Jakob Layman

Check out this L.A. fall wine dinner series for elegant yet rustic bites paired with amazing pours

Marie Salcido  – October 12, 2018 | Updated October 23, 2018

West Hollywood boasts plenty of swank locales for Angelenos to sample every kind of cuisine, all while seeing and being seen. Despite the consistently-booked status practically every night since opening last month, Tesse leaves pretension at the door. Much like its neighbors on Sunset Boulevard, the dimly-lit, hip-hop-playing hot spot offers gourmet dining in a stunning setting, but with a surprisingly approachable feel and a boutique wine shop that’s worth a visit in its own right.

This month, the eatery is launching a series of fall wine dinners, starring of-the-moment wineries and their delectable pours, accompanied by a thoughtfully-designed menu by Chef Raphael Francois. Held in the intimate space of Boutellier, which focuses on rare and exclusive wines from around the world, each dinner is hosted by the winemakers themselves, who delve into the process and profiles of each pour while you sit back, indulge, and enjoy.

Raphael Francois, the Belgian-born gastronome at the helm of Tesse’s kitchen, has worked with each winemaker to create a divine culinary experience, drawing from his extensive dinner menu served daily. Having worked at Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe as well as in top spots in New York and D.C. (including his own, Le DeSales), he says he designed the classic-meets-contemporary menu as an unfussy and traditional shared dining experience. While both inspired and complex, the flavors and dishes lean toward rustic, and nearly everything is made in-house, from the fluffy country bread to the cured meats and patès rounding out the impressive selection of charcuterie (or delicatesse, the French word from which the restaurant gets its name).

“Because we make so many things in-house and fresh every day, we can’t open until the evening,” explains Francois, on a rare but brief break from running the bustling kitchen. “But I wanted the concept to be rustic, and everything is served to be shared.”

The multi-course fall dinners, like the everyday menus, feature seasonal California produce and classic ingredients in innovative combinations, like gooseberry-speckled hamachi crudo, lobster sausage with duck fat French fries, or blue crab simplissime, a whipped potato and crab soufflé of sorts, topped with savory cognac sauce. Of course, dessert is treated with the utmost respect, dreamed up by award-winning pastry chef, Sally Camacho Mueller, whose soufflés and crème brûlées pair beautifully with whatever is being poured. Salivating oenophiles can check out the lineup for the fall dinner parties here, or simply stop by Boutellier to browse their exclusive, yet affordable, selection of vino. Rumor has it that brunch will be rolling out in the coming months, too…and we can’t wait to try it.