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Restaurants & Bars 4

more last meals: Mandarin Palace, Lucques, Grace

Dbird | Apr 23, 200512:07 AM

Still trying to maximize last meals in LA, but as ever, I have to balance my own palate with those of friends with whom I would also like to spend some time before I leave on the 1st.

My Korean father recommended Mandarin Palace in Garden Grove (?) for jja jjang myun and jjampong so we had lunch there earlier this week. I have been hooked on Shin Peking's and found Mandarin Palace's markedly inferior. The noodles were like (probably were) flabby, dried spaghetti (if Shin Peking's are not hand-cut, they are close enough, with texture) and the jjang myun and soup flavours were neither well articulated nor well integrated.

The bar at Lucques is an old friend, since Seth (before Seth?) so a natural stop on this last tour (sorry for melodrama-- feeling nostalgic, but sure I will be back). Dinner was great as ever but would have preferred dining off the menu had my companion not been set on the club steak for 2. It's a great hunk of meat, smoky and rich and generous (we got 3 meals from it, and I am still rationing the bone for my dog). I did have a terrific tangle of vegetables to start. I think the menu called them 'marinated' but they were not tart. Asparagus, artichoke, burrata, fava pesto....

Last night at Grace. I had the fois gras and halibut (they were out of scallops) and he had the asparagus soup & wild boar. I loved the foie-- terrine, seared, and a tiny fruit cobbler in a dinky cast iron pan. Halibut was fine too, though the morels were a bit muddy, thought they would be whole. The boar preparation was different from what I remembered last time I saw it-- probably more than a year ago. Slices on a round of I guess it was spaetzle. Served too rare for my cautious friend who liked the researed enough to withhold a taste.

I don't mention wine in these reports because my companions so far are either non- or liquor drinkers, so I am limited to glasses. But have been happy as ever with selections at Lucques & Grace.

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