Dinner at Lucques last night was one of the better meals I have had in a long time. Not as crowded as past Friday nights, there seemed to be a relaxed atmosphere that I really appreciated. Our four top wasted no time ordering cocktails, a couple of nicely dry Kettle One martinis as we settled into our comfortable booth. They have recently changed the menu, adding a spring element and discarding, among others, the suckling pig I had heard so much about. Starters included curried lentil salad with mussles and cilantro, blood oranges with parmesean almonds and dates and the mixed green salad. The lentil salad was served just below room temperature. The curry, though present, did not overwhelm the dish. The lentil salad was drizzled with yogurt, with the soft marinated mussles playing nicely against the subtle crunch of the lentils. Though I only had one bite of the blood orange salad, it too made efficient use of its ingredients to create a great contrast of flavors. I must say the dates were exquisite. There was a peanutty taste that was unmistakeable and delicious. Even though there were four of us, each couple orderred the same main courses. The pancetta wraped roasted sea bass with grilled asparagus and what I think was kale. This dish sung harmoniously. The sea bass was not fatty suggesting the Californian-Mexican variety. The second main was the Halibut with preserved meyer lemon, creme fraiche and fingerling potates. The lemon seemed to permeate the entire dish. Not exactly to my liking, though my wife loved it. The wine list, though very expensive IMO, had a few gems. We settled on '00 Gigondas Dom. Cayron. Wonderful grenache fruit, earthy with a mild sweet tanin. Dessert was somekind of apple cinnamon cumble with vanilla bean ice cream.
It was nice to head west for a change of scenery and enjoy one of the the top places in LA. The team at Lucques has proven over time that they are here to stay and measure up to the task.