The Tastemakers: Tesse

Chef Raphael Francois at Tesse restaurant, at AKA West Hollywood, perched high up on Sunset Boulevard at the top of La Cienega. The name Tesse is a nod to the word 'delicatesse' which means delicious, but also refers to Tesse's ambitious charcuterie offerings.

Tesse faces Sunset Boulevard near the corner of La Cienega and is part of the AKA West Hollywood complex of buildings, a portion of which is seen here in the background.

The interior, designed by Alexis Readinger of Preen, Inc., based in Los Angeles, is all clean lines and warm moments, with a garage-door window-wall that opens to AKA's outdoor plaza. The large tables, able to comfortably seat groups, face the open kitchen and wood-fired hearth.

Chef Raphael Francois explains a new dish featuring duck to his team of line cooks.

Wood-grilled duck breast with cherries and pomegranate.

Chef Raphael Francois leads a large, enthusiastic kitchen brigade.

A portion of the line-cooks brigade await the dinner rush at the open kitchen.

A dish from the Pasta section: Octopus with Squid Ink Rice and Chorizo.

Tesse, while a casual restaurant, can also bring the luxury: Caviar Toast: Siberian 'Riserve' Caviar, Purple Potatoes, and Creme Fraiche.

The open kitchen features a live-fire grill and plancha, where many of the meats are cooked. Here, a New York strip steak cooks, later to be paired with duck-fat fries, baby gem lettuce salad, and Bordelaise sauce.

New York strip steaks take their rest after time on the wood-fired grill.

Tesse's bar has become a gathering spot for locals and visitors. In addition to the cocktails with nuanced flavors, such as the 'Melon Degeneres' with mezcal, herbes de Provence, cantaloupe, and floc de Gasgogne, Tesse shares space with an adjoining wine shop named Boutellier, where guests can select a bottle, and for a modest corkage fee, drink the wine in the dining room.

A refrigerated case, a focus of the back bar, holds the more than 15 types of cured meats, saucisse, and pates.

The cheese and charcuterie boards are prepared at a station at the end of the bar, a process that enhances the theatre at Tesse.

Tesse has become well-known for its quality charcuterie and cheese offerings. Here, a large board, chock-full of cheese and meats, is presented to a large party at the start of their meal.

Boutellier, the wine bottle shop, serves double-duty; wine shop as well as private dining room for Tesse.