There are places where Angelenos sit outdoors with a certain ease, delighting, finally, in the good part of the day. With lights strung through the branches of a Javanese bishopwood tree, the courtyard of Stephane Bombet, François Renaud, and Kris Morningstar’s Terrine is just such a spot. Inside, the setting becomes Parisian, where cane-back chairs and framed mirrors provide a Gallic launching point for Morningstar’s robust style. Always seeking ways to build flavor, the Redlands-raised chef confits pig ear, serving it like rendered chicharrones that come to the table as sizzling strips. At brunch he cooks down charred onions to accompany a smoked brisket hash; he’s been known to add pickle juice to the mayo dip served with the moules frites. The calvados shining through in the rabbit with apples Vallée d’Auge screams that this chef has found his voice in those dishes the French call les plats classiques.
The Vibe: Très Français! Or rather, Provence by way of Hollywood.
The Crowd: This place turns into a chef hang after about 10 p.m. Look for local culinary stars sipping something strong on the patio. The two-day brunch menu brings a crew of lively daytime imbibers while the dinner crowd tends toward the agent/client set.
The Must-Have Dishes: The octopus is a stellar version of the suddenly ubiquitous cephalopod. Morningstar’s charcuterie skills are renown—get his full spread. The choucroute garnie is a showstopper.
The Drinks: Francois Renaud is behind the appropriately Gallic-heavy wine list that is not without surprises. The cocktail list is large, varied, and organized by taste profile, like “crisp and clean” or “smooth and elegant.”
Getting a Table: Prime seatings can book up so reserve ahead. Be sure to specify the patio if that’s where you want to be (it is).
Insider Tip: The restaurant’s interior is lovely in a sort of Parisian bistro kind of way, but trust us, the courtyard is where it’s at. – LBS
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