After weeks of laying bricks, tiles and doing other masonry work, Papilles grand opened today, December 19th. The first week’s menu goes something like this:
Salad of Root Vegetables: beets, Fuyu (not a root vegetable, but seasonal, and tasty), parsnip, all mandolined thin, tossed with some frisee, and some light citrus. It’s finished off with ruby pom seeds. Yes, you can do it up at home, but let’s just first rejoice this isn’t another pureed parsnip soup. In LA, where salads are eaten all year round, where cassoulets are served during summer, where nubile girls rock scarfs with miniskirts, a plate of shaved beets can be the perfect first course even in winter. It’s more fitting for a prix fixe menu in Los Angeles, circa December, than say.. seared tuna. Sadly, if you visited Papilles today, you weren’t offered this plate of modified crudites.
Tahitian squash veloute, tahitian squash foam, pomegranate, however, was on the menu tonight…
To quote a whisper from Papille’s quaint space: “I can drink a bottle of this. All 16 ounces at once.” For those who aren’t as obsessed with creamy soups during a “freezing” LA evening, the alternative being served is: “house cured and smoked opa [sic] belly, creme fraiche, egg, pickled onion “. Cured and smoked fish belly from deep-water species, done up all Jewish-like, by a chef who loves sea fishing? Someone go take a picture of this tonight.
This week’s prix fixe is set at $28, and the mains are:
Braised Veal Cheeks with Polenta
Everyone was a big fan of the first iteration of braised beef cheeks. Chef Carey says this is something that’s sure to “stick your ribs”; we say keep it on the menu. The garnish is zested orange, and it takes away some of the heaviness without diminishing the satisfaction found in a slow roasted cut of inglorious beef. The gooey unctiousness can be cut away by partaking in the carafes of red (or white?) offered at Papilles. At this moment, only 1 choice of each is offered by the carafe, as Uy would really like the 2 of you to share a bottle of wine. Contrary to earlier reports, there will be no optional wine pairings.
The other entree was a filet of trout with quinoa, beets, and nettle reduction:
Again, chef Carey divulged his love for sea fishing, and let it be know he was initially put off by the thought of this freshwater fish. However, after the recipe testing, he was delighted by the fishmonger’s selection. The debuting fish was perfectly cooked, with every square inch of the skin crisped, while the gently salted morsels underneath remained moist. This, too, is part of the $28 3 course prix-fixe. True to the Parisian style, slightly fancier proteins will be offered as supplements.
To finish, one may chose a dessert or a cheese court. Poached pear with vanilla ice cream trumped the Spanish Mahon cheese. If one wishes, both can be had for a slight bump in price ($35 vs. $28).
As the diners conversed with the chef and restaurateur, random neighboring residents dropped by, already curious about day 1. Let’s hope everyone can imbibe the spirit of bistronomy instead of a bespoken menu. Yes, 2 cliched hipster words were used in a same sentence.
6221 Franklin Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
** Just like 2011, the shills are almost over. Will return to Papilles on own dime ASAP, don’t fret.