LA CACHETTE BISTRO
FANTASTIC FRENCH FARE IN SANTA MONICA
Since 1994 Master Chef Jean-Francois Meteigner has been delighting local palates craving French fare with his famed La Cachette, "the hideaway." A Century City staple that was eventually shut down and relocated in Santa Monica due to congested traffic, the new La Cachette Bistro combines traditional French country dishes with some of the renowned chef’s international favorites.
Now open on Ocean Avenue, the charming bistro with its broad sidewalk terrace is decorated inside with red-and-white checked chairs surrounded by vintage French posters hanging on the walls. A small, hip bar divides the room in half. A contemporary French bistro without pretense, the chef buys all of his ingredients at the local Farmer’s Market and creates new menu items and specials based on Southern California’s freshest ingredients.
During our recent visit I started the night with the Matcha Bliss Tini, a nice mix of Tru Organic Vodka, Canton Ginger liquor, MatchaBliss green tea powder, and fresh Ginger topped with Lemonade served into a Martini glass. It’s very pleasant with just the right amount of kick.
Looking over the expansive dinner menu, including a raw bar featuring oysters, French sashimi and "glasserine," we opted to start with some French Tapas including Stuffed Dates witih Gargonzola and Crispy Prosciutto. A favorite starter item of mine, I’ve had better stuffed dates, but these were nonetheless pleasing.
The Fresh Hearts of Palm with mustard truffle dressing weren’t really my cup of tea but my dinner guest seemed to relish the dish.
The Baby Back Ribs with BBQ sauce and French Letils is a must-have item. The meat is so tender it practically falls off the bone and the sweetness of the sauce really makes this a mouthwatering order.
The Shrimp Brochettes with Carrot Curry Sauce is also a nice small plate to begin with, as is the Homemade Spanish Sausage with Saffron Rice, a truly delicious item. Paired with a nice glass of wine, these appetizers really get the palate going.
For our entrees, we ordered the New Zealand Lamb Chops with Horseradish, Mint, Peas and Bacon, a truly savory dish, not too big yet definitely filling, and the Coq Au Vin with Bacon, Carrots, Onions, English Peas and Potatoes, an item whose sauce is so delectable you’ll be scooping every drop possible with as many slices of French bread as it takes to leave your plate spotless.
For dessert we opted for the Baked Alaska, made of ice cream placed in a pie dish lined with slices of sponge cake and topped with meringue. Although highly recommended, it didn’t really satisfy. The Thin Cinnamon Dusted Apple Tart With Caramel Sauce And Crème Fraiche was better but hardly a knockout. It seemed as though both orders were phoned-in desserts.
While the majority of the restaurant’s ingredients come from local farmers and the bistro’s decor is French playfulness with a fresh yet loungy bar, creating a relaxed and comfortable setting, the food will definitely satisfy even if we were disappointed with our dessert orders.
La Cachette Bistro is located at 1733 Ocean Ave in Santa Monica. Hours: Lunch: Tues - Fri, 12pm - 2:30pm; Dinner: Tues - Sun, 6pm to Closing. Closed Mondays. Call 310-434-9509. Valet parking available. Happy Hour: Tues - Fri, 5pm to Closing, Sat & Sun, 6pm to Closing.
Some Photography courtesy of La Cachette Bistro