Update #2: After a few delays, L'Epicerie opened this morning. Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a happy hour every day of the week (4-7 p.m.) that features $4 glasses of wine and about 10 small plates for $4 each. Happy hour items include chicken wings confit, pig trotters in red wine and marinated octopus.
Update: The opening of L'Epicerie, which was slated for this Friday (November 19) has been pushed back, perhaps by two weeks. Look for an official opening after Thanksgiving on Nov. 29.
The French are invading -- or at least colonizing a swath of Culver City. Now that Ben Bailly has decamped from Petrossian to Fraiche, former Fraiche (and Riva) restaurateur Thierry Perez will officially open his newest concept, L'Epicerie, next Friday, November 19th. The venture is a combo market, wine shop and eatery.
Chef Daniel Carating, who worked at Beso with runaway groom Todd English, has designed a menu, under Perez's direction, of small and medium plates, take-away dinners offered in glass jars (meant to be boiled), sandwiches, pâtés and rillettes, light breakfast items, crepes, smoothies, breads and pastries. Look for monthly guest chef nights, kicking off in January with Sebastien Archambault of RH at the Andaz.
L'Epicerie will open early, 7 a.m. on weekdays, to catch the breakfast crowd. "There is only one breakfast place around here," Perez says, referring to S&W Country Diner, "and the lines are out the door."
As for the market portion of L'Epicerie, it's stocked with a mix of local and imported foodstuffs. Cowgirl Creamery cheeses; ice cream bars from Milk; imported mustards, jams, olive oils, etc.; house-made potted meats; take-away dinners in glass jars; and a slew of Perez's favorite products from his childhood.
"I am doing this for my 3-year old son," Peeze says. "I want him to eat the same things I ate when I was growing up." That was in Saint Pierre d'Irube, a village in France's Basque country, where Perez apparently snacked on Carambar caramels, Teisseire syrups, Pepito and La Barquette cookies, Suchard chocolates and Hollywood chewing gum. (Now you know how Hollywood tastes -- not sour and seedy but minty.)
The wine bar will have over 200 bottles, about half of them from the United States (mostly California) and the other split between France, Italy and Spain. Glasses range from $3 to $12, but Perez says he will open any bottle as long as you agree to buy at least two glasses.
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There's not yet much to see in the glass-walled eatery at the corner of Culver and Duquesne, but by Friday morning, Perez's newest venture should be open for business. How long he remains interested in it, is another matter.