République has become somewhat of an institution in Los Angeles since its opening in 2012. Despite this reputation, I had not dined at République until this past week. I had been to the space numerous times for industry wine tasting and seminars, but somehow completely overlooked it for dinner. I am pretty new to LA (approaching two years), so when I began looking for places to dine for my 4 year anniversary this month, République was at the top of my list. It fit all my requirements for a special occasion: incredible wine list, small plates to share, and a beautiful space. So last night we splurged on the... UberPlus I believe they are calling it these days, and headed over to République to celebrate.
I know what I am about to say is naive, being that République used to be home to such beloved places as the La Brea Bakery and Campanelli, but since I'm new to LA I hope you will cut me some slack when I say...HAVE YOU SEEN THIS PLACE? (of course you have) IT IS F**KING BEAUTIFUL! Apparently, it was built by Charlie Chaplin in 1928 as a mixed-use space with various shops and office spaces, complete with tiled fountains, mezzanines, and courtyard.
I’ve been hearing about how incredible this place is, basically since the first week I moved here. It has been hyped up to me by many of my friends and strangers alike for almost two years. There is always that fear that something won’t live up to its expectations, but the minute we walked through the door and sat down at a romantic little candle-lit table in the back, we knew it would exceed our expectations. There is a comforting feeling about the staff and the service that lets you know you will be taken care of.
I will try not to go too far into detail, seeing as many of you have already had the pleasure of dinning here. The team at Republique made this night so special for us. From the immediate congratulatory glasses of Krug to the moment we walked out the door, we couldn’t stop smiling. Sommelier Adam Ohler paired our courses immaculately, starting with one of my favorite producers from the Loire Valley, Chateau de Breze’s bottling “Clos de la Rue.” This elegant white was paired with six of the most delicate, soft, and absurdly delicious East Coast oysters I’ve ever eaten. They were quite possibly the best oysters we’ve ever had, no doubt improved by the chilled glass of Chenin Blanc. The Clos de la Rue displayed notes of wet stones, honeysuckle, celery root and mouthwatering acidity coupled by a beautiful textural component that paired perfectly with oysters. Can’t find the “Clos de la Rue”? Try their other incredible bottlings, Clos David and Clos Midi.
We followed up the oysters with bone marrow and escargot that Adam paired with a Swiss cider that had lots of tang and just a touch of sweetness to pair with the caramelized, sweet components in the bone marrow, I don’t think I need to explain how good the bone marrow is, it's molten cow essence for god's sake. The escargot is served in a little shot glass filled with melted herb butter and topped with flakey puff pastry that is delicately wrapped around the escargo. At Adam's suggestion, we ripped off the flaky pastry cap, nestled the escargot in its pillowy goodness, doused it in the butter, devoured it, and chased it with the remaining butter. Okay, he may not have told us to chase the remaining butter but it seemed appropriate at the time.
When deciding what main course to go with, we were intrigued by the options of duck and pig’s head, but Adam mentioned his favorite was the chicken. A seemingly simple choice, but chicken cooked right can be magical. Joe and I hadn’t had a great chicken since our year living in Germany; Germans really know how to cook a chicken. So we were intrigued and went with Adam’s suggestion. The key to their chicken is that it is rotisserie cooked over a wood fire. At République they have a wood fire, a wood grill, and a wood oven, and they know how to use all of them. Our half chicken was moist with flakey skin and perfectly seasoned, accompanied by duck fat roasted potatoes and carrots. If a restaurant can cook a great chicken, chances are everything else on the menu will be superb.
With our chicken we had a bottle of 2013 Domaine André & Mireille Tissot Trousseau "Qvevri" Arbois Rouge $49.99 our first wine of the night from the Jura. This Trousseau was aged in Qvevri, a traditional Georgian clay pot used for fermentation. The wine requires a bit of air and time to open up, but what’s waiting for you is incredible. Notes of cranberry, cherry and wild forest berries coupled with notes of iron, sanguine, forest floor, mushrooms and graphite all wrapped into a light-bodied wine with delicate structure and plush texture. The combination of fruit and earth coupled with the chicken and duck fat roasted potatoes was bliss.
A cheese plate and an Apple Pie en Croute with vanilla ice cream, accompanied by our 2010 Domaine Dugois Vin de Paille Arbois $24.99, was the perfect end to the perfect evening. Vin de Paille is made by drying out grapes on straw mats for about 5 months until they shrivel, developing a highly concentrated sugar content. The result is a dessert wine with flavors of beeswax, fig, orange peel, dried apricot and nuts. With a bite of salty cheese and the ice cream dropped into the Apple en Croute, we sipped our Vin de Paille and savored the end of our experience at République.
Thank you to Adam Ohler, Taylor Parsons and the entire team at République for providing us with an anniversary we will remember forever. Cheers!