It's long and there are typo land-mines but I've no time for rewrites, sorry and good luck
James Beard apparently didn't go to the Sunday Supper I did. Well I'm sure the PR agent Lucques hired didn't take the James Beard Foundations judging panel there on a sunday at all.
Several months ago when we where all scratching our cell phones to get a table at the Hungry Cat I didn't and went to Lucques. Reservations made I called a friend and asked if she'd like to go, "Your kidding Lucques on a Sunday? you didn't make reservations yet did you". I convinced her to go anyway, and to drive, if the meal was going to be bad and I was paying for both of us I wasn't going to pay for gas. Still I wanted to believe that despite the apparent common knowledge that a Sunday Supper at Lucques was on par with an "all you can eat supper" at Sizzler something would stand out. Well they have a great interior decorator. Well its decorated. Well the pictures look really great on the web site.
1. I've been to fine French restaurants, yes in France. I've even eaten a quiche prepared by an aging French grandmother who grew up on a farm, raised cows, had a pig, and pet chickens and milked, killed, and collected to turn them all into that quiche. Let me tell you it was great.
2. Forgive me for being one of those who will say that food in San Francisco is good and food in Los Angeles is food. The truth is there are some really great places in Los Angeles to eat and in San Francisco there are many, many more. I'm not astonished it's understandable. San Francisco is surrounded by farms, that produce some of the best wines and food products in the state and Los Angeles is surrounded by an ocean steeping in medical wast on one side and the Valley on the other. These great San Francisco restaurants take inspiration from French and world cooking traditions, and have made them something great, something that is there own. I've gone to San Francisco walked on foot for one or two hours and passed several restaurants that have there own cook books, not one or two, try at least 10. (Tartine's cook book at The Cooks Library)
3. I've been to Lucques, and they do a fairly good job at ripping off something you'd find in San Francisco. Even the waiter didn't have to be attractive. They went for Frenchie style grandpa with additional beard at no charge, no weight I'm looking at the receipt there was a charge.
Ok, I have no problem with Grandpa and your not going to ever hear me ask for Freedom fries and Sacrifice de le sang de the troops dipping sauce. Its just that most fine dinners I've run into in LA care more about whatever Dodd Mitchell is working on next than who will be cooking the food "My god l love this fur curtain, and there's going to be food, this is too much". (I was trying to remember if Mitchell had ever hung an animal carcass from the rafters but I don't know if that was him, but it could be, the fur curtain is for sure). The reality is that Lucques Sunday Supper was all the same. I know that the food is good on the weekdays, but what is so appealing about the sunday supper is its price. Its like gourmet out reach, well not really you still have to drop a little money and if you want wine you might as well consider yourself half screwed. Anyway your supposed to get this great Lucques meal in this very French fixed menu night environment. I didn't I got cornbread with greens, tough meat with bland sauce, and the dessert, ha.
Banana bread, and I cant even remember what they tried to call it as to pass it off as a plated dessert (note, it takes more than a plate to make it plated). The bottom of my little banana round was burned, no burned not caramelized. There was some horrible twill cookie and a scoop of butter milk ice cream. Yes butter milk ice cream, no actually just frozen churned buttermilk, no sugar nothing else just butter milk. Bake with buttermilk all day long, great choice over milk, just don't freeze it and tell me its ice cream. OOOh and if you do don't give me a scoop the size of a walnut to try to redeem your dry, burnt banana brick.
I did make it to the Hungry Cat recently, I had the burger and as a salt lover I could only get through half, but still good and the drink specials where great. I don't know what I was getting tossed on but it was red/black and had some herb floating in it.
I must say the Hungry Cat is every thing Lucques Sunday Supper is not. Approachable, fun, sexy, and more of a Portland/New York rip off, well the Portland you don't see in movies and the New York you only see in movies, well I don't think you ever see Portland in movies. It's still a rip but its a great one, I have to say it feels like less of a rip than bringing something warm and city like to Los Angeles. So GO to the Hungry Cat this sunday and save Lucques for the weekdays or just go back to the Cat.