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Jun 23, 2007 10:29 AM

Curious About Lucques For Post-Theater Dining

I'm taking my wife to a Saturday matinee of "Wicked" at the end of July for her birthday. After the show looks like as good a time as any to finally try out Susan Goin's restaurant Lucques, which is just four miles from the Pantages Theater. Neither of us has been to Lucques. I'd love to hear about other people's experiences and opinions. How far in advance do you recommend reserving? I'm also keeping my options open, so if anyone has another recommendation beside Lucques that's near the theater, I'm all ears.

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  1. I recommend reserving right away, as Lucques tends to fill up. I love Chef Suzanne Goin's Mediterranean style, though I personally prefer the wine bar atmosphere of AOC over Lucques. That being said, I think Lucques is a fantastic destination.

    Keep in mind that while it's 4 miles in distance, it's 4 miles over some of the heaviest travelled surface streets in the city, so plan your reservation time accordingly. I suggest making the drive one Saturday just to gauge it.

    A wee bit closer and of the same quality as Lucques is Chef Michael Cimarusti's restaurant Providence. Both are considered among the top restaurants in the city so you're not going to be disappointed at either.

    Also nearby is Chef Josef Centeno's restaurant Opus, which was recently featured in a Jonathan Gold article in LA Weekly.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SauceSupreme

      SS is right about the traffic. If you take the wrong route, it will take you a long time to get there.

      I live near the Pantages and it took me about 20 minutes for a 6:30 reservation. I took Fountain to La Cienega, then left onto Melrose. The whole route moves pretty well and it puts you on the correct side of Melrose.

    2. Thank you, SS. AOC is certainly another option. I get a bit overwhelmed at the whole "small plates" concept, though. What to order/how much to order - I end up wanting to literally have my cake and eat it too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: OCKevin

        I hear ya; I'm the type of person that often dines solo and *still* orders two apps and an entree. Needless to say, my fridge is chock full of styrofoam containers and to-go bags. Maybe that's why I like the small plates concept as it allows me to order by my usual buckshot approach.

      2. Go to Lucques. As long as you are prepared for a $$$ bill, I'm sure you'll love it. :) I've only been to Sunday Suppers there ($40 prix fixe) and have been blown away each time. I'd love to try their regular menu sometime.

        Melrose from Hollywood is usually a pretty straight shot notwithstanding some clogging in the shopping area. I bet you could get there in 10-15 minutes from the theater. (Just don't take Sunset or Santa Monica.)

        5 Replies
        1. re: QualityMart

          My husband and I had dinner at Lucques friday night and it was amazing. That restaurant never disappoints. Top notch ingredients and service.
          I started with an amazing cherry tomato and kumquat salad with greek yogurt. It was one of the best salads I have ever had. For my entree I had the seared duck breast. It was also fabulous. My husband had the bibb lettuce salad and the halibut, which he said was outstanding as well. We ended with the beignets.
          It was a great dinner but I agree that Lucques is expensive. Dinner for the 2 of us, 2 apps, 2 entrees, 1 dessert and a nice bottle of wine, plus tip, was a little over $300.

          1. re: venicefoodie

            [Clutches his heart and sways backward a la Fred Sanford] - that is quite a steap pricetag! Perhaps I should call and find out if there's a corkage policy, instead. My wife and I usually end up getting wine by the glass. Coming from "the OC" it's usually a better way to go when you have to drive about an hour back home.

            1. re: OCKevin

              We were being kind of extravagent with our meal. Not ordering a bottle of wine will bring the meal down considerably. I think the wine set us back $100.
              It was worth it though. We had a great evening, great food, and great conversation.

              1. re: OCKevin

                Corkage is $16.

                I had a delightful dinner there last Monday. Try and sit outside. It's very pleasant on a warm evening.

                The lamb tartare appetizer is a winner.

                The shortribs, chicken and veal cheeks were outstanding. The duck special...not so much.

                The dessert with pistachio is also very good. The cheese plate is so-so.

              2. re: venicefoodie

                I love the salads at Lucques -- the fattosh is delicious and last fall I had a salad with lentils that was perfect.

            2. Thanks for the feedback! Anyone have any recommendations on what to order? Irene Virbella emphasized the suckling pig and albacore in her review, but the menu has undoubtedly changed several times since then.

              2 Replies
              1. re: OCKevin

                They have nice shortribs and I have never missed with any type of fish there.. If you are comming after the panatges they serve a bar menu after 9 or 10 pm. I think look at their web site Great steak frite for around $17 at the bar only.. mmm good

                1. re: OCKevin

                  The suckling pig and shortribs are the classic Lucques dishes. I enjoyed the former very much -- in fact, when I made the reservation, I asked if it would be on the menu and was told yes. But when I arrived at the restaurant, it wasn't listed -- not to fear -- they'd actually held a portion back just for me.

                2. You made a very good choice - just make sure you have reservations made well in advance. As to seating, try for the patio, especially after a matinee, when your reservation might be at 6-6:30. It is much less noisy than inside. I recommend inside during winter with the fireplace, etc., outside during summer.
                  Go with what you really feel like eating. But, remember, it will be a Saturday night, the worst night of the week to eat in most really popular restaurants, as they are most busy, and all of the out of town visitors are there, yourselves among them, so be patient, ask the sommelier for a wine recommendation at your choice of price points if you are not that privy, and just enjoy the evening.
                  They are still among the best in town, period!