Restaurant: Bistro LQ [1, 2]
Location: 8009 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048. (323) 951-1088
Date: October 12, 2010
Cuisine: Modern French
Rating: Food was very good. Service lagged a bit behind.
This restaurant is a year and a half old, and the chef, Laurent Queniox, is French, having worked at Maxim’s in Paris, and then at the Hôtel Négresco in Nice (My wife and I ate there on our Honeymoon, but it was probably long after his time). He bounced around through various LA joints, including his own Bistro K in Pasadena, before opening this one. The food itself is very much like what modern one and two star Michelin places in France are doing, with a 25% dash of California thrown in.
We went with our usual Foodie friends, and hence only considered the 7 course ($70) versus the 10 course ($90) tasting menus. We settled on the 7 course after the waiter told us the 10 course was A LOT of food. They have a 7 course vegetarian menu too which very much excited the vegetarian member of our party.
The first Amuse, “Sea urchin tapioca pudding with yuzo kocho,” tasted like it sounded. The food was exciting out of the gate, but we did have minor service issues. For example, even though we’d gone over the whole “vegetarian” bit at length with the waiter, out came an Sea urchin Amuse for said party. Bus service brought them, and a request for a vegetarian varient took… awhile.
More goodies from my cellar. If you’ve been reading my posts you will notice I don’t screw around in the Burgundy department. Parker gives this Jadot 1997 Grand Cru Chambertin Clos de Beze 94-96 points, saying “harvested at an unheard of (for Burgundy) 14.2 natural potential alcohol. This black/purple-colored benchmark-setter displays saliva-inducing cookie dough and cherry syrup aromas. Immensely ripe and concentrated, yet pure, fresh, and noble, it conquers the taster with unending layers of jammy compote-like fruit flavors. Awesomely dense, deep, fresh, and refined, this stunner has the potential to ultimately merit a score in the high 90s. It seamlessly combines the New World’s over-ripeness and fruit-forward characteristics with Burgundy’s trademark balance, elegance, and structure. The lucky few that will secure a few bottles of this nectar should note that it should be at its peak of maturity between 2003-2015. Bravo!”
But, again the service had some issues. He triggered one of my pet peaves and took awhile to get the bottle opened. I nearly pulled out the Screwpull I keep in my case and took care of it myself (I have no problem beating waiters to the job). He got the bottle open, but I did have to pour for the table the whole night. I don’t really mind, but with food of this calibre a glass should never go empty, it certainly wouldn’t in France.
“Venison Tartar, Green Chartreuse Gelee, Pomme Frite.” The frites were a tiny bit soggy. But the tartar! Yum!
It deserves a closeup. The little quail egg is dumped on top and eaten with the raw venison. Slimy in a good way, rich, and delicious.
“Haddock, from Scotland, marinated in olive oil, Blinis Pancake, Ricotta Lemon Mousse and American Sevruga Caviar.” Nothing wrong with this dish either — although it wasn’t the tartar.
This was a vegetarian vegetable soup. It tasted of fresh veggie, as it should have.
“Salted Cod, Lentils, Octopus, Smoked Duck Wing, Morcella, Piquillo Pepper.” This was a very tasty combination of… a lot of flavors. The richness surrounding the cod made one able to half think it was lobster.
“Salmon, Cippolini Onions, Braised Carrots, Smoked Salt, Wild Mushrooms.”
“Red beet, and burrata sorbet.” A slightly criminal use of Burrata (which I buy by the tub from Bay Cities Deli and make into my own treats — I’ll post sometime), but excellent nonetheless.
“Artichokes, Goast Cheese Curd, Confit Tomatoes.”
This was a kind of fried sweetbreads (veal or beef I think) in a corn soup/ polenta like meal. It tasted VERY good. Sweetbreads, however, are one of the few dishes that give me a minor case of the willies, so I had to pretend they were something else. I also kept imagining my rising uric acid levels.
This was a vegetarian something I didn’t try, but it looked good.
“Hanger Steak, Served with Glazed Shallots, Sweet Potato Smear.” This didn’t suck either.
The 2008 Flor de Pingus, which I had written about bringing to Bazaar (this actually was first), deep inky, but silky smooth. Parker gives it 96 saying, “The 2008 Flor de Pingus had been in bottle for 2 weeks when I tasted it. It offers up an enticing nose of smoke, Asian spices, incense, espresso, black cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it displays outstanding volume, intensity, and balance. Rich, dense, and succulent, it has enough structure to evolve for 4-5 years and will offer prime drinking from 2015 to 2028.”
The cheese. They had a good cart, including some really nice stinky ones, and Eppoisses.
And the condiments were REALLY good, with a variety of different “sauces” and toppings. Walnut and hazelnut, Roasted Cumin Seeds, Canneberges Chutney with Cloves and Walnuts, Apple Gellee, Huckleberries Gellee, Bell pepper Mustard, Tomatillo and Figues Compote, Pumpkin Ginger Truffle honey, Homemade Green Ketchup.
The honey, cumin, and nuts were on a separate plate.
“Pot De Creme. Espresso and Chocolate, Butterscotch Bread Pudding, Vietnamese Coffee, Hazelnut Ice Cream.” This was REALLY good too.
The Petite Fours were also top notch.
Look at these. The marshmallow had a lovely citrus flavor. There was a nice pate de fruits, macaroons, and even little cupcakes with cream-cheese icing. It was all great.
Food-wise, this was a meal worthy of 2 Michelin stars, I’ve had better or worse at such establishments in France depending on how the wind blows. But Bistro LQ needs to get their service up to snuff with the food if they want to play in those leagues. Although, to tell the truth, it didn’t really bother me. The waiter was very nice, and he left the wine bottle on the table so I could self pour. Certainly there was no attitude, they just didn’t show the flawless professionalism of the kind of staff that this sort of food usually commands. But then again, it doesn’t have the prices either (a Paris 3 star can sometimes be 220 Euros for one dish). All in all, we were very satisfied, and will be back to tackle the 10 course.