on 10/01/15 at 6:47 pmSpirits, Wine
By D.R. Stewart
When the inevitable moron tries to run down LA with a passel of cliches he thinks he invented — I must remember this moment at Terrine. I am with the Managing Partner/Wine Director, François Renaud. We are sipping the Jack Rose cocktail, anchored by Germain-Robin Apple Brandy and created by the architect of their Bar Program — Ryan Wainwright. I say how apples in winter always remind me that “I’m just an Ohio kid at heart.”
“I’m just a kid from Normandy,” Renaud says (which sounds a lot more glamorous to me, but he gives it an equivalent rustic tinge) and then pulls up his sleeve to show off his apple tattoo. The great news is that the staff at Terrine are as rad as their restaurant.
Terrine sits on Beverly at Sweetzer, squarely in the upscale restaurant row that includes Jar and Milk. In fact, tonight at Terrine I spot the red-headed dude from Modern Family, Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
The patio is cozy and another one of those things LA excels at, the casual setting for elevated cuisine. Terrine is the name of a classic French cooking vessel that often houses Pâté.
Co-Owner Stephane Bombet says this dish is very iconic of Brasseries culture, but Renaud chimes in that they want to take classic Brassiere fare and “turn it on its head.” When you say Brassiere to this Ohio kid, I still think a poke at the Onion Soup is required and Terrine’s run at it is glorious. The chef Kris Morningstar, has mentioned that the onions have more sugar content here in the US, so you have to be vigilant for your savory to top the palate hierarchy.
They have Hama Hama Oysters, so Francois suggests the Sauvignon menetou-salon 2012, from Jean Tellier. Francois says this is grown just south of Sancerre country and is an overlooked region. The sauv compliments the oysters as predicted and I’m ready to try some more whiskey drinks.
The whiskey sour comes with a speared morello cherry that is called a “Traiteur” and is artisanally sourced from Griottines. The cherry bark bitters are BitterCube Midwest and the egg whites get both a dry and raw shake to foster the froth of yore. I can’t grow a beard, but if I could join the Hipster Horde, this would be the perfect froth to adorn my natty whiskers. I finish my whiskey flight with essentially Terrine’s take on a Jack & Ginger. The Cynar and grand artichoke bitters gives it herby-fresh wings.
The wine list is pretty reasonable for a restaurant of this ilk, with a range of around $48 to $175. The Côte de bœuf checks in at $95 per (and it was as magnificent as anything I’ve ever had at Cut), but there’s also a reasonable Bavette Steak for $27. Chef and Co-owner Morningstar is from MOMA, and if you check this from the BoozeNews archives you can see that for some reason museums are fertile grounds for culinary cherubs. Ryan Wainwright, the aforementioned barchitect comes from Tasting Kitchen, and co-creator Stephane Bombet recently launched Faith and Flower with Chef Michael Hung.
I do have to go back to François Renaud. Here he is in that stellar courtyard lauded above.
He was a rock critic guy from way back, writing for the predecessor to our Rolling Stone — France’s Rock & Folk, and then eventually working for the Rolling Stone out of Paris.
His critical aesthetic extends beyond music — the wine list here, heavy with the fruits of France’s labor should attract a following. My particular fav of the evening was the cote de bordeaux 2012, duc des nauves, from Chateaux Le Puy. It opened up like a divorcee’s legs and was the perfect partner for the Côte de bœuf. Downtown should not have all the fun on world class cuisine and this westside gem is certainly in the running for one of 2015′s brightest new Morningstars (sorry, couldn’t resist Chef Morningstar).