Thursday, April 25, 2024

Butcher's House Brasserie (Costa Mesa, CA)

Butcher's House Brasserie at South Coast Collection
3321 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Thu 04/25/2024, 07:15p-09:55p

Butcher's House Brasserie Exterior

If I'm looking to dine in OC, one of the places that I tend to gravitate toward is the SoCo Collection in Costa Mesa. The past few times I've been there, I couldn't help but notice a newer spot called Butcher's House Brasserie, which piqued my interest, hence this visit. The creation of Chef/Owner Jeoffrey Offer, the restaurant opened back at the end of 2021, and is meant as a butchery-inspired brasserie of sorts.

About the Chef: Offer was born in August 1989, and hails from Toulouse, in the southwest of France. He first got interested in food through his mother and her Portuguese cooking, as well as through his father, who was a boucher. At age 19, he started attending a local culinary school, during which time he apprenticed at Raymond Serres' now-shuttered Le Cercle d'Oc, located in nearby Blagnac. Serres later invited him to join the opening team of his new restaurant, Le Patio de Saint-Jory, which debuted in 2010. The following June, Offer relocated to Myanmar in order to teach at Shwe Sa Bwe ("Golden Table"), a cooking school in Yangon, where he stayed until July 2012. From there, he returned to France and took a corporate position at food service giant Sodexo, during which time he cooked at The Sky, located at Airbus' headquarters in Blagnac.

In October 2013, Offer came to Los Angeles on a two-month tourist visa and quickly secured employment at Monsieur Marcel at The Original Farmers Market. He returned the following March, this time with a three-month visa, and it was on this trip when he was introduced via friends to Laurent Vrignaud. Vrignaud was in the process of launching Moulin in Newport Beach, and subsequently offered Offer a job. However, the restaurant's debut kept getting pushed back, and that 90-day visa soon expired. The Chef was back in France once again, but due to immigration issues, his return to the US was delayed, and he therefore missed Moulin's opening. However, he was able to land a temporary pastry assistant position at Moulin, and was quickly promoted to Executive Chef after six months.

Moulin was a success, and eventually expanded to locations in Laguna Beach (October 2016), San Clemente (April 2019), and Costa Mesa (November 2019), with the latter bowing just a couple months after the Chef got married. A fifth Moulin was planned for Dana Point, but the pandemic threw a wrench into those plans, though the location did eventually open in August 2020. The COVID-19 hiatus allowed Offer an opportunity for introspection, and he came to the conclusion that he wanted to have his own place, and thus left Vrignaud's side that December. He soon got to work on opening a burger spot, though the concept eventually morphed into the one that we see today, with Butcher's House grand-opening on December 10th, 2021.

Butcher's House Brasserie Interior
Butcher's House takes over the former home of Spanish joint Pueblo, which shut down in March 2020 and never reopened. Though the same layout remains, the space has been given a makeover, and now sports a cozier, classier aesthetic. There's also patio seating out front.

Butcher's House Brasserie Menu: Starters, Soup and Salad Butcher's House Brasserie Menu: Butcher's Choice, Accompaniments Butcher's House Brasserie Menu: House Specialties, Fromage, Dessert Butcher's House Brasserie Cocktail List & Beer List
Butcher's House Brasserie Wine List: Introduction Butcher's House Brasserie Wines by the Glass List Butcher's House Brasserie Wine List: Champagne, White Butcher's House Brasserie Wine List: Rosé, Red Butcher's House Brasserie Wine List: Red Butcher's House Brasserie Wine List: Red Butcher's House Brasserie Wine List: Red Butcher's House Brasserie Wine List: French Wine Regions Map
The menu is centered on wood-fired steaks--cooked on a Santa Maria-style grill--and is supported by a cast of bistro-ish offerings. Drink-wise, you get a small cocktail list, a handful of beers on tap, and a reasonably-priced, all-French wine list. Corkage is $30 a bottle, limit two. Click for larger versions.

Onion Soup
Onion Soup [$12.00] | Classic French Onion Soup Topped with Emmental Gratiné
Dinner got off to a strong start thanks to this soupe à l'oignon, which was one of the best I've had. The broth had all the cozy, savory, dark-toned flavors you'd want, perfectly juxtaposed against the lusciousness of that gooey cheese.

Lillet Blanc Spritz
Lillet Blanc Spritz [$16.00] | Lillet Blanc, French Bubbles, Strawberry
Our first cocktail was on the easy-going, refreshing, and indeed, spritzy side, with restrained notes of citrus and bittersweetness supported by a backbone of sparkling wine.

Sliced Baguette
Butcher's House Pâté
Butcher's House Pâté [$14.00] | House Made Country-Style Pork Pâté
Given my proclivity for forcemeat, the pâté de campagne was a must-try, and didn't disappoint. The terrine had that dense, rustic consistency I was looking for, and showed off a delectable marriage of earthy, porky goodness and peppery spice. Accoutrements included sliced cornichons, zippy Dijon mustard, and a sweeter whole-grain mustard. Those crusty slices of baguette were much appreciated, too, and also worked great with the onion soup above.

Sud-Ouest Sunset
Sud-Ouest Sunset [$14.00] | Lillet Rouge, Fermented VodkaTequila, Grapefruit
Apparently, the restaurant didn't receive its delivery of vodka, so tequila was used in this cocktail instead. The substitution worked out pretty well, as the agave character of the spirit did make itself known against the fruitiness of the Lillet.

Duck Confit
Duck Confit [$28.00] | Slow Cooked Duck Leg Marinated in Duck Fat, Cassoulet Style Beans
Confit duck arrived falling-apart tender, yet still substantial, and displayed a wonderfully crisp, salty skin to boot. The beans, meanwhile, contributed a hominess that really worked for me.

2015 Delice du Grand Enclos du Chateau de Cerons Rouge
To pair with the meatier courses, I ordered a bottle of the somewhat uncommon 2015 Delice du Grand Enclos du Chateau de Cerons Rouge [$159], which comes to us from Bordeaux's Graves region. The wine's nose was surprisingly tame, with blackcurrants at the fore, alongside cherries and dried herbs. On the palate, I found generally soft tannins, with elements of peppery spice, smoke, and sage overlaid on top of a layer of dark fruits. That fruit was relatively restrained at first, but certainly intensified as the night progressed.

Toulouse Sausage
Toulouse Sausage [$21.00] | Traditional Pork Sausage from Toulouse, Mashed Potatoes au Jus
Offer's saucisse de Toulouse was another must-order for me, and is ostensibly based on a recipe from the Chef's father. I loved the rough-cut consistency of the sausage, not to mention its snappy casing, while its salty, savory flavors worked hand-in-hand with some deft spicing and a healthy dosing of sear. The potato purée was also key, and worked great for contrast.

Raclette Potatoes
Raclette Potatoes [$15.00] | Roasted Yukon Gold Creamer Potatoes, Melted Raclette Cheese, Prosciutto
To accompany the steak, we opted for two preparations of pomme de terre. Hearty roast potatoes made more sense than I thought with that salty ham, while melty cheese helped bring everything together.

30 Days Dry-Aged Bone In Ribeye 38 Oz
30 Days Dry-Aged Bone In Ribeye 38 Oz [$139.00] | La Côte de Boeuf Maturée, Serves Two
Tonight's pièce de résistance, the côte de bœuf showcased a delicate dry-aged character that wasn't all that funky, while I also appreciated the steak's salty, well-seared exterior.

Kir Royale
Kir Royale [$15.00] | Black Currant, French Bubbles
A Kir royal was a dry, invigorating cocktail that functioned as a counterpoint to all the hefty dishes we were having.

Butcher's Fries
Butcher's Fries [$12.00] | Topped with Nueske's Bacon and Raclette Cheese
Offer's fries were on point, and stood on their own merits. However, everything's better with bacon, and once again, that runny cheese worked to tie the dish together.

Camembert à la Braise
Camembert à la Braise [$19.00] | Whole Camembert Roasted in Coals, Toasted Baguette
Camembert is typically one of my preferred cheeses, and the fromage really sang when heated up like this, with its lush, creamy, pungent character proudly conveyed. A perfect match for that toasty bread.

Pineau des Charentes
The evening's final beverage was a glass of Pineau des Charentes [$12], a fortified wine that presented a mélange of citrusy, raisin-y, oxidative, and earthy flavors.

Crème Brûlée
Crème Brûlée [$11.00] | Tahitian Vanilla Custard, Caramelized Sugar
Dessert duties were handled by a traditional crème brûlée, which had that hard, caramelized top I wanted, along with a spot-on vanilla custard.

I'd been wanting to try Butcher's House for a while now, and I'm glad that I finally made it out here. I feel like good French spots are a bit lacking in this part of town, so this place is a big win for the area. Offer's interpretation of brasserie fare represents a balance of rusticity and refinement, and there's just this casual elegance to the food that works. I think this might be a new go-to spot for me in Orange County.


Blogger H.Peter said...

Oh those pesky visa issues.
I can sing a song or two.
Chefs should have their own category like artists, 0-1C, C for Chefs

Saturday, June 22, 2024 9:42:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

I just did a little bit of research, and it seems that chefs could most likely fall under the H-1B classification. After all, there's actually a separate category for fashion models (H-1B3), strangely enough, so why not chefs?

Wednesday, June 26, 2024 2:18:00 AM  
Blogger H.Peter said...

My point exactly.
It's how the Slovenian made it all the way to the WH.

Thursday, June 27, 2024 1:33:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Haha indeed. Now do you happen to know why exactly fashion models have their own special classification? Is there a shortage of them in the US?

Saturday, June 29, 2024 7:39:00 AM  

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