It’s only been a few months since the end of JiRaffe’s 18-year run in Santa Monica, but chef Raphael Lunetta's beloved Cal-French bistro fare has been resurrected across town — at none other than Taix in Echo Park.
Lunetta had cited a need for growth when closing JiRaffe, which he co-owned with Josiah Citrin — and promised a new restaurant in the old JiRaffe space, which has yet to materialize. Lunetta then resurfaced this month for DineLA, Los Angeles' Summer Restaurant Week. In partnership with Taix, a long-standing, third-generation-owned French-country restaurant, Lunetta created two DineLA menus: a two-course $20 lunch and a three-course $30 dinner, which are both available through July 26.
The DineLA collaboration also marks the beginning of Lunetta's new consulting gig at the old-school Sunset Boulevard eatery and the start of what a Taix rep says will be an upcoming collaborative project between the restaurant and chef.
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If the project is anything like Lunetta's DineLA menu — which includes herbed gnocchi with rock shrimp, grilled ahi tuna with baby bok choy and steamed Prince Edward Island mussels with summer zucchini ribbons — you can expect some of the Lunetta touch as opposed to the restaurant's otherwise traditional offerings of frogs legs Provençal and veal blanquettes.
The California-born Francophile's food is heavily influenced by the straightforward, seafood-heavy southern French cuisine he got to know during childhood summers. Lunetta's offerings at Taix are reminiscent of the laid-back, surfer-meets-chef approach to classic French food that Lunetta practiced for the better part of two decades on the Westside.
For now, the regular menu at Taix remains unchanged. You'll have to order off the DineLA menu to get a taste of Lunetta's fare.