So, we completed our first full day in town with a splendid dinner at one of the hottest restaurants in town – Curtis Stone’s Maude.
Maude’s business card
The first thing you need to know about Maude is that – unless you plan extremely well in advance, and are extremely lucky, or are related to Chef – your chances of getting in are going to be very challenging. That’s because the footprint of the restaurant is relatively tiny with less than 10 tables, and the online reservation system only opens up about a month in advance and tends to sell out within hours. In our case, we threw ourselves upon the mercy of Christine (a member of the concierge team at L’Ermitage), and she did us proud. As we’re in town for only 4 days, not only did she get us our desired date but, also, our desired time of 8:00 PM. Thank you, Christine!!
AAC CPA arrives at Maude
The action in the dining room on a Friday night
Maude serves a multi-course menu which is built around one “star” ingredient and changes monthly. Already this year, Chef has created menus around carrots, potatoes, pistachios, radishes, garlic and, for this month, it’s cherries. Menu prices have been between $125 – $150 per person and are paid in full (plus 18% gratuity) at the time of booking. Beer and wine are offered with dinner and, if you like, you can choose either a “classic” or “reserve” wine pairing at, respectively $115 and $150 per person. Because we are such cheap dates, AAC CPA and I elected to share the premium pairing. It actually worked out great on all counts.
Once you are seated and asked if there are any dietary issues of concern, then the fun begins. The menu is not presented to you until the end of the evening so as not to ruin the element of surprise. Even looking at the menu during the Uber ride back to the hotel, it does not do justice to the experience. The wait staff is excellent and very welcoming and your fellow diners are convivial. Everyone seems happy to be there and to be sharing the experience.
I would have liked to say that I can faithfully recollect everything we ate, but that would be a bald-faced lie. I did take a lot of pictures of the various courses, which I’m happy to share with you, but I don’t recall now all the preparations and ingredients, but I’ll do my best. Mega apologies to Chef and his team. At the very least, you can enjoy seeing the food and the presentation.
Cherries and fois gras sitting on a light cracker
Jicama, lovage, elderflowers, cherries
Omasum (a/k/a tripe), porcini, anise, cherries
(NOTE: So glad we didn’t know what we eating before we ate it – suffice it to say that each bite was a singular sensation.)
Marcona almond soup with cherries
Sturgeon, which was somehow smoky, in a cherry glaze
Abalone with beans, miso and basil and, of course, cherries
Squab with beets, nasturtium and poached cherries
Served with the squab, puff pastry atop something really good!!
Following the cheese course, clafoutis with cherries
Followed by petits four
Still hungry? Cherry scones to take with us.
One of the best parts of the experience is that, although we ate something like 10 courses (I forgot to include pix of the pasta and cheese courses), by the end of the almost 3-hour meal, we were comfortable and entirely satisfied. The progression and size of each course wasn’t excessive but was entirely sufficient. It’s my favorite kind of dining experience: you get to try a lot of things and not feel as if you have to be carried from the table.
So, if you’re planning to be in Los Angeles – or if you live here – check out Maude and try your luck at scoring a reservation. For most of us, you’ll be saving it for a special experience, but you’ll have a very memorable evening.
CULINARY TIP: Maude