212 S. Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Thurs, 02/26/2015, 8:15pm reservation
*One of my favorites*
Maude: Curtis Stone. Nine dishes. One ingredient. Exquisite. That is all you really need to know about this gem that we call Maude. Named after Stone's grandmother, the restaurant has been named "Best New Restaurant Los Angeles 2014" by LA Weekly.
Maude is rustic and quaint. With only 25 seats, the restaurant gives an intimacy that so many restaurants lack these days. Fresh flowers are arranged perfectly at the bar counter to elicit a natural touch and femininity. The best seats in the house are at the bar counter. The open kitchen allows you to see the precision and hard work in making each and every dish.
Curtis Stone and his team delivers an immaculate menu each and every month. The concept: create nine plus amazing dishes by incorporating one ingredient to each dish. Sounds pretty simple, right? Yet, the complexity in every bite is astonishing. Without a doubt, the 2-3 hour meal will be unforgettable and difficult to surpass.
The open kitchen
February month: Parsnips ($90 pp)
Prawn: A wonderfully crispy tart that delivers crunch and great flavors. The prawn was extremely delicate and cooked superbly to give the perfect bite.
Smoked Salmon: A bagel doughnut with smoked salmon and garnished with the seasonings of an "everything" bagel. The salmon ball had great texture. It was light and airy, which was great to start off a meal.
Gazpacho: Almond, olive oil, guanciale. The ingredients were presented in a beautifully chilled, frosted plate, while the broth was poured in front of your eyes. The dish was smooth, cold, and creamy. The guanciale (an Italian cured meat similar to bacon) added a bit of saltiness that slightly overwhelmed the dish. Comprehensively, the flavors meshed well together.
Lobster: Grapefruit, watermelon radish. The dish was presented beautifully. The dehydrated grapefruit crumble and foam added a nice texture. The watermelon radish gave freshness and acidity to the dish. And the lobster...so delicate and tender. The lobster oil that was drizzled over the plate was a perfect finish. This dish was beautifully executed.
Bay Scallop: Whey, smoked anchovy, foraged herbs. Sorry folks, I couldn't resist eating this dish and hence, you get a half eaten photo. The scallop was tender and the dish was light. The smoked anchovy broth that the scallops were plated in was to die for. And the herbs? Well, they were foraged the day before. Freshness and perfection was at the heart of this dish. Trust me on this one when I say that this dish was delicious. The photo says it all.
Cavatelli: Spigarello, bone marrow, beet. This was my second to favorite dish. Utterly fresh, the pasta was cooked al dente just the way I like it. The bits of bone marrow was deep fried and melted in your mouth with each bite. The beets and spigarello (similar in texture to kale) rounded out the dish nicely.
"Shrimp and Grits": Amaranth, cured duck egg. This was my least favorite dish. The shrimp was cooked well but the grits were a bit too aromatic for my liking.
Foie Gras: My favorite dish. Pear, endive brioche. As soon as the foie gras hit the grill, the aroma of the liver permeates throughout the restaurant. It is a smell so appealing that your mouth begins to salivate. The foie gras is nicely seared on the outside, seasoned well, and melts in your mouth. The texture was perfect. The burnt brioche complemented the foie gras well and did not relinquish a bitter charcoal taste. This was an extraordinary dish and the intricate detail was outstanding.
Rabbit: Gnocchi, carrot, nasturtium. The rabbit was cooked two ways: one was a delicate, juicy piece while the other was a lovely, yet spongy sausage. Each complemented each other well. The carrot? Well, it was simply divine.
Tomme de Montagne: Cheese. How could cheese taste so delicious? The French cheese was creamy, pungent and full of flavor. It was the perfect cheese course to start off the desserts.
Dessert #2: Raisin: Walnut, caramelized white chocolate. The parsnip ice cream was the best thing that Maude created from this menu. It was extremely luscious and creamy. Everything about this dessert was graceful and was one of my favorite dishes of the evening.
Coffee: Made to order. Simple, bold, strong and delicious. It was a perfect way to end the meal. The sugar box added a nice touch.
Petit Fours: Meringue, cookie sandwiches, and cheesecake. Just when you thought the meal and dessert course was over, you're presented with a lovely set of petit fours. Each bite was extremely delicate. I loved the cookie sandwiches and wish I could have a box of them. They were stunning.
Overall, Maude is exceptional. Having been awarded "the best new restaurant in Los Angeles," the restaurant lives up to the name. Maude takes reservations a month in advance and phone lines are extremely busy on the first of the month. The service and the Maude team make your dining experience memorable. Thank you Curtis Stone for delivering food in a sophisticated and graceful manner. See you in April for my birthday and for an updated review (Asparagus is the ingredient). Word of advice: If you can score a seat at the bar, you'll be one happy camper.