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Eating at Maude LA
05/07/2014 by
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What was so interesting about Maude was how each month has a different ingredient theme.  I like this approach.  Not only can you choose what you want to eat, but it also is cool to not have to think about what to order since the entire menu is a tasting menu.  This so far is probably my favorite upscale LA restaurant (possibly attributed to the star of this month … rhubarb).

This is #18 of 52 on my 2014 LA food expedition.

The restaurant itself is located in a rather tiny spot on Beverly between Olympic and Wilshire.  There is a parking structure on Beverly, but I ended up parking for free in nearby neighborhoods about 1/4 mile away (careful of the signs).  The interior decor is pretty rustic, somewhat similar to Hart + Hunter.  They sat me at the bar in front of the kitchen, which is again a real cool experience because you can see the different chefs prepare your food.  The theme of the night was rhubarb, and the purpose was to show that rhubarb can be used in savory dishes in addition to sweet dishes.  It definitely didn’t disappoint and surpassed my expectations.

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1.  Whipped Rhubarb.  With cucumber sorbet and marigold flowers.  This is the palette refresh course.  The idea is to give you a taste of what’s to come in the rest of the menu.  The whipped rhubarb had a foam texture and wasn’t overly sweet.  The cucumber sorbet was simply awesome and very refreshing.  It was a perfect mix between the two.

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2.  Chicken Wing.  With traditional accompaniments.  On the left is basically mashed chicken fried in a ball and placed on a small chicken bone.  The center is fried rhubarb (similar to a french fry) with some pickle.  On the right is rhubarb ranch sauce.  Who would have thought that rhubarb ranch sauce would work? It was really good.  You get some of that typical expected ranch flavor with many hints of the sweet rhubarb flavors in it.  The idea behind this was dip the chicken and rhubarb “french fry” into the rhubarb ranch sauce.  It was pretty fun and delicious.

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3.  Escabeche.  With shrimp, cilantro, and shaved rhubarb.  The shrimp was the typical Santa Barbara spot prawn.  They roast the head, so all the innards are easy to get out.  The body is sliced in quarters and is served on top of pickled onions and carrots.  The sauce that the pickles and shrimp sit in is similar to ceviche.  If I remember correctly, the sauce also has the shaved rhubarb in it.  The dust is shrimp powder and adds salt to the dish.  The prawn was very sweet and succulent.  The sauce was simply out of this world.  The chefs recommend that you dip the head in the sauce and suck the innards out.  I tried that, but it easier to just scoop it out with fork/spoon.

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4.  Asparagus.  With asparagus custard, brown butter croutons, and rhubarb vinaigrette.  The wild asparagus was crunchy and tasty, especially paired with the rhubarb vinaigrette.  I’d be interested in taking a bottle of rhubarb vinaigrette home.

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5.  Branzino.  With fennel, pickled peppers, and squash blossoms.  The branzino was wrapped by rhubarb and sat on top of (I think) lima beans.  It was interesting to have the rhubarb with the fish as it adds a sweet flavor to it along with some of that pepper taste.

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6.  Chicken Liver Parfait.  With spring garlic, pain perdu, and pickled onions.  I don’t remember what the seeds were, but they were in something pickled and sweet (possibly with rhubarb in it?).  The chicken liver definitely had hints of rhubarb.  The little blocks with green drops were fried bread pudding.  Everything was really good in this.

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7.  Sweetbread Raviolo.  With rhubarb beurre blanc, turnip remoulade, and puffed rice.  This was one of my favorite dishes of the night.  Supposedly they used veal sweetbread.  The dough and texture of the ravioli was awesome.  It was thick but not too thick and was cooked perfectly.  The rhubarb sauce definitely worked well with this.  Imagine something sweet with the turnip remoulade.

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8.  Duck Breast.  With savory granola, smoked beets, and leeks.  A very tender duck plus rhubarb sweet sauce makes the perfect duo.  The granola added a little crunch to it along with the fried leeks.  The duck was extremely tender and soft.

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9.  Comte.  With madeira-rhubarb gelne.  This was a post main course dish that is suppose to help with the digestion system.  The rhubarb was actually in little jello blocks and was served with shaved Comte cheese.  The Comte cheese by itself was very good.  That slight bitterness with the rhubarb gel was an interesting pairing.  At first I thought they clashed, but after my palette got used to the clash, it actually started inversely complementing.

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10.  “Trifecta”.  With lavender compressed rhubarb, green rhubarb sorbet, and sweet rhubarb consumme.  This was not on the menu that they handed out, but I call this the trifecta simply because all 3 things in it were unbelievably delicious.  This is a chilled dish, and like my Ink experience, chilled rhubarb in rhubarb syrup is simply one of my favorite rhubarb styles.  This dessert really brought out the best qualities of rhubarb and is simply the epitome of rhubarb greatness.

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11.  Ginger Parfait.  With vanilla-rhubarb gratin, salted honey, and almond streusel.  At dim sum restaurants, there’s a tofu dish you can order which they pour ginger sweet syrup over it.  The ginger tofu in this dish tasted very similar to that.  Underneath the ginger circular tofu was a crust of some sort.  The vanilla-rhubarb gratin is sitting to the right and was also very good.  This was a nice closure to the night for everything rhubarb.

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12.  “Dessert Fin”.  With rhubarb marshmallow with dehydrated “flower”, rhubarb strawberry cream puff, and dark chocolate ganashe with cocoa nips.  This is the final dish unlisted on the menu.  Of the three, I liked the rhubarb strawberry cream puff the most.

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13.  “Take Me Home Tonight”.  The very last thing was a very nice gesture that I wish many higher end restaurants did more.  As an appreciation for your visit, they gave you a small jar with housemade yogurt and rhubarb compote.  Like most take home desserts and life, I just usually give it away to people I think would enjoy it more than I would.  From what I heard, it was very tasty.  And no, the dessert wasn’t actually called “Take Me Home Tonight”.

My experience at Maude was simply outstanding.  The food and service was impeccable especially as a solo diner.  So far from my list, this is by far the best restaurant I have been to thus far.  Every dish seems to have been carefully thought out, and it shows in the presentation and quality/complement of ingredients.  This will definitely not be the first and only time for me because  I will be back later in future months.  Definitely check out their site for more 2014 themed months.

Visit: Maude, Beverly Hills, LA
#18 of 52 2014 LA food expedition

 

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