Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Le Saint Amour: Walter Manzke does Fried Chicken

Le Saint Amour, the French brasserie in Culver City, recently hired former Bastide and Church & State chef Walter Manzke as a consulting chef to help them with their menu.  As part of the changes, a new Sunday night fried chicken served family style special has been added to the menu.

The chicken with sides and a dessert is $29 per person and included slaw and french fries on the evening I visited.  The meal is described as "A Volonte", which means as much as you would like, which is a more polite way of saying that the family style meal includes second helpings.  The waitress told me that "if my stomach told me it wanted more then I could tell her I wanted more and she would bring it."  Very cute.

The chicken itself had good flavor and was more moist than the version I had tried the week before at Vertical.  However, it was largely served off of the bone, which is a big drawback to making excellent fried chicken.  Despite this drawback I felt the chicken was better at Saint Amour than Vertical, though Vertical's side dishes were superior and overall offering felt more bountiful.  All in all, it was a draw, and I'd recommend either, if you are in the area, though neither is worthy of a long detour.

The slaw was light and I enjoyed it so much I had seconds of it.  The french fries were nice and crisp.  If the chicken had been on the bone, I would have been thrilled.  Although the menu emailed to me and on the chalkboard advertised dessert inclusive with the meal at $29, perhaps because I was alone it was not offered to me on this basis.

The brasserie itself has the genuine feel of a casual and lively brasserie in Paris.  If you have seen the film Avenue Montaigne, Le Saint Amour is reminiscent of the cafe at the center of the movie.  I would happily return but cannot place the fried chicken there in the top echelon in the city, as it does not compare to what Josef Centeno is making at The Lazy Ox Canteen or to Flossie's in the South Bay.  The hunt for the best fried chicken continues.

Le Saint Amour: 9725 Culver Blvd, Culver City.  Phone: (310) 842-8155.  Website: http://www.lesaintamour.com/

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