If you're tired of Tender Greens, Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken, Sushi Zo, Sushi Karen and the numerous Thai/Chinese restaurants in Culver City, Fraîche might be a great option – with a lunch menu that fits snugly under $15. Frank Bruni of New York Times rated Fraîche as his #6 favorite 'coast-to-coast' restaurant, and stated that he could eat their salads everyday. I've been passing by this place for months and it wasn't until Jeni told me how much she liked the food, that I decided to give, Fraîche, a little attention. This is the kind of place that would make Rachael Ray flash her vibrant, $40-a-day, Joker-like smile. That smile.
I met up my friend TN, aka TyTown, on a Friday afternoon here at Fraîche, who's been a fan ever since having dinner here. And joining us, was our new Canon 40D only a few days old. Jeni & I had our Nikon D70 stolen during a trip to the Quintana Roo-side of Mexico. Under-$15 meal, long lunch break with beer, perfect daylight, and a new Canon – conditions were perfect. Oh yeah, and lunch with a good friend.
I usually don't pay this much attention to such commonplace objects like plates, forks and knives. But they served as perfect subjects for practice shots.
And have you ever heard of this thing known as bread. Apparently it's made of flour, yeast, oil and salt. Mixed together and baked at a certain temperature, it takes shape into this! Apparently, Jesus was a big fan of this. Seriously, more practice-shot fodder.
Any lunch break that is bound to last more than a hour and a half is usually preceded by a nice, crisp beer. Forgot the name of this, but maybe my beer connoisseur friend can guess it's name simply by looking at it.
Burrata Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers & Balsamic
We started out with this per Jeni's recommendation. I can never say no to such a soft, roll-your-eyes-back cheese like burrata. The burrata cheese is dolloped generously over vibrant, red peppers, still shiny from lounging in a pool of high quality EVOO. Garnished with thinly-sliced red onions and parsley, and drizzled with the Italian equivalent of soy sauce. Thought this was very good, but definitely not the best burrata I've eaten. This was a bit more 'cottage-cheese' like in texture but still retained creaminess.
Royale with Cheese
Any fan of Pulp Fiction will do a double take upon seeing this written in the menu. The sound of it immediately causes you to salivate. The prime beef patty is served with gruyere cheese in a sage/cheese bread which resembles a scone. Condiments are served on the side. I loved this, especially the bread. It was the perfect balance of sage and cheese and exhibited a nice toastiness to it. As an LA burger, I put this in line right after Father's Office' burger. Not sure how it compares to The Counter or Apple Pan, so if there are any burger connoisseurs, would love to hear what you think. I myself only eat 3-4 burgers a year.
These are fries done nicely... 36-24-36 fries. Fried beautifully with skin still on. And the perfect amount – about 25-30 pieces. I hate when a restaurant dumps a crap load of Sysco french fries next to a burger or two pieces of battered fish. Proportions are good!
Fish. Olives. Anchovies. Eggs. I'm sold. You can separate these individually in a tray and I'd still be happy. This was one wholesome looking sandwich. Thick cut of nicely-seared albacore, salty anchovies, olives and my favorite, eggs. This was good but probably my last time ordering this. The tuna was cut a little too thick and didn't have enough salt. Where is my Maggi sauce when I need it?
Overall, this is one solid lunch spot. With food that looks like this, you'd expect a lot of tilted heads and raised nostrils – not one bit. I felt like I was on vacation here... enjoying my food and crisp beer. And the best thing about it is that the lunch menu is pretty much under $15. Now I have a place to celebrate paycheck-day!
9411 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232