For years, Angelinos flocked to Lucques, Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s original restaurant in a charming carriage house on Melrose. It was a tough reservation to get, especially for the famous Sunday Suppers, featuring a different prix-fixe menu weekly; Lucques’ Sunday night meal became a consistent weekly outing for countless families and friends. When it closed permanently during the pandemic, a gastronomic hole was left in its place.
Now, the beloved Sunday Suppers have re-appeared in Goin and Styne’s new Portuguese restaurant, Caldo Verde, on the ground floor of the Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel. The vibrant lobby is a joyous introduction to the Portuguese, Californian-inflected restaurant, named for a traditional regional soup. Designed by Kelly Wearstler with rustic wooden tables and chairs, handmade tiles, and rugs, Caldo Verde recalls restaurants on the Mediterranean.
Word is out about the Sunday Suppers and they’re filling the dining room and patio with hotel guests, seasoned and new regulars, as well as food tourists seeking Goin’s adventurous cooking. The pre-fixe three-course menu ($65 per person) is kept small—one starter, two entrees, and a dessert—but it’s curated so diners enjoy a variety of flavors. One recent Sunday meal began with fig toast and roasted grapes garnished with candied walnuts. A starter on another night was a mix of cherry tomatoes, mild anchovies, and olives. This is the time to take a look at the impressive wine list; maybe a Portuguese or Spanish wine you’ve never tried. Or choose an artisanal cocktail. The wait staff knows their stuff, so ask.
Entrees run the gamut from grilled sardines with potato, pepper, and cucumber salad to caldo arroz negro with plump mussels resting on squid ink rice, chorizo, and cherry tomatoes. The braised pork cheeks are roasted morsels of tender pork with polenta, crema, and charred pepper salsa. One night the entree choice was grilled sea bass with succotash salsa, or steak and peppers with dandelion, blue cheese, and grilled toast. My advice is to bring someone who’s willing to share bites.
The ending is never an afterthought. Diners might be offered vanilla meringue stuffed with vanilla ice cream or espresso-chocolate semifreddo. Another possibility might be seasonal fruits gracing the pastry chef’s sweet concoctions. Whatever the menu offers, it will be a meal to remember.
Caldo Verde: Sunday Suppers
Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel
1100 S. Broadway
5:30 until 10 p.m. every Sunday
Future menus are available online at Open Table
A pre-fixe menu is only available on Sundays; regular menu items are not available on Sundays.
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