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Restaurants & Bars 2

Piccolo Paradiso & Lucques, our newest raw food restaurant

JudiAU | Apr 19, 200501:02 PM

Ate at Piccolo Paradiso Saturday night. Their pick. "Best Italian ever." Husband had a good meal with them previously there.

Split a beef carpaccio with husband. Strong mustard sauce ladled over all meat. Lots of capers. Shallots, too. Pleasant tasting and tender but little to no "meat" flavor. Disappointing. If I order raw meat I want to eat raw meat. Bah.

Had a duck filled pasta as a second course. Bah. Large portion. One half of the ravioli was in a pool of butter. One half of the ravioli was in a pool of super reduced wine. I was told that their pasta is made in house and if so, the maker has no love of their customers. Dough was thick and chewy not supple and giving. Filling was soft and tasted vaguely of meat. No real duck flavor. Pasta and sauce had no real connection. Bah. Husband said it was better when he tasted it before.

Mr. JudiAU's fruite de mare was much better, if not better than what we make at home. Like most fruite de mare, seafood was almost all overcooked. Portion was large and immediately cooled causing the large amount of fat in the tomato sauce to slide unpleasantly around on the tongue.

With wine and sparkling water, bill was about $80 for two.

Ate at the bar at Lucques Friday night. Good cocktails being made at the bar, including several of Seth's standards. Happy making.

Spilt an appetizer of white asparagus, morel mushrooms, green garlic, and Serrano ham topped with a soft cooked duck egg. It was like being smacked in the face with spring. Excellent. A fine example of the distinction of between restaurant food and home cooked food. A seemingly simple dish that I know that I wouldn't be able to recreate in ten years. There was just *more* there than the home cook can coax out of those simple ingredients.

As a second course, had a terrific ceviche made with hamachi. The hamachi was in a light cure with Mediterranean flavors including pistachio oil. Wonderful. (And certainly the lightest thing that I have ever eaten at Lucques. Really nice follow up to the buttery goodness of the first course.)

Mr. JudiAU had the kibbe. A large mound of raw lamb with traditional seasoning. Lamb was high quality and appeared to be hand chopped with very little bulgur. Excellent. Various companions that I was not allowed to try.

A fair amount of joking after the meal about Lucques turning into a raw food restaurant. *Good* raw food.

With cocktails, wine and sparkling water, bill was about $80 for two.

One of these was clearly the better value.

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