Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Mini-review: Lucques sunday supper

Lucques is one of my favorite restaurants, but I'm a little leery of the prices. So the $35 prix fixe Sunday supper seemed like a good time to check back in at Lucques. I like how with prix fixe meals you are forced to eat dessert, saving me from making the choice of whether I'll indulge or not. Since it was our anniversary, I had made reservations earlier in the week, before they released this week's menu. I was a little disappointed to find they were offering squash ravioli and chicken as the mains -- I'm never much of a fan of squash ravioli, which I find often tastes like pumpkin pie, and chicken usually seems like the most boring dish on a menu. I would have preferred, say, a fish and a pork dish, but we decided to just try it anyway. After some of their amazing bread, butter, Lucques olives and almonds, the first course was a salad of arugula, avocado, fennel, olives and albacore. At first glance this didn't seem very interesting either, but each ingredient had so much flavor that the whole was delicicious. It was probably the best, butteriest avocado I've ever had, the olives seemed ten times as good as those from Silver Lake Cheese, and the fennel was shaved so finely you could read through it.
Though the autumnal, savory ravioli was the least-sweet version of this I've had, I'm afraid squash or pumpkin-filled pasta will never be one of my favorites. The chicken "al mattone" was wonderful -- the skin was somehow crisped so that it tasted like spicy bacon, and I'd eat rapini and garlic with shredded newspaper, as my father used to say. If only I could learn to whip this up at home.
The dessert pictured was light and pleasant, although we thought the chocolate sauce was gratuitous. I thought the orange sorbet was lovely, although Matt thought it didn't go with the ricotta semi-freddo. Matt had a glass of pinot grigio and I had a glass of pinot noir, both good. While I don't think these dishes were Lucques' best dishes ever, I just don't think you can get this quality of ingredients at very many other restaurants in L.A., and certainly not for $35. I wish I had a Wednesday night free to try the Josie $30 dinner, though...