Tuesday, August 16, 2011

LQ@SK - 08/15/2011

350 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 617-3474

During my one visit to Bistro LQ, I was a bit put off by the overcomplicated fare, still I was saddened to hear of the restaurant's closing earlier this year. To that end I was happy to hear Laurent had "popped up" at Starry Kitchen, bringing his unconventional take on fine dining to a comfortable low-key atmosphere.

Amuse Bouche: Beaver - Vanilla, Salsify, Clementine
Juvenile humor aside, my first experience with beaver meat was actually quite impressive. The crumbled pastry provides a lovely buttery backdrop to the darkly rich meat. The beaver itself actually reminded me of a braised beef but with a gamy kick on the finish. The palate cleanser of salsify and clementine offered a delicate floral counterpoint to balance the weight of the beaver.

01: Uni Tapioca Pudding - Carlsbad Oyster, Cauliflower, Yuzu Gelee
The first course consisted of two distinct parts. The Uni Tapioca was one of Laurent's signatures at LQ and it is easy to see why with just one bite. The base of pudding is delightfully sweet really heightening the urchin's sweetness though the roe's salinity was still apparent on the finish. This was one of my companion's first experience with uni but after this I don't think it'll be her last. I was expecting the oyster to be a forceful burst of brine, but the savory essence of the cauliflower really tempered the oyster and yuzu.

02: Skatewing - Sujok, Sumac, Cucumber Yogurt Varnish
The cucumber yogurt made this dish, the bold golden streak offered a lively fresh tang they intertwined nicely with the sumac flavoring the delicate skatewing while the single streak of pomegranate added a vital fruity twang. Texturally the dish was surprisingly complex, the light flaky crust enrobes a tender fish and an earthy beef sausage.

03: Declination of Peas - Pea Guacamole, Pea Gazpacho, Pea Bacon Ragu, Sauteed Foie Gras
We were told to eat the foie first, its buttery richness coupled with the ragu reminded me of a pot pie. I followed that with the vegetal peppery pea gazpacho its grassy levity the contrast to the foie. The guacamole was enjoyable and certainly reminiscent of an avocado guac, but felt a touch simplistic. Though I enjoyed each of the three components on their own, combining them didn't really add much.

04: Veal Cheeks - Bergamot Jus, Prickly Pear, Chanterelles, Fava Beans
The final savory consisted of the most succulent veal cheek ever; tender doesn't even begin to describe it. The texture was so slick and supple it actually reminded me of a veal sweetbread. Despite being beautifully braised, the cheeks didn't feel overly heavy meaning the favas and chanterelles still came through.

05: Tonka Bean "Bread Pudding" - Shortbread Cookie, Red Currant, Rose Water Lychee Sorbet
Tonka bean is an ingredient you don't see too often and is technically banned by the FDA for its high concentrations of coumarin, an anticoagulant, that gives the bean its fragrance. The flavor is highly reminiscent of a vanilla or almond. The resulting dessert is reminiscent of a French toast, heightened with a tropical touch from the lychee.

I have to say I came away from this meal immensely satisfied. The food doesn't still displays Quenioux's trademark creativity but doesn't overreach, making it more approachable. With the event only running through the summer I'd highly recommend checking out LQ@SK while you still can.


Sam C. said...

So which dish is your favorite? The skatewing does looks interesting...

And Beaver meat as amuse? they definitely want to come out big. =)

Epicuryan said...

I think the veal was my favorite, very rich without being heavy, though the pea dish was quite good too.