visit.

Republique
624 South La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: (310) 362-6115

http://republiquela.com/


From Sardinia, With Love - The Soulful Dishes of La Ciccia [Thoughts + Pics]
#63

I don’t go to Republique that much for the same reason - love the place, never leave for less than $100pp. And I always eat at the bar…had a nice meal next to Bill Chait once.

Part of the problem is delicious cocktails at ~$14 a pop.


#64

@Chowseeker1999 Wha a beautiful meal. The crab pasta and the prawns are making me swoon. And yes, that duck confit looks incredibly succulent.

But what are the little balls on the lamb crostini?


#65

I’m glad someone agrees with me about the pricing haha

But are you including cocktails?.. Where can you eat with cocktails for less than $100 pp with that quality level in LA?


#66

I think Jason Neroni’s new version of the Rose Cafe comes close and a (little) bit cheaper. Posted a review earlier in the summer hoping to get convince someone to do a full review lol but there were no takers.


#67

Hi @Bookwich,

Yah they were amazing. About the Lamb Tartare, I forgot to ask. :sweat_smile: We were having a good time, talking and were starving when the Lamb Tartare showed up. Suffice to say they were promptly devoured and then by the time our server came back (busy night), I forgot to ask.


#68

Sorry I was trying to ask for places way below.

I regularly spent $100-$150 pp all over. I’d like to know if there are places at Repubkique levels for like $50 pp including cocktails because I really need to start going to them.


#69

Thanks for the report @Chowseeker1999, i agree with you on the price. Republique and cassia are two places i would go to more often if not for the price.


#70

“But what are the little balls on the lamb crostini?”

Could be pickled mustard seed.


#71

Hi @Aesthete,

Good question. It does seem to becoming rarer these days. Some places perhaps:

(I’m not counting the most expensive meat dishes.)

  • Norah - Great cocktails, some great food (and some misses though).
  • Tar & Roses - I can’t speak for their cocktails (I’ve never tried them), but their food was pretty solid when we went.
  • MB Post

They are all different places, but farmers market driven, fresh ingredients, interesting, tasty small plates, some of them have pastas, etc.


#72

Haven’t been to Norah but I always spend about $100 at MB Post and Tar and Roses. Arguably you could restrict yourself to make it less. But you can restrict yourself at Republique. I’ve gone and just got pasta and salad and been fine. Admittedly t would be easier to do somewhere like MB Post but their cocktails are only maybe a buck or two less than Republique’s. 3 cocktails at either place with tip and tax will be about $50. Good cocktails always run up the bill in almost standardized pricing it seems.

Actually Suburbia could fit. Good cocktails and if you get the Loco Moco and dessert you can get out for $72. Reminds me I need to post about my recent trip there… But still… I guess for me that is nearly the same price conceptually. Maybe my own bias there since as I think about it, that’s almost a $30 swing haha But I also think you could easily go spend $100/person at any of those places, not sure if all dishes are as generous at the loco moco at Suburbi for example and it would quickly climb to $86 and then a $14 swig feels almost the same to me…

You would think it a place can offer $12 dishes you could offer $8 cocktails huh?


#73

I think it’s noticeably more expensive still between Republique and Tar & Roses.

Republique (from the latest menu that we just had):

  • Starters: More than half of them are $20 or more. In fact their cheapest starter is $16.
  • Pastas: $29 - $50!

Tar & Roses:

  • Starters: $9 - $17, with easily 75% or more of them are closer to the $10 range.
  • Pastas: $14 - 16

That’s not even close in comparison.

But yah, most places if you get 3 - 5 Cocktails (that’s splurging for us) as you say, would push your bill close or over the $100 range.

Thanks.


#74

No need to speak for them, since they don’t have cocktails at T&R!


#75

But they do at down the block sisterestaurant Santa Monica Yacht Club!


#76

Good to know @CiaoBob. :slight_smile:


#77

Ah, online Republique has starters that are as low as $12, many hors d’oeuvres at $12, and bread options ranging from $7-$9. Maybe the actual menu doesn’t have any of those anymore though? Still yeah, I am not sure why their pasta is priced so high even relative to other high-end pasta places and in general you’re right. I haven’t been to T&R in a while so wasn’t thinking straight. I never had pasta at T&R before, is it as good as Republiqe’s?


#78

Hi @Aesthete,

Oh there’s no doubt Republique is putting out amazing pasta, I agree with you and @Porthos. :slight_smile:

The last time we went to Tar & Roses the pasta we had was good, but it’s been awhile, so I don’t remember the details. And I wasn’t going in trying to compare it to any place in particular, just enjoying a relaxing dinner with visiting friends.


#79

Contrary to Petit Trois, Republique serves some ridiculously flavorful, if perhaps not totally authentic steak frites. They’ve modified their steak and fries program so that an NY strip is a separate item from the ribeye, and somehow $95 for steak frites felt slightly too high for me, so I opted for the NY strip to see how it was, and it was everything you could ask from a dry-aged NY strip. Funk and meat tartness with perfectly seared, crisp edges, juicy fat and blood flowing…mmm

Even better, the sunchoke puree, and au gratin spinach whipped with foie gras underneath it was absolutely stunning as an accompaniment to the beef, providing an earthy, almost nutty flavor from the silky sunchoke, and astringency laced with the savor of fatty liver in the spinach. Rather indelible.

Even though it doesn’t seem to need it, they still give you fries and aioli. The fries were perhaps a touch over crispy, but perfumed with a pungent herb blend, hot from the frier, and dipped in a touch of custardy aioli they made for the quintessentially comforting potato accompaniment to a steak main.

I was most pleased to see Georgian Saperavi on their wine list and decided to have a bottle to go with the steak. I love the funk of Georgian wines and am always happy when I see them listed.

With the steak and fries costing $56 pre-tax/tip, I still walked out spending $150 (I had a class of French Cahors before noticing the Saperavi bottle), but of course the bottle of wine is optional. Somehow I felt far happier dropping $73 on this steak and fries compared to the $57 at Petit Trois.

Republique remains a hopelessly grand place to while an evening away.


[Insert Food item] Program.... Why?
#80

Wow, that steak looks incredible. Did you order it med or med rare?