Can a restaurant retain its mojo, not to mention its clientele, when the chef departs for greener (or, at least, different) pastures?
The dining landscape is strewn with shuttered bistros, brasseries and steak houses – once flourishing dining destinations that could not maintain their momentum once their founding chef had left.
A good example would be Church & State, a bistro in downtown Los Angeles which has been through two kitchen rebuildings in its relatively short existence. It was the second chef, Walter Manzke, who brought the place to life and developed a following.
When he departed, so did many of his loyal fans. Some of them probably never will come back.
Their loss. Manzke’s replacement, Joshua Smith, finally has finished making the menu his own, and it now features tasty dishes such as cervelle de canut, tart aux blettes and North Sea cod with a potato puree dabbed with duck confit.
And here’s great news for wine lovers: The wine list has been enhanced considerably, now much more in tune with the menu.
If you happen to find yourself in downtown L.A., the new and improved Church & State is worth checking out. For reservations and directions, call 213-405-1434.