Dined at Luques last night located on Melrose just east of La Cienega.
Previous Restaurant visits: 3 (two lunches, 1 dinner)
Atmosphere: packed and buzzing
Previous visits: very good but not blown away
Memorable Previous dishes (my theory is that the best way to judge restaurant is if you can remember what you ate there - no matter how long ago): none
Service: A- (friend commented on service - non intrusive, friendly, though shared no recommendations on menu)
Bread: A- delicious sourdough served warm with olives and almonds
Apps (copied form menu online):
rutiz farm carrot soup with yogurt, mint and ginger sofrito $10.........A-
Friend seemed to really enjoy
tempura battered soft shell crab with chopped salad dijonnaise and whole grain aioli $18.....B
the crab and tempura were great - real airy and not doughy--- but the accompaniments were a bit unfocused and buried beneath the mayo. Enjoyed while eating it but looking back not as impressed.
grilled duck breast with ricotta gnocchi, summer squash, pistachios and roasted apricots $30...B+
Duck cooked with golden pink hue with thin layer of crisp duck fat - one of the best servings of duck i've had in awhile. Squash and pistachios went well with dish but Gnocchi was unmemorable and apricot was useless. friend got same dish and liked as well.
alaskan halibut with sweet corn polenta, morels, cipollini onions and fava pesto $28...B+
mild flavor which was well complemented with morels giving it a nice smoky flavor
Huckleberry beignets with elderflower sabyon and kumquat soda$10...A-
mini doughnuts stuffed with the berries - warm and yummy -- kumquat soda was nice.
bittersweet chocolate with nougatine, caramel mousse and shoyu $10...B+
half the dish was great the other half was OK - the caramel mousse was nice but the nougatine was a bit bland for my taste but overall i couldn't stop eating it.
Price: $190 not including tip (for 3)
OVERALL - B+
a solid evening at Lucques.