Church and State - the old and forgotten

Ate here this past weekend and had such a good meal. They’re celebrating 10 years this year and seems to be all but forgotten in our community. On a Saturday night at 6:45pm, they were busy but we were able to walk in (party of 4) without a reservation and grab a table outside.

Didn’t take any pictures but here’s what we ordered:

Baguette with butter - baguette was really good (notch below Republique), butter was ok
Frisee salad - Awesome with perfectly cooked runny egg
Onion Soup - Awesome
Beef tarare - really nice beefy flavor with a slight kick in the spice department. The accompanying salad was also really nice and cut through the richness of the beef really well.
Boar ragu pasta - Forgot the name of the pasta but was definitely fresh made in house and cooked really well. Had some curry flavor profile which I didn’t expect. Was good but maybe my least favorite dish of the night.
Duck confit cassoulet - Everyone should be running to try this dish! Insanely good and at $27 (pre tip and tax and uber), a crazy good value as well.

All washed down with a nice bottle of french red.

Too full for desserts.

I’m not sure who’s manning the kitchen here these days but the cooking is super solid. Compared to my recent dinner at Bestia, this dinner for 2 more people (granted very small people) was less than half the price and enjoyment factor was pretty damn close.


I’ve always enjoyed Church and State. Super solid stuff and agree on their baguette!

That’s a shame. Given today’s restaurant scene, I guess 10 years is one hell of a run though.

Seems crazy how difficult it is to run a successful restaurant for long periods of time.

Not closing but sold, but in our current restaurant environment where Chef and Restaurateur seems to matter, would this affect you going or not going?

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Depends on what happens to the food after. See: Europane


Church & State officially closes after tonight so off I went.

I have mixed feelings tonight. Being the last day of service, the restaurant was packed to the gills when I arrived at around 7:30 and I was greeted by no other than Tony Esnault himself.Overall, the food (the ones that came anyway) was excellent in general but service was a hot mess.

Problem #1: Water was left empty half the night never refilled unless I ask, but I had a hard time flagging down anyone the whole night. Also, nobody gave a shit about all the empty plates left on our table. I had to ASK my server to remove an empty charcuterie board that had been sitting on our table for an hour.

Problem #2: One of my escargot was missing and after 40+ minutes of waiting for a promised replacement, I simply gave up.

Problem #3 I ordered 6 items total and the first 5 came out in a timely manner within the first hour but my duck course never came after waiting for 40+ minutes so I canceled it and asked for the check. It was ridiculous as we spent 2 hours total here…

Problem #4 When the check came, none of the prices matched what was shown on the menu I received (see menu #1 below) and pricing was 10 to 20% higher on every item. So when I questioned the server, she came back with the manager who handed me a menu with higher prices and told me that the menu I got with the lower prices was yesterday’s menu! At that point, I was really fed up and just said “Oh. Okay.” and paid the bill. Needless to say, I left Church & State with a very bitter taste in my mouth… What would you guys have done?

Today’s menu or so I thought…

Baguette | fleur de sel butter
Excellent with crunchy exterior and a soft and slightly chewy interior but I do agree with @tailbacku that this is a notch below Republique’s since it’s not as moist.

French Onion Soup | gruyere, emmentaler, crostini

Deeply beefy and flavorful with the caramelized cheese and broth-soaked crostini creating multiple layers of complementing flavors and textures.

Charcuterie Board | chicken liver mousse, pate de campagne, pork rillettes, cured belly, bresaola, lonzino

Escargot | parsley-garlic butter, puff pastry
One of the 6 pieces has no escargot! WTF!

Streak Frites | Strauss grass-fed flat iron, sauce bearnaise
Steak is cooked perfectly. It’s tender and immensely beefy.

Apparently, THIS is the menu that I was suppose to get and the menu I ordered off of is yesterday’s menu.

I’m guessing they were under -staffed both front and back, because people found new jobs. I really don’t get raising your prices on the last day, though. That’s so tacky.

Aren’t you an Angeleno? Why didn’t you have a bottle of water in your bag for emergencies like this? What if there was an earthquake?!

if they refused to honor the prices on the menu they gave you, i would take it out of the tip. that’s pretty dirty. almost as bad as charging $10 for raw onions.


Ironic the manager’s idea of a resolution and the restaurant being their last night…

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I brought my camera for FTC instead :wink:


That would’ve left me pretty p*ssed off, too. I actually don’t know how I would’ve handled it b/c it’s such a strange situation. Probably would’ve done what you did b/c what else can you really do (although @PorkyBelly idea of stiffing on the tip is a pretty good one, since it seems like service was stinky for you all night long)? Make a scene? Write a bad review?

I think the way staff handled it was really disgusting. So sorry you had a gross experience like that b/c that can ruin the evening, no matter how good the food is.

I left a 10% tip. In retrospect, it’s too high.

What credit card did you put it on? You have your receipt still? You have a picture of a menu with prices as well as prices on a receipt that are higher. Sounds like a great case for a charge-back!

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I wouldn’t have gone to a closing restaurant. That’s what I’d have done. :p. Sorry it was a mess.


There seems to be some funny business going about here. But given @moonboy403’s experience, maybe it should stay closed.

Tony Esnault is opening another restaurant at the South Coast Plaza toward the end of June so perhaps an OC-based FTCer can report back.

Bill Chait & Taylor Parsons Bring Back Church & State

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It it me? Or it is a tad unreasonable to say that $60 per person is a “relatively approachable weeknight meal?”
Even some of my well-off friends would consider that a weekend spend and not a weeknight thing.