This Week in Kuh: On Grilling

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 get to know the critic behind the critique.

“I actually remember the first time I grilled a vegetable. It was one of those everyone-cooks-together parties and I got the job to cook the asparagus. I was about to fill a pot with water to boil them when the hostess pointed at the grill. “Just oil them a bit and watch them,” she said. I paused for long enough to acknowledge this was a moment. Learning to cook in France, there had been no grilling of les asperges.

“I followed instructions, watched them slowly darken as they became scored from the grill in a process that concentrated each spear’s herbal essence. They didn’t even need the lemon juice and salt to make me a believer. Rubicon crossed. This was 10 years ago now, in a friend’s backyard in Altadena.” — as told to Daniela Galarza, just for Grilling Week.

Grilled food memories, from The Kuh Review:

“Things don’t get much simpler than the grilled mushrooms at Hinoki & the
Bird. Slightly redolent of Japanese binchotan charcoal, they’re garnished with
sea salt and a wedge of lime before landing at the table on a matte black plate.
More than good, they say pretty much all you need to know about David Myers’s
new restaurant.” — Urban Roost, June 2013

“But the standout dish [at Bar Amá] is fideo, a type of noodle, which serves
as a base for darkly grilled octopus and segments of smoky kielbasa. Moistened
with shrimp broth that’s been blended with a chile vinegar, the vermicelli rides
a surge of fiery acidity that’s balanced by the pitch-perfect dusting of crushed
pepitas.” — Bar Amá, March 2013

Grill-scored, butterflied Idaho trout sits on a mound of pureed celery root,
a dish so reminiscent of the uncluttered manly cooking found in a WASP fishing
camp, it would make Ralph Lauren weep.” — Cooks County, May 2012

“One of my favorite things to eat [at Sotto] is the seppia, tender cuttlefish
grilled just enough to make the flesh translucent and then placed over Sicilian
caponata, a vegetable stew dense with eggplants and zucchini whose broth is
amped up by a spoonful of cuttlefish ink on the side of the plate. It’s
stupendous.” — Sotto, July 2011 the Magazine: The Kuh Review