One of the buzziest restaurants in Los Angeles right now is République.
After seeing quite a few drool-worthy photos, I knew I wanted to visit. République is a joint collaboration by popular Chef Walter Manzke, his wife Pastry Chef Margarita Manzke (they also have several cafes in the Philippines), and restauranteur Bill Chait.
My friend reserved the coveted seats at the Chef’s counter, four individual seats that give you an up and close look at the kitchen action while dining.
The seats were so close that we were actually feeling quite a lot of heat from the fire pit. It was a little uncomfortably warm, but it was still worth it to watch the live action. If you do book these seats, I recommend dressing lightly or wearing layers you can easily remove.
Eggs on Toast (Santa Barbara Uni, soft scrambled eggs)
This was my favorite dish of the night. It was so wondrous that I still dream about it. The decadent, creamy and subtly sweet uni melted perfectly into the soft scrambled eggs. A dash of spice rounded out the dish. I think a true judge of how good a dish is executed is if it can turn even a hater into a fan. Mr. K has never really cared for uni, but he adored this dish as much as I did. I need to get my hands on some quality Santa Barbara Uni and try to create this at home.
The one issue I had with this bite was the bread. The crusty baguette slices were way too thick and too hard to be easily consumed with the uni scramble. I would have preferred a softer bread or much thinner slices.
Maine Lobster Crostini (avocado, almonds, blood orange)
This was light and refreshing, almost like a salad. Succulent lobster chunks, creamy avocado paste, crunchy almonds, and a touch of acidity from the blood oranges. We enjoyed it, though it didn’t quite blow me away like the uni did.
Wood Oven Brussels Sprouts (frisee, applewood-smoked bacon, soft egg)
We thought we’d add some green to our meal and the warm Brussels sprouts was the perfect choice. There was an amusing moment when the server took our order and noted to us that there would be bacon in the dish and would we be okay with that. You can guess our answer right? The expression on my friend’s face was priceless. I’d been watching the simmering soft eggs most of the night so it was satisfying to finally try one. This dish again renewed my desire to get a home sous vide circulator.
We broke the creamy soft yolk and then mixed it into the sprouts. The Brussels sprouts tasted even more indulgent when coated in the custard-like yolk. Mr. K kept asking for more.
Prairie Prime Pork Chop & Belly (escarole, celery root, fuji apple, peppercorn sauce)
The crispy skinned pork belly was another highlight of the night. It was paired with thick-cut moist pork chops. The roasted juicy sweet apples balanced nicely with the rich pork.
Mary’s Organic Rotisserie Chicken (red Russian kale, roasted fingerling potatoes)
We were watching the rotisserie chickens being roasted in the wood fire most of the night and decided to try it out. The chicken was moist and flavorful all the way through and the portion size was quite generous. It was a good dish, but a little bit of a let down compared to the other items we had that night.
We were completely stuffed by this point. All the portions were a good size and we had been eating all day. Unfortunately we didn’t have room for dessert and I’ve heard very good things about the sweet creations of Pastry Chef Margarita Manzke. Next time.
We enjoyed our meal here. While not every dish was perfect, we had some very memorable bites and found the prices reasonable for the caliber of the food served. There’s also a large bakery area when you walk in which I didn’t know about until I got there. I will have to pick up some items there as well on another visit.
Pro Tip: If you want to see the kitchen action, ask for seats at the chef’s counter when you make your reservation. There is no extra charge to sit there but there are only four seats so it doesn’t work if you have a large group. And remember it gets quite hot if you sit there since you are in front of the wood fire, so dress lightly.
624 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036