There's a different cassoulet almost every night, sometimes with pork sausage and duck, other times with roasted winter vegetables. But whichever version is available, the beans are cooked through, not always a given in this town.
It's a late-night crowd downtown, with more and more people filtering in as the night wears on. Some come for a glass of wine and a steak tartare or some frites at the bar. Others come to try the absinthe setup or wait for a table.
I can imagine people slipping in for a dessert too, maybe a slice of that brown butter tart dotted with dried sour cherries and served with a billowy kirsch sabayon. Or maybe the tangerine pot de crème with the lilt of citrus to lift the sweetness.
Let's hope Manzke stays, because with Arroyo's sense of fun and Manzke's deft French cooking, Church & State has the heart and soul of a true French bistro married to an authentic sense of place: Los Angeles.
Church & State
LOCATION1850 Industrial St., Los Angeles; (213) 405-1434; www.churchandstatebistro.com.
AMBIENCELively bistro in what was once the loading dock of the 1925 National Biscuit Co. building. Church & State rocks for the ambience and the food.
SERVICEFriendly and persuasive.
PRICEOysters, $26 a dozen; charcuterie plate $14; hors d'oeuvres, $3 to $19; salads, $9 to $12; main courses, $11 to $26; sides, $6; cheese selection, $12 to $18; desserts, $7 to $8.
BEST DISHESFlammenküche, smoked salmon tart, escargots, roasted marrow bone, herring salad, charcuterie plate, endive salad, roast chicken, steak frites, cassoulet, pommes frites au lard, tangerine pot de crème, cherry tart.
WINE LISTCould have more interesting choices. Corkage fee, $15.
One in the front window.
DETAILSOpen for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and for dinner 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 6 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Full bar. Guarded lot parking, $4.
Rating is based on food, service and ambience, with price taken into account in relation to quality. ****: Outstanding on every level. ***: Excellent. **: Very good. *: Good. No star: Poor to satisfactory.