Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bistro LQ

Bistro LQ has been on my to-try list ever since they opened up the Los Angeles location back in July 2009. Former owner and chef of Bistro K in Pasadena, Chef Laurent Quenioux moved to Mimosa's former location in Los Angeles and brought his innovative and sophisticated vision for food with him. Although I haven't had the chance to dine at Bistro K, I was quite aware of the chef's reputation for amazing, smart French food and I was determined to check out the goods. After meeting Chef Laurent at the Angeleno and Taste of the Nation Event and tasting his signature dish, I knew I was in for a treat and was very excited about my reservations the following weekend.

I had made late dinner reservations for a Friday evening, 9 p.m. to be exact. The restaurant is small, but with the modern art against white walls, the space felt inviting and elegant. Even with a late reservation, J and I saw there were a few parties enjoying their late dinner as well. The diners was a diverse bunch: a young Asian couple that appeared to be on their first date, a loud group of industry "creatives" finishing up one of their many bottles, and even a couple of girlfriends looking for a great late night meal before heading out to one of the hot spots in Hollywood. I came ready to eat and knew I'd be in for a long, but delicious meal.

Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Brut Rosé

As you can tell, I love rosés so I tend to enjoy one before my meal.This particular rose was fruity on the nose and very easy to drink. Quite delicious.

I forgot to write down which white wine J got and there is no way he would remember, so this one may be lost forever - haha. I did, however, taste the wine and it was crisp and had a very smooth finish.

The bread and butter came out while we were enjoying our pre-dinner drinks. The bread was warm, but I had to show some restraint. It's summertime and I can't eat the way I want to... Bikini season is an unforgiving time.

amuse bouche 1: quail egg, uni topped with caviar, cilantro, nori

The first amuse bouche could not have been a better start for me. The creamy uni and quail egg was delicious and a nice contrast to the salty caviar. I also really enjoyed the cilantro and the nice heat at the end.

amuse bouche 2: huckleberry sorbet with foie gras

The second amuse bouche was a nice palate cleanser for me. The dish was refreshing and sweet from the huckleberry sorbet at first. Then, the hint of foie gras comes through giving it a savory finish.

sea urchin tapioca pudding with yuzu kocho, Kumamoto oysters in yuzu lobster gelee

The half order of the uni tapioca pudding dish was small but flavorful. The uni was perfect and I really enjoyed the tapioca pudding, which gave a different spin on how I usually eat uni. The lobster gelee was fairly mild so I welcomed the oyster at the bottom for that great oceanic flavor.

Dungeness crab and calamari salad, fennel apple slaw with chorizo vinaigrette, avocado gratin with pistachio

Our only salad of the night was the Dungeness crab and calamari salad. I wanted a bit more big chunks of crab meat, but the crab flavor was definitely front and center. The calamari gave the whole dish a nice bite, which was nice when eaten with the creamy avocado on top. The fennel and apple slaw made the entire dish bright and the vinaigrette added the perfect amount of spice to this delicate dish.

foie gras 3 ways:
 torchon: violette scented, spring vegetables Russian salad-style, terrine: wasabi marshmallow and yuzu gelée

sautéed: oxtail, frisee with rose oil vinaigrette

When you see foie gras prepared three different ways on a menu, you know you have to order it. I started off with the sauteed which was was on top of an oxtail pastry. The foie was heavy so I really relied on the oxtail pastry to back up the richness. The torchon had a nice floral and citrus finish, but my favorite was the terrine. The bits of kosher salt on top was key in the terrine preparation, which easily made it my favorite. The wasabi marshmallow and the yuzu gelée nicely tempered the unctuous and rich liver. If you decide to order this and are not used to the buttery lushness of the foie gras, I suggest asking for an extra roll of bread to accompany the liver.

2006 Premières Cotes de Blaye, Château des Matards, Blend (Bordeaux, FR)

For the meats, I asked our waiter for a red that was easy to drink but that had some body. The bordeaux was just that. Easy to drink, but quite complex both in taste and on the nose.

hanger steak, served with glazed shallots, chanterelle, sunchoke puree, jus

The steak was cooked perfectly, but my favorite part of the meal was the roasted shallots. They were so soft and so flavorful, it went perfectly with the hanger steak. After having my first experience with sunchoke purees at Craft a couple of years ago, I'm always delighted to see it on the menu. With the consistency and flavor much like potato puree, I loved the velvety texture and buttery finish of the sunchoke puree.

veal kidneys and veal sweetbreads, wild mushrooms, Colman mustard jus with tarragon, gratin of gnocchi with artichokes

The sweetbreads were fantastic in texture and in taste, however I thought that the Colman mustard jus was a bit overpowering. Even though I tend to love acid and the vinegar flavor, I thought it took away from the flavor of the sweetbreads and kidneys. The gratin of artichokes did, however, do a great job of tempering the tartness from the jus.

pot de creme, espresso & chocolate, butterscotch tapioca, tonka been and white chocolate panna cotta

I was really full by this point, but if you know me, you know I'm a dessert person. After eating a lot of savory dishes, I have to finish off the meal on a different note, usually something sweet or something with citrus. My dad is just the same way, so he always eats fruit after a meal and then some ice cream. Guess I know where I got my sweet tooth from! The butterscotch tapioca was so delicious and nothing like anything I've had before. It wasn't too sweet, but that's dangerous in that it tricks me into thinking I can have more of it. The pot de creme was the sweetest out of the trio, but still had the nice bitterness from the espresso to round out the sweetness. The panna cotta was also amazing - creamy yet firm. Outstanding dessert.

avocado mousse, chocolate macaron and frozen chocolate mousse

This second dessert was brought out as compliments from the chef and it was probably the last dessert I would've thought of ordering. I've never had avocado mousse but, hey, I'm always game to try something new. The mousse was sweet, but was full of the creamy avocado flavor - it was very interesting. The chocolate mousse was a perfect balance to the avocado mousse - more bitter than sweet. They went really well together.


I really wanted to try out their awesome cheese cart, but J is not a big fan of cheese. Unlike yours truly, he tends to shy away from dairy. However, I was not going to leave empty handed. I asked our waiter if they had my favorite cheese on hand. At first, he said they were all out of epoisse, but after checking with the chef, he was able to slip me a piece. And that small piece of epoisse was so heavenly! It's been quite awhile since I had my epoisse fix and it was as lovely as ever - salty, creamy and just plain wonderful.

minigardises: strawberry gelee, pistachio macaron, assorted chocolates, etc.

The macarons were my favorite out of the minigardises. I don't know what flavor the last macaron was, but there was a definite peppery kind of kick. I looked at Bistro LQ's dessert menu online, and I'm guessing it is jalapeno chocolate. If any of you happen to know which flavor it is, please let me know.

Hardly a bistro, Bistro LQ serves up sophisticated French cuisine with local ingredients in a clean, modern setting. My meal felt like a small journey filled with surprises and new adventures. I admire Chef Laurent's creativity and his execution for smart, innovative food.  Many thanks to Chef Laurent and his sous chef, Chef Daniel for taking care of me and making this meal such a memorable one. Even though it too me almost a year to dine at Bistro LQ, I can say with confidence that it was well worth the wait. My next trip will be for the cheese cart and the dessert tasting!

Bistro LQ on Urbanspoon

Bistro LQ in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

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


kevinEats said...

So you up for going again? =)

bagnatic said...

bikini season? haha, it must go hand in hand with "pervy-dudes-drooling-at-bikini-girl season" too.

wow, the meal looks great! never had epoisse cheese before...i am intrigued.

nelehelen said...

kevin - i wish i was going tonight, but I'll be attending the chef's roundtable. I know you will more than eat my share! ;) how about a dinner in July?

amy - lol yes, pervy dudes everywhere I'm sure... and you MUST try epoisse cheese... it's like eating a piece of heaven. lol.. CHEESE HEAVEN!

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