It’s funny, I’ve seen République appear on a few “Best New Restaurant” type lists at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, but I haven’t thought of République as new for quite some time. I first visited the restaurant when it was actually new, in November 2013, the month it opened, and it quickly established itself as a go-to place for fantastic brunches and dinners. While I loved my first meal there–the côte de porc was amazing–it’s actually taken me a while to go back, mainly because it is so incredibly popular.
Thanks to the Reserve app, my wife and I managed to have a wonderful date night at République on a Saturday earlier this month.
‘Eggs on Toast’ I, soft-scrambled eggs, Santa Barbara uni [$16]: This being my wife’s first time here, we had to order this for her to try. When I had this on my first visit, I thought the bread was a bit too thick and the combination of egg and uni, while delicious, didn’t quite work together. Whatever they’ve done to tweak the recipe in the past year-plus has really made this a winning combination! The bread this time was lighter, and had a nice toast to it; I could even tell that it was buttered. The egg and uni played off each other much better this time as well.
(New, to me at least, on the menu was an ‘Eggs on Toast’ II option that was topped with Osetra caviar for twice the price.)
Ora King Salmon Crudo, citrus, Castelvetrano olives, celery, Umbrian lemon oil, tarragon [$18]: A gorgeous dish, but it was rather disappointing because we couldn’t taste the salmon at all! I’ve had Ora King salmon, a breed of king salmon sustainably raised in New Zealand, previously, and I remember it tasting great. However, for whatever reason we could hardly taste it. In fact, despite how wonderfully aromatic the ingredient list sounded, the entire dish was rather bland, unless you happened to get a bit of olive in your bite.
Charcuterie Board, for two [$14]: Having one hit and one miss so far, I really wanted a hit, and I definitely got that with the charcuterie board. This was one item I really wanted to order, but the starting price on the menu was $28 and serves four. Fortunately, our server said for a party of two, they do make a smaller board for half the cost! This makes it one of the most affordable charcuterie boards in town for the amount you get, and one of the best, quality-wise! The assorted pâtés & terrines (pork, duck, rabbit), salumi (prosciutto, salami), and pork rillette, is second to none, and it’s accompanied by a fruit chutney, olives, pickled vegetables, mustards, and an amazing crusty baguette from their bakery!
Tourte de Gibier, Sonoma duck, foie gras, wild mushrooms, blackberries [$36]: While I’m sure the duck was not wild, this “game pie” was still quite rustic and hearty. The foie gras and mushrooms give the filling a rich, deep flavor, which is balanced by the blackberry reduction. The crust was also perfectly golden brown, not too heavy, but also not too flaky!
Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake, chai milk tea chaser [$13]: Desserts are a bit on the pricey side here, but their bakery puts out some amazing pastries. Unfortunately, the chocolate cake was not quite as good as some of the other baked goods I’ve had there. It was by no means bad, but it just wasn’t anything special.
Lemon Mousse, tangerine granité, oro blanco sorbet [$11]: Saving the dessert round, this dish was a superb interplay of tart, sweet, and bittersweet, and completely refreshing–a great way to end the meal!
As mentioned above, we used Reserve to get a reservation at République. Originally we were told we’d be at a communal tall table, but when we arrived we were actually able to get a table for two in the back room. Not saying Reserve had anything to do with that. :-) At the end of the meal, we were just presented with a card stating our check was paid (we do receive an itemized receipt from Reserve in email)!
Here’s the deal on Reserve. Yes, the service charges a $5 concierge fee, but only if you get a table and only after you’ve completed your meal. So there’s no risk in trying for a reservation through the app! They’ve already partnered with some of the best restaurants in L.A., including Alma, Bestia, Melisse, Rustic Canyon, Tar & Roses, and, of course, République!
If you want to try Reserve for yourself, download it from the iOS App Store or Google Play. Create an account, and use promo code E18KGX in the app (Account, Payments, Add Promo Code) to get a $20 credit. Disclosure: I receive a referral credit once you complete your first dining experience through Reserve.
Reserve has been all over the news lately, with celebrity investors like will.i.am, Jon Favreau, and Jared Leto capping off some significant Series A venture capital funding. More recently, the app landed exclusive rights to offer reservations to the best restaurants at Coachella! Check them out!
Despite a few disappointments, we were still quite happy with our meal at République. The better dishes absolutely made up for the others. We will definitely come back, though fortunately I will have the opportunity to sample chef Walter Manzke’s cooking sooner rather than later!
Chef Manzke will be competing in COCHON 555‘s Los Angeles event this year, taking place at the Viceroy in Santa Monica on Sunday, March 29th. His competitors include chef Ricardo Zarate, formerly of Mo-Chica, Picca, and Paiche; chef Kris Morningstar of Terrine; chef Steve Fretz of The Church Key; and chef Tony DiSalvo of CAST at the Viceroy. I will be there to check out the action, and I will post about it, hopefully next week!
If you want to be there to see (and taste) for yourself, tickets are still available! Update: My COCHON 555 recap!
624 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036