Chef Ben Bailly knows from decadent; until a week ago he was the executive chef at Petrossian, the caviar emporium and cafe on Robertson. Last week Chef Bailly took the helm at Fraiche, the Culver City institution that had been treading water since Chef Jason Travi left last autumn, and immediately posted a Tweet about his new truffle burger. As soon as I saw the tweet, I knew I had to have the burger as soon as possible, so I made plans to go to Fraiche the next day.
The burger (in closeup above, shown with fries below) is $12 and is served with an onion fondue, Boschetto al Tartufo (truffle cheese) and truffle aioli on a grilled brioche bun. French fries with the skin on were served with the burger. The Boschetto cheese is a blend of cheese and cows milk and is studded with truffle bits. When the cheese is melted over the burger, it infuses the truffle aroma and flavor into each bite, which is reinforced with the truffle aioli.
The brioche bun is soft yet can hold the juices from the burger without falling apart. The grilling of the bun certainly helped. The burger and fries is a satisfying meal and fairly priced for a burger of this quality in a comfortable restaurant environment. An egg on top is available for $2 more, but with all the truffle and beef flavor, I passed on that. Yes, I did enjoy the burger and the fries; I suspect I will be having them again soon. Ample ketchup was served upon request.
If you find yourself with a group, the Potted Smoked Trout is a good shared appetizer. It is served in a jar and includes lemon, chives and creme fraiche. The trout is a chunky pate and has a strong but not overpowering smokiness to it. This is a rich dish that would be difficult to brave solo, although I know several people who could do it justice. The presentation is attractive and simple, and reminiscent of the way Bouchon serves their foie gras and salmon rillettes. This dish is only $8.
Fraiche Restaurant: 9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City. Phone: (310) 839-6800. Website: www.fraicherestaurantla.com