Beautiful old world style is the look of L’Assiette, a name that translates as a “prepared dish.” The dishes prepared here all revolve around the steak frites concept, and are tasty indeed.
While steak frites are the main offering at this charming spot, L’Assiette is also known for its fine wine list, its cheeses, soups, and salmon and chicken entrees. Co-owner Maryanne Reyes works with father and son duo Jacques and Marc Fiorentino, who wanted to bring a Parisian dining experience to LA.
“I operated the restaurant that was here, and Jacques came in with his idea. He wanted to buy me out, but I loved his vision, and we became partners. He is the concept man and the chef,” Reyes explains.
Jacques Fiorentino was born in Egypt, but while living in Paris, fell in love with the steak frites concept and wanted to share it here. His favorite spot was Le Relais de Venise, which specialized in the dish.
“He loved that one particular restaurant in Paris, and the French way in which the steak and fries were prepared. It’s very different from what we do with the traditional thick cut steak you see at a steak house,” Reyes relates.
The restaurant serves 100% natural, free-range, hormone-free Angus beef in a culotte cut which is prepared “sous vide.”
“With sous vide you basically vacuum pack the meat and cook it in water, in a bath at a certain set temperature, so that however you are cooking it, for example if you are cooking it medium rare, it always turns out perfectly medium rare at that temperature. The culotte cut is lean with no marbling, but very flavorful,” Reyes says.
The steak itself has no contact with the water, and receives an amount of heat at the exact desired temperature to cook the steak evenly without overcooking. This way, the steak also achieves optimum tenderness while keeping its flavor and juices. This preparation process takes 4 to 4 1/2 hours, and when it is ready to serve, it is seared quickly for just a few seconds forming an outer crust.
The pommes frites are hand-cut from Kennebec potatoes, and are prepared in an 8-step process that takes 24 hours, including blanching the potatoes. They’re cooked in beef tallow, but a peanut-oil version is also available if requested.
Along with the potatoes and the steak, there is another ingredient that makes this simple dish a taste sensation: the sauce. The restaurant keeps its recipe top secret, but what is not a secret is the subtle yet aromatic and savory taste. The steak frites can be embellished with wild forest mushrooms, black truffle shavings, or truffle shavings with foie gras, as well.
Open since 2014, L’Assiette has a variety of other dishes on its menu, although Reyes says there is “no question that the steak is the main star.”
Reyes adds “We have a 24-hour cassoulet, which we serve in a tureen, family style. It’s a very hearty dish made with duck breast, leg of lamb, sausage, our steak and Mayocoba beans. That is also a very popular entree.”
Other menu items include appetizers such as organic Scottish salmon tartare, made with fennel and cucumbers, seared foie gras, and smoked trout paté. The dining spot’s Little Gem Salad or soup serve as starters. And alternatives to steak frites are also on tap: breast of chicken with prosciutto and mushrooms, grilled salmon with lemongrass ginger bar-b-que, marinated Portobello mushrooms, or organic Scottish salmon, are also served. The Portobello mushroom variation can be served with pomme frites made in peanut oil, making it a rich dish that’s accessible for vegan and vegetarian diners. The restaurant also offers an extensive selection of French cheeses.
And to drink? The restaurant is renowned for its wine list, with choices such as a Foley Johnson Chardonnay or a Leese-Fitch Pinot Noir, a Chateau de Montfaucon Cote du Rhone, or a Dourthe Sauvignon Blanc, to name just a few.
“We have a great wine list by the glass, and people do come in just for that. They like to sit at the bar, and enjoy a glass.” The wine list is curated by chef Jacques Fiorentino and Reyes, although, she notes, that he “selects the French choices.”
Reyes says the restaurant has an upscale yet casual ambiance that appeals to diners of all types. “I would say that if people want a lot of wonderful food at affordable prices, they can come in wearing jeans or dressed up. We have a lovely marble counter and bar, it’s a friendly, cozy atmosphere that’s candle-lit at night, and great for dates or large parties.”
L’Assiette is located at 7166 Melrose Ave.
Phone: (323) 274-2319