I'm tempted to say that Chowhound might consider devoting a separate section to Lucques, such is the enthusiasm with which LA Hounds relate their experiences there, and I readily admit to being a big fan.
This was reinforced last night by a marvelous dinner, made all the better by impeccable and superbly informed service from Rolf, our waiter. Berlin-born, and a Lucques lifer, Rolf has been there since Chef Goin first opened her doors seven years ago and told us proudly that he had tested some of the dishes for the Sunday Suppers.
To get us going, Rolf guided us towards a superb Chambrolle-Mussigny, and although I didn't drink any myself (Lent, for you heathens), I did sniff deep from a glass and could tell that I was missing something great. Roll on Easter!
We were a large and irregular bunch (two pals joined us late, and at different times), made all the rowdier after about six bottles of this Burgundy, and it was to his great credit that Rolf cruised through the night with patience and polished aplomb.
But on to the food. At the suggestion of several Hounds recently, I went straight for the Lamb Tartare. Ooh, it is good, with those crisp little blini style flatbrads and that little dollop of pungent sauce. I steered some of my hard-to-please crowd (they are architects, so it comes with the terroir) towards the Romanesco, and the lettuce greens, which were received enthusiastically, but there were at least three other lamb takers, all of whom marveled at the depth and flavor of such an apparently simple thing.
For main courses, it was a mixed bag. Being a Libran, I was torn between the braised cod and the lamb 'all latte'. I resolved this dilemma by ordering the duck breast, and I was very happy I did. Again, it is simple, but the confluence of flavors from the braized cabbage, the dates and the duck is really wonderful.
The gang desperately wanted someone to order the suckling pig, but no-one did. So that's for another day. There were various orders of fish, short ribs and gnocchi, all of which were polished off with great alacrity (and not a little noise).
A round of desserts finished us off completely, and more or less tossed us into the Hollywood air happy, a little drunk, and very satisfied.
Someone commented here recently that LA is a pale shadow of its northern sister, San Francisco, and I presume it was meant in culinary terms only. Being a NY blow-in, I can't say. But I can say that Lucques is a bright, bright star, and may it cast a strong light on the city of angels for a long time to come.
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