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C California Style

Chef RAPHAEL FRANCOIS’ take on bucatini with bone marrow. Photography by Wonho Lee.
Strawberry Delice (fromage blanc mousse, Harry’s Berries strawberries, Thai basil) by pastry chef-partner SALLY CAMACHO MUELLER. Photography by Wonho Lee.
The main dining room at TESSE, designed by PREEN INC. Photography by Wonho Lee.
The Filipineau 14 tequila blanco tiki drink by mixologists JULIAN COX and NICK MEYER. Photography by Wonho Lee.

Strip Stake

by C California Style

Meat-centric Tesse lands on Sunset Boulevard

Bill Chait. Photography by Josh Telles.

Serial restaurateur Bill Chait is back.

The dealmaker has just opened Tesse, his first Los Angeles project in two years since leaving Sprout, the restaurant group he founded that is responsible for such hits as République, Otium and Bestia. Short for delicatesse, his buzzy new charcuterie-
forward spot sits across from Fred Segal on the Sunset Strip.

Not since the ’90s, when apartments were advertised as “Spago-adjacent,” has a serious restaurant made it on this storied stretch. But Chait is betting Tesse just might be the neighborhood’s next big thing. “With new hotels and apartments in the works, Sunset is undergoing a metamorphosis,” says Chait. (It pays to remember this is the guy who put an Israeli chef and a scruffy location together to create Bestia when the Arts District didn’t even have a name.)

For this project, Chait has teamed up with the impeccably credentialed French chef Raphael Francois, who previously ran the kitchen at Le Cirque and was itching to come to L.A. His dream? A charcuterie bar. Tesse goes beyond that, though. Not only is Francois busy turning out two dozen or more varieties of paté, sausages and cured meats, he is also cooking up a compelling menu of easygoing contemporary French dishes—from foie gras “au natural” to a sumptuous blue crab Simplissime.

“It’s an exercise in bistronomy for Raphael after working in Michelin-starred restaurants his entire career,” explains Chait. So there are dishes such as beef tartare swirled with olive oil and a comforting confit lamb. Wine director Jordan Ogron (formerly of Rivera and Bestia) is an advocate of the 3-ounce pour, the better to try more wines from his wildly eclectic list. Soon to come next door: Boutellier, a wine shop by day and private venue by night. The ace team of Julian Cox and Nick Meyer cover the cocktails.

No matter what, save room for dessert. Pastry chef Sally Camacho Mueller is one to watch. Consider her ethereal Strawberry Delice of fromage blanc mousse with Harry’s Berries strawberries, or her napoleon filled with orange-blossom custard.

Tesse is the real deal, worth a detour down the old Route 66. 8500 Sunset Blvd., Ste. B., West Hollywood, 310-360-3866; tesserestaurant.com.

Written by S. IRENE VIRBILA.