LQ@Barneys with Photos
In short, a great success. The dishes were very refined and artistic.
The dining room is a pleasure to dine in since you get a view of the hills and the city from the top of Barneys.
The cheese cart was outstanding. Unfortunately, the Sunday dinner crowd finished the epoisses. Hopefully they have another one. If not, they still have Gaugry L'Amis du Chambertin which is almost just as good.
On to the dishes:
Mise en Bouche: Compressed Watermelon, Geoduck, Fish Sauce, Micro Chives, Chilled Chowder
-Delicious dish. The chilled corn chowder was so good many people were seen using their knives trying to scrape every last bit of the chowder.
First Course: Rabbit Tartare, Purple Shiso Yuzu Kosho Gel, Pickled Pink Radishes, Chocolate Mufﬁn chicken Liver Mousse
-Very refined tartare and the purple shiso really made it pop. Chocolate muffin with chicken liver mousse is an instant classic. Chef LQ could make a killing just selling these alone.
Second Course: Aji Sweet Potato Hamachi, Sea Urchin Smear, Carlsbad Oyster, Bliss Smoked Steelhead Roe, Tosaka Ice cream, English Pea Gazpacho, Chervil Leaves
-A gorgeous artistic course. The Tosaka ice cream looked like a pebble next to the oyster and steelhead roe "pearls". The oyster and roe itself was pristine and highly delicious. The sea urchin smear provided a nice saline minerality. The slight spiciness of the aji sweet potato under the hamachi also worked very nicely.
Third Course: Skate, Sujok, Cranberry Beans, Veal Feet, Minus 8 Vinegar, Sea Beans
-The skate was wrapped in nori and fried in a tempura batter. This dish was very fragrant. Loved the way the chervil and terragon refreshed the palate making each bite different.
Fourth Course: Lamb Loin “Parmentier”, Banana Mash, Confit Spring French Shallots, XO
-Perfectly cooked lamb without a hint of gaminess. The crisp on top tasted of bananas and gruyere. So good. I wish I could buy this by the bag.
Dessert: Wild Strawberries, Elderflower Meringue, Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar, Stawberry Milk Crumble, Vanilla Tonka Bean Ice cream, Pistachio Pain de Gene
-Wonderful and redolent of strawberry essence. The pistachio "cake" was also stellar.
A stellar meal without any fault and the best deal in town at $50pp. The wine pairing is 5 glasses for $25 making it the second best deal in down after the menu itself.
The cheese cart was plundered not only by myself but by pretty much everyone that night.
I highly recommend going tonight and tomorrow if you're in the area.
Sorry, but I'm going to have to write the dissenting opinion on this.
I was underwhelmed. It felt like some kid (okay, college kid) being creative in the kitchen, and not so successfully. Some of the weird combinations were almost difficult to eat - the chocolate muffin with chicken liver - it was just an unecessary combination. If you're going to be creative, don't do it unless it hits you over the head with a jolt of serotonin that screams DELICIOUS. This was almost creep. Thick. Sludgy consistency. I love chocolate, love it in many forms, and I love liver - calves liver and onions - mouth watering just thinking about it - the chicken liver and burratta with balsamic I had someplace still sticks in my memory, or the chickin liver with beans and balsamic at Angelini is something I actually crave. Chicken liver and chocolate? Didn't sound like a great idea on the surface, and...it wasn't. I finished this small bite largely because I kept eating it thinking "Maybe I'll get it on the next bite". But I didn't get it.
Rabbit tartare was good.
Hamachi on sweet potato was simply good - reminded me of Picca - which a lot of people don't like - the raw fish on the sweet potato. I like it (don't love it though - and understand why other don't like it. They're probably right)
English pea shooter was one of the highlights for me. No complaints there.
The chowder shooter felt unrefined. And it stuck in my little cup. Taste wasn't bad, but a standard clam chowder or seafood chowder or corn chowder from almost anywhere (like any place in Martha's Vineyward) was more satisfying.
Watermelon and geoduck. Both good, but why on the same plate? Do they work together in some unique capacity?
Oyster was good-ish. Didn't have that fresh briney hit that takes you to the ocean. Maybe it was the caviar.
The skate was prepared in a different way - kind of wrapped up rather than the traditional fan. Tempura style I believe. Didn't know what to expect with the cranberry beans. This was the most successful dish of the evening for me. I actually enjoyed it. Would have it again. In fact, be great as interesting take on Fish 'n Chips. (except with beans!).
The lamb was good, but I didn't care for banana mash - like baby food. Was this supposed to be good with lamb?
The dessert was pretty good. I had mine, finished my dates.
Wine pairings were interesting, smart, and unusual. Was the young man in the checked shirt the sommelier? He presented the wine with authority. (despite his young age - someone should snap him up.)
The cheese course was also quite good. No, nothing like those carts (or multiple carts connected) that you get in Europe, but still smartly chosen and the variety was more than enough.
Place was maybe half full.
A disappointment for me. I've had food from some young "underground" chefs - and have yet to find a star in the bunch. This was slightly more refined that what I've experienced there. Damn, I was looking forward to this too. A lot more misses than hits for me.
Yeah, loved the chocolate and liver. The sweetness of the chocolate and slight sweet and salty, bitterness of the liver did scream genius to me. But then again you weren't wowed by the porridge at Red Medicine and I was. We clearly have different tastes.
Why the goeduck and watermelon on 1 dish? To me the watermelon looked like tuna sashimi, making it a playful "sashimi" plate. The watermelon was gently touched with fish sauce so the plate had the sweetness of the watermelon, the umami of the fish sauce, the sweetness and brininiess of the goeduck and the refreshing sweetness of the corn chowder. 3 elements linked by varying degrees of natural sweetness. A wonderful summer dish and great amuse bouche for me.
Lamb and banana mash. A little sweetness does go well with lamb for me. It reminded me of the lamb and coconut dish I had at Manresa years ago.
Looking at your review you rated everything good to quite good with the chocolate liver muffin and chowder (2 halves of a dish) as your let downs. No restaurant is going to knock 6 out of 6 out of the ballpark. Especially not at $50. Sorry to hear you were let down. At least you're not out $800pp like you were at Joel Robuchon! :)
Well, the let down at Joel Robuchon had more to do with cost/pleasure ratio. That meals was over 50% higher that the most expensive meal I'd ever had (I've seen a few $1000 checks), and though I didn't expect it to be twice as good, at that price it'd better be the best. Apples to apples, cost not a consideration, the Robuchon meal was light years more successful than LQ. And it was merely one of the best meals I've had. But I've had more enjoyable experiences at Melisse. I wouldn't go back to LQ if it was free. No, wait, if newly-single, freshly-fallen-Scientologist Katie Holmes insisted on taking me. I'd gladly go.
Hi. The Sommelier was Maxwell Leer. He helped open the Tasting Kitchen and did their original list, and then worked at the Bazaar for some time. He definitely knows his wines, and you're right -- somebody should definitely snap him up. My shop (Domaine LA) did the wine list for LQ.
There was plenty of room tonight, inside at least (the patio was more the draw as it was a lovely evening). Florence was in attendance and remembered me from Saint Amour, which was nice. A great evening of interesting food at an excellent price--less thrilled with the wine pairings, which, while a bargain, seemed to me to be more "interesting" than pleasurable--and the cheese cart alone should be a draw to any fan of fromage.
Was Florence, former co-owner of Saint Amour in Culver City, your hostess and front of the house person in charge?
Love the idea of Laurent's food, but chocolate, sea urchin and oysters so turn me off that I will have to wait for another menu, another venue, or maybe his own place, yet again.