Just back from the first night of the "shake down" weekend, as Chef Quenioux called it--
Old Mimosa has been erased, the room is open and very attractive, very modern. Banquettes on opposing sides, tables in the middle, the room could sit around 30 to 35? It isn't overly large at all. The staff all wear black with red Converse sneakers.
You can order each and every item on the menu by the "half" dish or "full" order, so it is easy to do multiple courses if you wish, and choose them yourself as opposed to committing to a full tasting menu (9 courses is on offer if you prefer that). I really liked this idea.
Stunning: the chanterelle and sweetbread dish. He did this at Bistro K. It is classic french bistro. Here at Bistro LQ it gets taken in a direction that is somewhat Middle Eastern -- the official description on the menu is "Chanterelles -- Cornucopia filled with veal sweetbreads, coconut emulsion, watercress coulis, fresh date loukoum" -- but there was also some filo on the side like you would see in a Greek or middle Eastern dessert, it was an amazing marriage of tastes.
Also amazing, and reminiscent of a Bistro K dish was the veal cheeks. Served simply, with some baby carrots and "sunchoke puree"
Looking around, the herring dish with quail eggs on top seemed a definite way to go.
Skate and monkfish looked incredible.
We ordered the salad too and it comes on a circular "donut" shaped dish, composed by type of salad leaf--from radicchio to butter, frisee to arugula, with fresh herbs changing as you moved around the dial, chervil to tarragon, etc. The simplest thing we ordered, it was also one of the best!
No cheese course was yet on offer during the soft opening, foie gras was as of yet left off the menu, but the desserts.........
the desserts were really beyond beyond. I can't stop thinking of the one I ordered, which was a "tarte tatin" made with dates instead of apples and served with cumin ice cream and another sauce that was curried apples -- it was both savory and sweet, the sweet elements (ice cream) bearing hints of the savory (cumin), the savory elements (curry) bearing hints of the sweet (apples), it was unforgettable and blew me away.
Can't wait to return. It is a bit more fancy than Bistro K of course, and so one hopes that Chef Quenioux will allow himself to do some of the amazing "comfort" food nights that he did in recent years at Vermont for example -- the pot au feu night was one of the best meals of my life. But again, can't wait to return.
Pacing was slow. Not as bad as Bistro K. The menu carries a disclaimer about this.
Criticisms: the pork dish needs to be worked out further. It was really bland, even for my wife who barely salts her food, it needed to be salted. But beyond seasoning, it wasn't at the level of the other things we ordered or saw ordered.
They offer bread rather parsimoniously and cleared the bread plates after the appetizer course. No butter was offered. We requested the return of the bread plates and more bread, and I assume you could request butter too.
But everything still seems in play at Bistro LQ -- portion size, customs, etc. The waiters didn't know yet what to expect nor had they tasted / experienced the dishes themselves. I don't think it will in the end be at all like Bistro K, the staff is numerous and seem already to have a sense of all their different roles, the service in fact was great last night and it was their first night.
Hoping to go Saturday night, but Laurent is indeed one of the best chefs in LA.
No winter, heavy dishes will be offered this time of year, but just wait until winter when they do appear, and the place has settled into its niche.
In the meantime, enjoy what is offered, and don't forget, the French allocate time for eating, and this chef allocates time to cook the food, to allow you the opportunity to appreciate what eventually shows up.