CHOW Tour
Two CHOW editors on a caloric extravaganza exploring innovation, novelty, and deliciousness. rss
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Bistro LQ: We Don’t Get It

We were psyched to eat at Bistro LQ, a Hollywood restaurant often mentioned on Chowhound as "nouveau French" and a not-to-be missed spot in LA. When researching CHOW Tour, we took special note of anything Jonathan Gold recommended, and in the LA Weekly, Gold named the one-year-old Bistro LQ one of the 99 most “essential" restaurants in LA. The chef, Laurent Quenioux, he writes, is a "mysterious ... madman" who creates elegant and unusual dishes including "ant eggs, headcheese and baby-goat burritos, frog legs in barbecue sauce served with a begonia chutney." Well hot damn, that sounded right up our CHOW Tour: Innovation alley.

Escargot with grits

Cheese cart

Cheese condiments

We were disappointed. We only ate there once and the kitchen could have been having an off night. But what we experienced was a pretty mixed bag.

Good stuff: oatmeal infused with prawns. It was totally killer, like a delicious prawn risotto. Also great were grits, vivid green with parsley, and laden with fun, chewy chunks of escargot. They had a mind-blowing cheese cart, with over 30 different French cheeses and interesting condiments, including a "green" ketchup.

Service: It was nice how you could order half sizes of many of the dishes, creating a personalized tasting menu. But although we told the waitstaff we intended to share everything, they never brought us extra plates or serving utensils for the dishes. Although we felt a bit ignored by our food server, the server who suggested wine was spot on: a minerally Sancerre with the seafood, a more astringent Burgundy with the meats.

Questionable stuff: A dish described as a rabbit tart was actually rabbit two ways—a very undercooked, tough, sautéed fillet that we did not finish, and what appeared to be a braise on top of a small circle of pastry dough.

Bizarre stuff: A similar kind of slapdashedness arrived with a plate of great cheeses we selected from the cart. We were each brought three unevenly round, unevenly baked little rolls on a skewer. Were we supposed to eat the cheese with these little rolls? Why were they undercooked? Why were they on a skewer? And although most of the table setting was very pretty—antique mismatched hotel silver, an elaborate silver domed butter dish—the cheese condiments were served with plastic spoons, like you might see in an ice cream shop for dispensing samples.

It seems like the chef really is creative with food, but the execution didn’t quite live up to our expectations.