December 30, 2012


As a huge fan of Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne and the greatness they create at A.O.C, Tavern, and the Hungry Cat, I was very eager to finally visit Lucques.  Goin and Styne sure know what they're doing because the meal surpassed my every expectation -- and trust me, I had some high expectations.

Note: Apologies in advance for the poor quality of my photos.

Dinner Menu -- 12.29.12

A little background for those who care: Lucques is a French term for green table olives.  The meaty, but sweet olives can essentially be paired with anything.  Here, we started our evening off with a small plate of Lucques with salted almonds.  Two of my favorite things!  This is the moment I knew I was in for a huge treat.

Les Lucques avec roasted almonds.

As appetizers, we opted for the spiced lamb loin and the roasted kabocha squash with burrata.

The Spiced Lamb Loin was presented on a bed of dandelion leaves, roasted carrots, black olives, cumin, and feta.  The photo below is terrible, but the lamb was seared to perfection, and the vegetables were flavorful with just the right amount of spice from the cumin and salt from the feta and black olives.

Spiced Lamb Loin -- $19

Oh burrata, how I love thee.  But surprisingly, it was the roasted squash and brussel sprouts that shined.  The pepito pesto, which was paired with something similar to a balsamic reduction, enhanced the flavors in the veggies to the point where they distracted me from the burrata.  What?!  That never happens!  Good job, squash + sprouts.

Kabocha Squash with Burrata -- $19

Believe it or not, the meal gets better.

Voila the Grilled Market Fish (Barramundi, aka - Asian seabass) with black rice, curried cauliflower, and persimmon-pomegranate salsa.  It was my first time having barramundi, a fish with flaky flesh and a mild flavor when cooked.  But the mildness of the fish didn't reduce the richness of the black rice or the sweet tanginess of the persimmon-pomegranate salsa.  Each bite was so heavenly, I can't even properly describe...

Barramundi over black rice with persimmon-pomegranate salsa - $32

But the real ticket winner, by maybe a hair, was the Grilled Pork Chop, dressed with chorizo fried potatoes, sweet peppers, and a black olive chimichurri.  Holy moly, are you joking me?  I've never had a pork chop so perfectly grilled and matched with the slightly spicy and crispy chorizo potatoes.  I could've done without the chimichurri, but it certainly didn't take away from the deliciousness that I so happily chomped on.  Bravo, bravo!

Grilled Pork Chop -- $32

For dessert, I was surprised with the Creme Fraiche donut with pumpkin ice cream, marshmallow, and roasted pepitas (aka - pumpkin seeds).  This dessert has my name all over because 1) I love creme fraiche, 2) I love pumpkin, and 3) I don't love donuts, but I've been in a donut (or Doahnut) phase recently.  And let's be real; you can't go wrong with adding marshmallow.  Plus, the lovely early greeting only brought a smile to my face.

Creme Fraiche Donut -- $12

The restaurant is a bit tough to find as the facade is covered in leafy greenness.  But despite its elusive exterior, you'll feel right at home as soon as you walk through the wooden black doors.  Upon entry, you'll find a full bar on your right, a back patio straight ahead, and tables throughout the rest of the space.  The tables and chairs toward the middle of the room, which is where we sat, are situated very close to each other.  In a way, you'll feel a sense of communal eating.  If that's not the kind of intimacy you want, you'll probably find more privacy sitting along the sides of the restaurant.  Despite the close proximity of the patrons, there's something nice and strangely warm about chatting with your neighbor about the deliciousness of a certain dish or sharing your thoughts on certain topics.  I'm convinced this is because everyone is generally pleased with their meal -- good food puts people in good moods.

While I can't say Lucques is "the" best restaurant in LA, I can honestly say that it's the best meal I've eaten in a very long time.  It's a lovely place, deserving of all the hype.

Thanks for the early bday meal, PJ!

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Lucques on Urbanspoon

cuisine: New American
location: West Hollywood
websites: { L | yelp | facebook | twitter }
parking: Street meters or valet
attire: Smart casual
notes: They do Sunday Suppers!