really bad service, really impressive space, very good pork belly, impeccable wait staff, pretty good pigs ears, rich courses, good option
French bistro was one of the first to liven up the downtown dining scene and is still an industry favorite.
Service is always on point and the servers and bartenders are well educated and informed about their menu items and drinks.
Enjoyable French bistro cuisine in the artsy industrial part of downtown LA. Perfect for a date night or special occasion dinner. The oysters are wonderful as are the escargot.
A true California French bistro with great energy. The duck is succulent, charcuterie is massive. Oysters, mussels and an impressive wine list make this a great spot.
Chef Berlin brings cuisine that is French in theory but California in style. Mussels that are delectable, cocktails that send your taste buds soaring, an impressive wine selection, escargot bathed in a pastry puff, and a charcutterie board that I'd keep going back for, this is a welcome LA stop.
Citysearch Editorial Review. Appropriately situatued on Industrial Street in Downtown Los Angeles, this one-time loading dock for Nabisco has been transformed into a striking French brasserie. Though originally launched by Steve Arroyo of Malo and Cobras & Matadors fame, the space is now run by Yassmin Sarmadi with chef Walter Manzke helming the kitchen. Strings of light bulbs hang from the vaulted ceilings with exposed pipes, while the crimson and white brick walls add to the lofty feel. Smoky silver mirrors and small burnt orange lamps lend an intimate vibe for the adventurous foodies and Art District hipsters grabbing a cocktail at the bar (try the Fragrant Red Flower made with gin, Campari, Cointreau and lemon) or sipping from the restaurant's collection of more than 40 French wines. As for the food, the huge open kitchen provides a clear view of the white-coat chefs whipping up dishes like Noix de St. Jacques (scallops, frisee, mushrooms and citrus) and poulet roti (roasted chicken and polenta), charcuterie plates and escargot.
Over-rated by a mile.
We liked the ambaince but the food was imitation French brasserie and the service was really bad.
We had to ask our waitress for beer/wine three times - was she in AA trying to dissuade us from alcohol? When the manager came by and asked "how is everything" we commented the duck was too salty and an awfully small portion to boot. He said sorry and offered nothing to make it better.
When we left and my partner used the restroom, I went to the front of the restaurant and the very same manager asked "May I seat you"? He did not recall we were the very same people with whom he had spoken. He said, "Oh, I was going to send over a desert but forgot". No need ever to come back.
Where eating pigs ears seems completely normal.
It could have been any of the dishes I sampled at Church & State on Friday night -- the crusty warm French baguette with glossy butter, the escargots with puff pastry, the two-foot long charcuterie plate, the meaty duck breast with kumquats and Brussel Sprouts, or even the humble short rib.
It could have been the impeccable service -- the waiters and wait staff that doted upon our four-top with an air that was decidely un-French.
And it could have been the charm of dining in a polished, yet fast-moving bistro in what many might describe as "the middle of nowhere" Downtown LA.
As it were, however, the memory that dominates the entire Chuch & State experience for me is the pigs ears -- fried gelatinous triangles that are kind of gross and kind of good at the same time.
Great Lunch at Church & State.
I dropped by last Friday for lunch. It's not the sort of place to go if you have a strict lunch hour. They treated our lunch like dinner service. There was no rush on anything. Our server didn't take our order for probably 20 minutes and then the bread arrived shortly after that.
The food is very good with somewhat average prices for a restaurant of this caliber. Prices are only shocking when you think the restaurant is in the middle of nowhere downtown.
My picks are for the sides including the brussel sprouts with dates and chili as well as the creamy mac and cheese.
Street parking is available but there is also a nearby lot.
A piece of NY in LA.
There is no reason for me to dislike downtown. Really. I mean aside from the fact that I came from cities with far superior downtowns such as San Francisco, Hong Kong, and yes even Fort Worth, TX (oh burn.) While I understand that downtown is going through major renovation and quickly becoming the hub for the younger It crowd, isn't it like 20 years too late? The buildings are gorgeous, the Church and State space is magnificent. But what are they going to do about the walkability factor? The stretches of spaces where there's..nothing? Yea, go ahead call me a cynical snob. (lols. I initially typed cuntical which would have been appropriate too)
So back to C & S, the space as I mentioned is really impressive. Huge open kitchen. Décor = Industrial + Old Money + Kitchsy/Gorgeously Antiquated. The restaurant was ridiculously packed for a weekday so we snagged two chairs at the bar.
For appetizers, we ordered the Moelle de Boeuf (roasted bone marrow) and fried pigs ears. Fat alert. The bone marrow came with bread and radishes to cut the fat but omg it was ridiculously rich and fatty. To the point where you can't have more than a couple bites (and I eat all kinds of fatty unhealthy crap.) The pigs ears was pretty good. Still fatty tho.
Here's where I fail. You would think that after two rich courses I'd go with something light like...fish. Or something veggie based but no.....I decided to go with pork belly as my main. Oh you fatty whore. The pork belly luckily was very good - crisp but melt in your mouth. The corn accompaniment paired well and the pork belly was well cooked. Kudos. I tried some of my friend's duck leg and potatoes and it was really good. Probably the better choice between the two.
Note: Considering that this is still considered a bistro with a limited menu, prices are decently cheap so it's definitely a good option for downtown folks to come have a beer or some wine after work.
I actually came on recommendation from a friend who had lauded this as one of his favorite places to eat with 'orgasmic' food, but I have to say... He eats MY food all the time and touts it equally amazing also, so to be fair he probably doesn't have the most discerning palette.
Did you see how I totally shatted on his tastebuds, gave myself a backhanded compliment, AND insulted the restaurant all at once. Cuntastic I know.
Amazing Sunday Dinner. Some friends and I went to Church and State for their 'Church Dinner' special: $39 for 3 courses plus a dessert tray for the table. Every course was better than the last. We started with fresh bread topped by bacon butter, followed by squash soup, salad, and alternately the fried chicken, steak and bouillabaisse. From tasty surprises (the cauliflower with cream sauce was amazing and unexpected) to the great ambiance you really can't go wrong with this gem downtown.
Mostly Good. OVER ALL: C&S was pretty good and I'll go there again. Most of the food was flavorful and carefully prepared. THE STAFF: Mixed. Good sommelier, terrible bartender and strange waiter. We were the first to arrive so we sat at the bar for a drink. The bartender was MIA, then when she finally got there she managed to ignore us for a good ten minutes, even though we were the only ones without a drink at the bar. When we finally got her attention she was rude for no reason and mixed us a couple of extremely sub-par mojitos. This was particularly strange since the bar wasn't even that busy and it was or first interaction at the place. Really set up a bad mood for the evening. Our waiter was a bit goofy which would have been fine except we were having a serious dinner with the in-laws and it was a bit inappropriate. Luckily the food made up for that a bit. THE FOOD: The charcuterie, made in house, was a real highlight. We tried 4 dishes: Duck Confit, also made in house, was to die for. Steak Frites was equally delicious and cooked medium rare just like we wanted. A pork dish that I didn't try, looked good and our friend ate it all. The Bouillabaisse sadly was a major let down. Bland soup base, overcooked shrimp, and a very unpleasant fishy odor. normally I love love the smell of a fish dish coming to the table, but this was awful. WE had to send it back and we just ended up share the three first dishes. we ended the meal with a cheese plate that was fresh and yummy. Tried and full we head out to the adjacent parking lot, just to find ourselves ( and another couple) LOCKED OUT. A small sign indicated that we should go back to the restaurant and get a key. 10 minutes later the manager showed up and buzzed us in. Very unpleasant and seemingly unnecessary. Just hire the garage guy to stay open a few more hours how much could that possibly cost?
Check It Out!. wanted to take my friend out for a nice, but not tooo expensive dinner. and wanted to go to a place that ive heard of, but never been. we decided on church & state. im not mad at the location. i actually enjoy the fact that our downtown is actually looking like a downtown should. the addition of C&S definately adds to the potential of what downtown LA could hopefully be one day. anyway. the food here is really great. i highly recommend the sea bass. very tasty, and melts in your mouth. we made a reservation for 8pm on a friday night, and were seated by 8:01pm. the service was really good. our waiter was friendly, and always let his presence be known, without over doing it. we had a great time. the noise levels are fine. we were able to have a great conversation, with some great wine and food. although the desrt looked good, we were too full to try. our total bill was $85, and that was with a $32 bottle of wine. the ONLY negative, if any, would be the parking situation. on a busy night you could find yourself in a dark alley in the industrial part of downtown. but we were fine. and there are enough people in that area to feel safe. hope this review is helpfull. and go try C&S!
Hidden gem in Downtown LA!. Don't get thrown off by the surrounding neighborhood; Church and State is a hidden gem in the industrial part of downtown Los Angeles. Great vibe, great decor, great service. Our group enjoyed everything we ordered: marinated olives, mac 'n cheese, green beans, French onion soup, grilled cheese, lamb, sea bass, vegetarian casserole, apple crumble, and pistachio/cherry tart. All highly recommended. There were options for vegetarians as well, and the waitress was very helpful in pointing them out. We'll definitely be back!
Where's the flavor?. We were really excited to go here for my friends birthday, but were all a bit underwhelmed. The food was lacking in flavor (except the bacon wrapped fish - which I fully concede was delicious). Our waiter, nor the menu, told us that the sides were a la carte, so we didn't know to order anything else. Unfortunately, being a party of 7, we were seated right next to the open kitchen. By the end of the night my eyes were burning from the fumes and we all smelled like we had sat IN the kitchen. The atmosphere of the place was great, but I think I'd rather check out the enligh pub across the street before I head back here.
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