Dedicated to FoodGPS: see, I do like stuff. Really.
1 dessert amuse, 5 dessert courses, handful of petit fours, 10 jams for 5 types of cheeses, all in 1 and a half hours. O, and extra crunchy sugary lemon marshmallows to go. Such gluttonous monstrosity doesn’t begin to describe our post dinner degustation that night.
To rekindle the euphoric memory, all I need are 2 words: truffle honey.
Afraid of official opening day snafus, I called in to make sure the FOH would still seat us at nearly 10pm. Eric rest assured us it’d be ok. Upon settling down, the grubbing partner complained of someone’s stank feet. Except I’d changed socks. We peered to the right and voila: the lovely cheese cart appeared before us. I chuckled at the cheese cart being draped with cheese cloth. No one else laughed. If no one else laughs, is the irony ironic? Apparently not.
Bistro LQ was pimped on Thrillist and B+S. While a few, ala Eater LA, were invited to soft opening, the dessert degustation appeared as the easiest way to satisfy my curiosity. After all, there is only 1 other major dessert tasting menu left in LA since XIV changed their menu format. Bazaar has a comprehensive dessert program, but tasting the entire menu would be quite cost prohibitive. We did the Providence dessert tasting late last year with all these fine folks, and it was time to sample some tailored desserts again.
First up, dessert amuse:
Chocolate mouse with poprocks(?) and some lady finger thingie. This will be the beginning of our journey towards endless mousse. Some are mousse, some ended up being straight creme anglaise chilled to frozen fat form. Lactose intolerant? Stay away from LQ.
Figs, Spiced Cheverny Wine Reduction, Gingerbread with Olive oil Ice Cream
The braised chilled figs were sitting in a shallow collection of cool, light, obviously filtered wine reduction. This prep was a first for me. The gingerbread gently absorbed the wine reduction yet did not crumble into smithereans. Olive oil ice cream sat to the side in stemware, and reminded me of Rulman’s chilled creme anglaise as ice cream recipe. It was light on the olio versus the samples I recently found at Bulgarini’s and supremely thick on heavy cream & egg. Restrospectively, should’ve taken the olive oil creme, spread it onto the gingerbread, THEN let it take in the wine reduction for consumption.
Can’t say this dish was in my scope of flavor profiles but dangit, it made me think twice, if not thrice, of what I was inputting into my system.
Composition around dark chocolate
Soufflé style, scheshaun peppercorn; chocolate pancake, mascarpone, chocolate oil; cinnamon churros, warm chocolate sauce
So the pastry chef spelled “Szechuan” / “Sichuan” incorrectly, bygones. The peppercorn bits at the bottom was an awesome surprise. It’s about time someone punched up a faved dessert with a faved Chinese spice. INSTANT win. Almost better than the spicy lemongrass curry ice cream I churned. Almost. The choco sandwich w/ mascarpone is like a jazzed version of SO’s fave: Korean choco pie. I love cream cheese. She loves chocolate. This dish is so overpowering, I was KO’d right away. No more please.
Composition around Tonka Bean: Pana cotta, Sour Cream Sorbet, White Chocolate Mousse
Tonka’s sole goal in life is to flip the bird to vanilla. It smells better (with obvious hints of almond), it smells more subtle and.. WAIT A MINUTE.. it’s BANNED BY THE FDA? Sign me up doubly? This “Composition” was my fave. When Pastry Chef Morseli says “sorbet”, think “ice cream”. When he says “ice cream”, think.. chilled creme anglaise. The contrast between the sorbet, panna cotta, and mousse was just sublime as you go from left to right, or right to left. Fun; not molecular gastro, but carefully paired flavors and texture. And a welcome relief after the chocolate punches to the face.
Next: Avocado mousse, stewed basil seeds in lime gel, chocolate ganache with Serranos
Basil seeds in lime gel were clearly to emulate passion fruit seeds. It was certainly cool but.. the natural flavor of passion fruit is just as likable. I lost all flavor of avocado within the mousse as well. None of that was important tho. Just look at this piece. It’s like neo-90s towering food art resurrected for 2009. Has the painted chocolate sheets in random yet purposeful diagonals, has huge sheets of deep red rose petals sandwiching shadowy green. This is dessert art, make no mistake. Even if it doesn’t taste that great, it’s still beautiful. Reader beware: I’m biased because avocados are blase to me. I’m sure nowhere else would one find avocado flavored with serrano’d chocolate ganache. This was too abstract to comprehend yet it was deeply appreciated.
We had some cheese:
Then there are the bombastic cheese condiments. Yes, condiments, and not the actual cheese cart; eight dollops of house made gelees, salsa, purees and jams. Then there’s tour de force shown at the top: the truffle honey. We let the fromagier choose several creamy and couple of softer cheeses, ranging from camembert to epoisse. I didn’t even bother with the names because remembering all the sauces pained me at 11pm. Through The LQ website’s cheese page (replicated on the menu), you can see there is art and heart behind this cheese cart.
More pix of the cheese course. Make no mistake, this is a course; programs are nice but useless if poorly presented. For a bistro, this is above and beyond. Yes, each tiny mason jar holds its own wooden spoon so nothing’s cross contaminates. With all that detail and excitement, it’s still difficult to look past the truffle honey.
The entire space is elegant, definitely un-bistro like, muted, with fresh flowers everywhere, and dotted with art. There is a small outside terrace but the interior is perfectly matched to the delicate food. Chef Q came out in his chefware, looking JUST LIKE HIS PR picture, to say hello. All the sudden life is well on this section of Beverly, just westernly of the old restaurant stretch which includes heavy hitting competition from BLD/Terroni/Grace/Cobras y Matador to the soon-to-move Hatfields, etc.
Grand opening: July 21st.
- « Hungover Thursday news: Blue Velvet Happy Hour, Eagle Rock gets Froyo
- » Stuffing your face, again, for a good cause: Plate by Plate