Los Angeles, November 1, 2012—NO PHOTO TONIGHT: it was just too dark, and I can't bring myself to use a flash in a restaurant — it's bad enough to be taking pictures. And it's too bad, too, because the dinner was fairly photogenic, though it tasted even better than it looked.
This was the first and remains, I think, the flagship restaurant of Suzanne Goin, whose credits include three of my favorite restaurants: Al Forno in Providence, the now lamented Campanile which we helped close last night here in Los Angeles, and Chez Panisse. Lucques has been joined by two other Goin rests, AOC — which I like though it is small plates, a format I find not entirely to my taste — and Tavern, which we haven't yet visited.
I started tonight with a revisionist Caesar salad: lettuces with anchovy dressing, torn croutons, parmesan and sieved egg. And then on to the kind of main course I really love: braised beef short ribs with swiss chard, roasted cippolini and horseradish cream — not English, not French, not really Italian though leaning in that direction except, perhaps, for the horseradish. In any case, a fine substantial dish.
The chocolate tart with mascarpone and pistachios was very pretty to see and full of flavor but the pastry tasted a bit of the refrigerator, I thought; a small flaw in an otherwise first-rate dinner. Oh well.
An interesting list here, though not given to inexpensive bottles. We had a delicious dry Vouvray, Pierre et Catherine Breton "La Dilettante," 2009; and then with my beef I had a glass of good sound Syrah.• Lucques, 8474 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, California; 323-655-6277