Gallic charm in Culver City
Get ready for a French invasion this summer. Of the many bistros and brasseries slated to open in the coming months, Le Saint Amour in Culver City leads the charge. Owners Florence and Bruno Herve-Commereuc used to have that adorable little Angelique Cafe in the Fashion District downtown where you could pop in (provided the parking gods were with you) at lunch for some house-made charcuterie and a salad, followed by a slice of tart and coffee. Very civilized. (They sold the cafe in 2006.)
Now, they’ve taken the wraps off their new Culver City brasserie, Le Saint Amour. With its red awnings and broad sidewalk terrace in front, the place cuts quite the Gallic figure along Culver City’s restaurant row. And it certainly looks the part, outfitted with banquettes, a long bar and the requisite cafe tables and chairs. It’s just missing the haze of yellowed smoke on the walls and Madame behind the counter dispensing Armagnac and absinthe.
The menu is very French, your waiter will tell you almost apologetically, ready to assure you that it’s all delicious -- even the blood sausage and the andouillette (tripe sausage). No worries.
This is straight-ahead French food just like you’d find in any classic big-city brasserie: big bowls of onion soup, a lovely endive salad with Roquefort and walnuts, duck confit, roasted chicken, salmon in sorrel cream. It’s all here.
Bruno, who is the chef, makes his own terrine de foie gras and other charcuterie. Escargots are decked out in the typical garlic-parsley butter. A fine tarte flambee (sort of an Alsatian pizza) is covered in satiny soft leeks. You could start, slowly, with a slew of appetizers, taking in the sidewalk scene, lingering over conversation. At least outside, it’s quiet enough to talk, which is not always the case at some of the trendier restaurants along Culver Boulevard.
Culinary fireworks aren’t in order here, just good, solid cooking. The most rustic dishes are really the most unusual for Los Angeles, such as the Toulouse pork sausage with lentils or the boudin noir (blood sausage) with mashed potatoes and apple compote. Vegetarians, though, don’t get many main course choices, just a vegetable plate or pasta.
But when you can get a perfect creme caramel for dessert, and even practice your French, pas de probleme.
Le Saint Amour
Where: 9725 Culver Blvd. (at Duquesne Avenue), Culver City.
When: Open 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Parking in public lot and on street.
Price: Dinner salads, $8 to $10; appetizers, $6 to $12; main courses, $15 to $24; sides, $6 to $7; dessert, $7. Lunch main course salads, $12 to $14; sandwiches, $12 to $13; main courses, $12 to $16.
Contact: (310) 842-8155; www.lesaintamour.com.
Summer Hot List
The Guide is now Hot List, your tipsheet for comprehensive listings of SoCal entertainment. Visit Summer Hot List for more on restaurant Le Saint Amour, photos of the Monday all-ages club Spin the Bottle, other event listings, reader reviews and more.