This Week in Kuh: On Craft Cocktails

Getting to know Patric Kuh, the magazine’s restaurant critic.

You know what Los Angeles magazine restaurant critic Patric Kuh likes (and doesn’t like) at dinner. But do you know anything else about him? Unless you’re his editor or a family friend, probably not. Each week, we’re going to have a chat with Kuh to get to know the critic behind the critique.

Patric Kuh goes out to eat a lot, obviously. And so he notices trends in the food industry before most of us. When craft cocktails started hitting L.A.’s restaurant scene five (or so) years ago, he was delighted. But some some in the restaurant industry are afraid the craft cocktail trend might be all mustaches and tight vests.

“I think it’s easy to laugh at a really intense pursuit of quality, because it can go over the top, but ultimately, I find it inspiring. It opens up a new world to me,” he said. But besides respecting the pursuit of something great, Kuh’s job is to assess restaurants from top to bottom, and that includes service. Anyone who’s been to one of L.A.’s best new bars knows that it can sometimes take over half an hour to get a drink after it’s been ordered.

“The test, for me, is can they get me the craft cocktail when I’m supposed to drink it. The goal of a cocktail is to have a relaxing drink before a meal. It’s not supposed to be paired with your first course.

“That said, I’m someone who responds to passion, and I can tell and taste when it’s real. When the bartender takes the time to tell me about the importance of the shape of ice that they’re using—a large cube, or even crushed ice, depending upon the drink—or when they’re talking about how to mix distilled spirits, and how different spirits can magnify the qualities of each other, that makes me pay attention. I notice that. The signs of a craftsman.” the Magazine: The Kuh Review