I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner at Maude last night. This month each of the nine courses incorporates rhubarb. Every course was interesting and flavorful.
A few favorites -
Asparagus with brown butter croutons and rhubarb vinaigrette
Branzino with rhubarb, fennel, pickled peppers & squash blossoms
Duck breast with leeks, beets, rhubarb and savory granola
Ginger Parfait - vanilla rhubarb gratin, salted honey & almond streusel
The staff was competent and friendly, the rooms is pleasant and the pace of the meal was spot on.
I love rhubarb. I couldn't get in though. I'm admittedly jealous! Very sad to miss the rhubarb menu =(
With that being said, I'm gonna pass on the $125 morels and see what's happening in July
No need to wait. July is berries. Morels was a real pain to book (3 hours of calling non stop on May 1st). Berries should be easier. Not saying easy. Just easier than morels.
Sorry it's taken me a few days, but about my thoughts on the meal I had at Maude on 6/17/14, I'd say it was an excellent intro to Morel mushrooms for the uninitiated such as myself. A few thoughts:
Strong dessert program:
As I experienced during the Citrus theme in February 2014, desserts by pastry chef, Vanessa Garcia were very strong and a special highlight. I went in very skeptical about whether or not the Maude team could successfully pull off Morel desserts, but that was accomplished with flying colors, imho with the Morel ice cream bar and brilliantly so with the Black Forest Floor dessert. The Mignardise at the end was intentionally devoid of Morel, as conceived by the Maude team to "give the diner a break" according to a server.
Slightly sugary savories:
While not faltering in execution, I'm not exactly a fan of how Maude adds a sugary note to savories. I would've preferred that the Passionfruit Snow that came with the Kampachi crudo be a separate course or in a shot glass. I tend to taste all of the components of a dish separately if presented in a deconstructed manner before composing my bites; the Morel Anglaise Foam for the Pork Belly course was also a wee bit sweet for my tastes. Still, I attribute my lack of cheery enthusiasm to my preferences and would not lower my overall rating for the Morels tasting menu, nor my cumulative experience at Maude (5 stars to be eventually posted somewhere on the internet).
My missed Food Porn opportunity:
Posting pics from the Morel meal. However, please note that I'm missing a photo of the Duck Egg dish, which came in as #6 if you count the Morel popcorn as a 1st course (cursed be the effects of the wine -- I lost track of what I photographed :/ ).
The Duck Egg dish was delivered to the table covered with a porcelain lid, the hickory smoke scenting the contents underneath -- a photo op not to be missed, hope you have better luck than I did.
A list of photos I'm uploading to CH-LA:
1. Amuse | Brown Butter Popcorn with Morel Salt
2. Acquerello Risotto
3. Cream of Morel Soup
4. Kampachi Crudo
5. Seared Scallop
[Photo missing for 6. Duck Egg]
8. Pork Belly
9. Lamb Saddle
10. Cheese course | Taleggio [looks like a baked gooey cheese ball]
11. Coffee and Morel | Vanilla Ice Cream Bar
12. Black Forest Floor | Chocolate Cake
13. Mignardise [No Morels used in Mignardise]
14. Morel Salt tin and menu as a parting gift
I am sure peas were great and morels will be as well. The rhubarb was incorporated so well into each course and the evening didn't feel gimmicky or like it was trying too hard at all. Yes the duck was amazing as well as the dessert. There were four of us and there was not a single item that was not delicious.