Again we are in Culver City, where new, vaguely Mediterranean-influenced restaurants multiply like roly-poly bugs after a rain. And again, we are in the presence of stripped brick, an open kitchen, an ambitious wine list rich in Rhones, and women who wear interesting eyeglasses and eat blood sausage instead of tofu. But Fraîche, the new project from Thierry Perez and chef Jason Travi, who between them have worked at many of the best restaurants in Los Angeles and New York, and who opened (but are no longer involved with) Bottle Rock right next door, is clearly a restaurant of love and obsession, from the meticulous plateaux de mer that rival the majestic displays of shellfish at Parisian brasseries to Travi’s house-cured guanciale, from the careful juiciness of the Kurobuta pork chop with violet mustard to the subtle sweetness of the rabbit tortelli with brown butter, to the sweet delicacy of the smoked eel in a salad with arugula and mint. Fraîche is already a tough reservation, but there is a separate bar area where you can drink “sangria” concocted from Grey Goose and farmers-market strawberries soaked in Grand Marnier, inhale giant portions of mussels and fries, and pound a Fernet-Branca when it all becomes too much. 9411 Culver Blvd., Culver City, (310) 839-6800 or www.fraicherestaurantla.com.
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