Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne's restaurant has the snap of the new and the ease of the classical. Their converted carriage house is all masonry and wood, with a freestanding fireplace and bow-truss ceilings. The wine list drawn up by Styne is spot-on, with exquisite Madeiras and burgundies. Goin's cooking, Mediterranean in inspiration, flirts with the traditional repertoire. A deglazed shot of honey vinegar sharpens the appetizer of sweetbreads with dates; rice soubise cut with whole-grain mustard ratchets the steamed striped bass from good to great. The panna cotta is made complete with a star burst of blood orange granita. The restaurant is gracious, timeless, and dare we say it, grand.
Best Short Ribs, November 2007
Riddled with fat, girded with cartilage, and often misshapen, short ribs don't look like much. But with patient cooking the nasty bits melt away, bequeathing the meat richness and rendering it impossibly tender, as in the unfussy sous vide
version at the Foundry on Melrose or the cinnamon-tinged tajine
at Josie. But the short ribs at Lucques
are the ones that make us forget ourselves as we pick up the plate to lick it clean. Braised four hours (or more) in red wine, port, and veal stock, they're served over Swiss chard and creamy mashed potatoes and topped with horseradish crème fraîche. Short ribs have been popular on L.A. menus for years, but these, as transporting as a Stephane Grappelli riff, are mind-alteringly good.