September 11, 2009

Bistro LQ

In July 2009, Chef Laurent Quenioux opened up Bistro LQ, serving up his French Nouvelle California cuisine with a Farmer's Market driven kitchen. To be honest, I can't say that I am especially well versed in French Cuisine. During my trip to France I think I visited more patisseries than fine dining establishments. Its true, I have one heck of a sweet tooth! So I was pretty excited to try out Bistro LQ with fellow food bloggers and foodie-extraordinaires PepsiMonster, samkimsamkim, LAOCfoodie, olivejina and estarla.

The dining room itself is modern and simple, yet exquisitely elegant. And the waiters, while dressed in their standard black uniforms, spice it up just enough with their bright red converse, adding a little flare and personality to the otherwise clean and classic dining room.

Chef Quenioux offers both a 6 and a 9 course tasting menu (the 9 requires the participation of the whole table). There was a little debate at first, but thankfully we decided to go with the 6 course. That was a good decision seeing as though our 6 courses magically turned into 12 with the various amuse bouche, intermezzos, cheese and desserts. Had we decided to dive in actually go with the 9 course menu, we definitely would have been there long enough to see the sun rise!

My two favorite dishes, hands down, were the lobster tapioca with uni and the touchon-style foie gras. The Lobster tapioca with uni (sea urchin) was simply heavenly. The creamy and slightly spicy tapioca topped with the fresh uni was phenomenal. I savored the flavors of each tiny bite hoping that they would linger in my mouth forever. The Phillo filled with oxtail jam, and topped with Torchon-style foie gras, frisee and pistachio oil left me speechless. The oxtail jam stuffed phillo was rich and savory, and the foie gras was cool and creamy. The perfect compliments to each other creating one absolutely extraordinary dish. I still have dreams about this dish...

Some other dishes included Cuttlefish with chanterelles and quinoa served with a smoked egg; Smoked eel served on top of seared foie gras and topped with caramelized apple; Veal cheeks, corn sorbet, pea shoots, pea guacamole and pea gazpacho; Smoked salmon with a fried squash blossom and cucumber sorbet and Squab with duck hearts, duck gizzard pastilla with pistachios, rhubarb and ras el hanout jus.

Overall, the entrees were very good. A few of the dishes involved smoking, and the smoky flavor was a bit overwhelming and for me and took away from the otherwise fresh and rich flavors.

But now, it was time for everybody's most anticipated course....THE CHEESE!!

The cheese cart as Bistro LQ is no laughing matter. It is a cheese cart to rival cheese carts in Los Angeles. From creamy, to pungent, to firm and to fresh. There was a cheese for every craving. In addition to the amazing array of cheeses, Bisto LQ offers an assortment of breads, truffle honey (oh yes, I said truffle honey!), and various jellies and condiments to accompany your cheese selections.

Finally, to top off our fabulous meal we ended with tea and dessert. I was so excited when the waiter brought out my tea, and along with it he brought two beautiful flavored sugars - coconut sugar and marshmallow sugar. Maybe it is the girl in me, or the child in me, but I loved the novelty of the bright blue marshmallow sugar. Not only did it look beautiful, and smell great, it made the tea taste exquisite.

The desserts, on the other hand, were not the standouts of the meal. They were beautifully plated, however most of them were fruit based, and I tend to stay away from the "healthy" desserts.

Verdict: There were some dishes (including the lobster tapioca with uni and the touchon-style foie gras) that I will continue to dream about and that I will wait in anticipation to try again, and there were also some misses. But overall, it was an experience that I would not pass up. Laurent Quenioux put together an exquisite array of dishes that are more than worthy of sampling.

Bistro LQ
8009 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048-4503
(323) 951-1088

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