While La Cachette is no stranger to Southern California, its latest incarnation, La Cachette Bistro, is the new kid on the block on Santa Monica’s illustrious Ocean Avenue. Surrounded by high-profile beach resorts and everything from treasured local dives and up-and-coming eateries, La Cachette flourishes on Ocean Avenue for it’s direct and simple approach to traditional French bistro cuisine. However, executive chef Jean-Francois isn’t just dishing out the French classics straight from Julia Child’s cookbooks. Jean-Francois, affectionately called JF by regulars, offers a new and exciting take on everything from moules frittes to their decadently rich sea of Cortez bouillabaisse.
I won’t lie. At first, I was a skeptic. You see, Los Angeles seems to be going through this insane bistro phase. Everyone wants to do French, and the people who have been doing French in this city for years and years are finally meeting their match. Younger, more daring chefs are coming up with the most ridiculous menus; putting their own spin on what is essentially Parisian comfort food. Do you really think French people eat Steak Frittes every day? In any case, it’s easy for someone to get sick of all these places, especially when a handful of them don’t even deserve to be open. There’s some pretty offensive bistro food out there people, but trust me, La Cachette does not disappoint. JF is also very involved in every aspect of his restaurant. Not only is he the chef and owner, but he is also in charge of selecting the finest and freshest produce from local Farmer’s Markets; often inviting Facebook friends along to see how to process works. There is no secret in his ingredients, either. You ask, and he’ll most likely tell.
Boyfriend and I went to La Cachette for an impromptu romantic date this week. We had a Groupon lying around the house and were recovering from a fun weekend with friends from out of town. I had a mean craving for steak frittes and so we moseyed on over to Santa Monica (amazing that there was no traffic AT ALL), and made it in time for our 8:30 dinner reservation. The space is beautiful; very classic looking with dim lights and beautiful mosaic tile accentuating the area around the stand-alone bar. We were seated at a booth next to some large-scale reproductions of vintage French advertisements and were promptly served some amazing French bread. I ordered a glass of their Domaine Pinot Noir– a 2007 French wine, which I cannot remember the specific name of this glass as I had originally ordered the Domaine Demessey, but they had decided to switch to a different wine from the same vineyard. The wine was great. A nice medium-body with a slightly floral finish that could have actually paired with everything on the menu.
Our food came out after just a little bit of time, and both dishes were amazing. While my steak frittes was a no-frills type of plate, the fries were very good—like McDonald’s comforting shoestring fries kind of good. I know McDonald’s is kind of a scary place, but you can’t possibly tell me that their fries aren’t comforting. The steak, which I ordered medium-well, was a fillet cut that was perfectly seasoned and served with a brandied peppercorn sauce. Whenever I order medium-well, I almost always get it medium or medium-rare. This time, it was perfect and it took no effort to cut the steak with one fell swoop of my knife.
Ryan got Sea of Cortez Gambas Flambees with Pastis, served with Garlic Butter and Pommes Croquettes and it was so colorful and amazing looking. He devoured it and was surprised that it was actually a very filling meal.
For dessert, because you can’t go to these places and resist dessert, we got the Chocolate Chip Divine cake, which was incredibly moist and covered in melted chocolate and served with a dollop of their house-made crème Chantilly.
La Cachette Bistro is located at
1733 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401