Chef Christophe Émé Pop-Up at Papilles (Hollywood): A Pictorial Essay

Many of us here fondly remember a very special restaurant called Ortolan, which was located on 3rd St. (east of the Beverly Center). Though it shuttered back around 2011, Ortolan made an indelible mark on the palates of many Angeleno diners with its devotion to traditional excellence in execution, as well as bold tastes. Ortolan owner and chef Christophe Émé garnered a Michelin star during his time here. But since the closure of the restaurant, we haven’t have many further chances to try his cooking.

So it was with great anticipation that we attended this pop-up at Papilles.

Salted butter & bread… Excellent.

Amuse bouche: Whipped potato with smoked trout, garnished with trout roe… Gentle and flavorful!

Beef carpaccio, pickled mushroom, herb salad… Wonderful. The slight sourness of the pickled mushrooms was perfect for the beef.

Foie gras terrine, fruit chutney, toast… No need to be inventive; this is just a really well executed foie gras presentation - Rich (as foie gras should be) and elegantly seasoned.

Scallop, ricotta, artichoke, tomato… Beautiful amalgamation of tastes and textures!

John Dory, sea urchin, potato, truffle… Here the truffle is used with exact precision to bring out the flavors of the exquisitely prepared fish without overpowering its natural taste. A formidably well-executed dish!

Squab, salsify, pear… Fantastic. It’s easy to tell that the chef really takes care of his ingredients.

Another shot of this perfectly cooked course - Wonderful counterpoint in tastes and textures in this dish. (Kudos to Papilles owner Santos Uy for the classy presence of Laguiole knives so that diners may easily work on this bird…)

Pork belly, white bean, Basquaise… So tender you could cut it with a spoon, and yet the skin retains a gorgeously flavorful crispiness, reminiscent of a good lechon or babi guling!

Dessert 1: Lemon crème, meringue, sablé… Just the right amount of tart and sweetness.

Dessert 2: Chocolate, sorbet, hazelnut, crumble… Death by chocolate! So decadent.


“BRAVO!!!” to Chef Christophe Émé and his entire team. This was an exquisite meal!


Chef Christophe Émé Pop-Up at Papilles: February 7th, 8th,and 9th, 2017
6221 Franklin Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028


Looks nice enough. You figure out if he is going to open up his own place in LA again?

Also, sort of OT, but how is it that chefs can get squab for pop-ups but it’s never on any full-time menus at restaurants in LA?

Plenty of places have it on the menu.
It is a perennial at Spago, and I sure many other places.
Any Cantonese place in town, and many Vietnamese places as well, will serve you a righteous pigeon by another name – see @NS1 2/817 Favorite Restaurants San Fernando Valley (SFV)? - #186 by Ns1 - Los Angeles - Food Talk Central

Perhaps it is not a favorite of the Bestia/Republique/Hatchett Hall crowd and thus not on too many menus at younger “hipper” joints. Should be.


Funny you mention… I asked the chef that exact question last night. Between inconstant (or unrealistic) investors, and current sky-high rents, it looks like we’ll be waiting a while before he settles down to a more permanent position…

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One of the best plates at Tsubaki in Echo Park is precisely their squab (on their menu every night, AFAIK).

They’re definitely NOT an endangered species.

Love that baguette. Looks like the same one that Papilles serves. I was chatting with Chef Tim one night and mentioned how much I love the baguette and he gave me a loaf to take home with me. Love that guy.


Dude is great. Have you tried Lost at Sea yet?

I have not. Been meaning to get out there but we’re just rarely in Pasadena.

You mean the quail or is squab a new dish?

Oh dang you’re right. It’s quail. My bad.

Great report and looks like an excellent dinner!

I’m a big fan of squab. Squab and/or wood pigeon has been fairly popular up in SF Bay Area for the past couple of years. I wish it was more available everywhere (apart from its ubiquity at Cantonese restaurants, which is always appreciated)! So many options to work with and it’s one of my favorite ingredients to daydream about cooking. Stone fruits or figs/dates, nuts like pecans or almonds, coffee, anise, chocolate, mix with foie, cognac, madeira, red wine, even bamboo, carrots, sunchokes, salsify, etc…even just salt and lemon Cantonese style…possibilities are endless. My local butcher sometimes has Paine Farms squab, but it’s been a while. I’m thinking about making it for a holiday party, roasted with some foie rubbed under the skin, a madeira/orange/pan juices sauce with cognac-soaked fig. I could go on and on, but I wish we saw these type of birds more on menus!

Now, where to get a legit ortolan? I assume I’d have to fly for that one.


Chef Quenioux (LQ) had a connection to some last year, but it fell through…

What Vietnamese places??

But that also makes it even weirder. Why are Chinese (and some Vietnamese places) the only ones who serve it?

For whatever reason, I sort of prefer it in more French/Italin preps, and you never see it down here.

As @BradFord points out, it is common in SF. I feel like there is some deeper story about why it freaks people out here or something.

Because it’s a fairly common Vietnamese appetizer.

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Crazy. How is it usually prepped? What is the Vietnamese word to identify it?

I feel I’ve never seen it in a Vietnamese place other than at LXSO, which is not fully Vietnamese exactly, and feels like an outlier.

Chim Cút Chiên Giòn ( Deep Fried Quails)

I have only seen them fried.

Song Phat and Pho Saigon 1 in SFV have them. Not sure beyond that because honestly not my favorite.

It seems kind of not super common then?

How do you know it isn’t just quail versus squab? I’m slightly skeptical about how deep drying works with squab, but worth a shot I suppose.

It always seemed like the fried cornish hens were somewhat more appealing, but I suppose it could work out.

You’ll have to ask someone who lives in Little Saigon or 626 how pervasive that particular item is. I have 3 Vietnamese restaurants by me deep in the north west corner of the SFV (aka where the asians aren’t) and 2 have fried quail, so sitting from here it seems pretty common…

I can’t answer the squab vs pigeon question, but I’ve never heard of another VN person saying they’re going to deep fry squabs.

Cantonese restaurants often serve both roasted quail and roasted squab as appetizers. The squab is usually bigger and a better piece of meat. Quails can be a bit bony, though I do like them quite a bit. They’re usually served with just salt and lemon. Squab meat can sometimes also be found in lettuce cups, but roasted is where it’s at.

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