“Let’s start from the end. The cheese cart,” says Porthos. “There is somewhere around 15-20 types of cows, sheep, and goat cheeses offered. There is an excellent mix of hard and soft cheeses, fresh and aged cheeses, mild and pungent cheeses. This cheese cart eclipses pretty much every other cheese cart I’ve seen at any fine restaurant I’ve ever been to be it NYC, SF, or LA.”

Porthos is talking about Bistro LQ. It’s a mix of bistro classics, fine dining, and crazy molecular gastronomy—and it’s affordable, too, as high-end small-plates Los Angeles places go. That means $10 appetizers and $19 entrées for stuff like sea urchin tapioca pudding with Kumamoto oyster shots, with savory pudding, sweet sea urchin, and toasted nori. It’s possible, says Porthos, for the budget-conscious person to get out of here for $50, which is basically unheard of for this sort of food in this crazy town.

Everyone in town is doing burrata these days, says Porthos, but how many people pair burrata sorbet with sweet beets, and then top it all with lobster salad corn cannoli? There is perfectly cooked black bass with winning blood sausage. There are thick, deliciously seared scallops. (Just avoid the octopus, says Porthos—it’s “the kitchen’s Achilles heel.”)

Bistro LQ [West Hollywood]
8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles

Discuss: Bistro LQ: Fine Cuisine, Bistro Prices, an Unrivaled Cheese Cart

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