Imagining Curtis Stone’s L.A. restaurants are both sassy sisters (when in actuality they are named for his two grandmothers), Gwen and Maude represent two very different types of L.A. female personas. Gwen is the leather-jacket wearing, meat-eating Hollywood tough girl while Maude is the demure, Chanel-clad flexitarian.
Although these restaurants have some similarities, just like sisters they have their own very strong personalities. Both follow tasting menu formats with a pre-purchased ticketed reservations system that allows you to pay for your dinner, drinks, and tip a month before you’ve even experienced it. Of course this is not without its critics but you do get the feeling that you are getting a free meal since you took care of it on your last credit card statement. But while Maude is strictly a sit-down dining experience, Gwen is also your Sunset boulevard butcher shop.
In anticipation for Gwen’s dinner service commencing in August I would like to reflect back on my April meal at Maude…because before Gwen it was all about Maude.
The 9-course menu at Maude is centered on a single ingredient for a month and for my April visit that ingredient was radish. Now I am not particularly a radish fanatic (honesty who is) but it was my birthday celebration so I mustered up all the love I could for the root.
I now believe the mark of a great restaurant should be using one ingredient no one is excited about and making it truly delicious.
Amuse Bouche: Oyster Cocktail: Chili Avocado
Rhubarb with Peas & Whey
Probably my least favorite, because it reminded me of a fancier version of the healthy treats I feed my 11 month old 🙂
Bouillon with Shiitake & Ponzu
Spot Prawn with Herbs & Lime
This is where the meal really started to get going. These single herbs pressed between two thinly sliced radishes created especially to complement each prawn bite was almost too beautiful and delicate to eat.
Tete de Cochon with Fennel & Violet Mustard
Octopus with Walnuts & Sweet & Sour
Orecchiette with Fava Beans & Morels
“Bulgogi” with Cucumber & Kimchi
Winnimire with Black Pepper Sable
Winnimire is a type of cheese for those of you (myself included) who weren’t quite sure 🙂
White Chocolate with Raspberries & Beets
Bonus Dessert: Chocolate Ganache Cake with Wasabi
To celebrate my many years on earth.
Even more bonus desserts
As if two full desserts following 9 savory dishes weren’t enough!
A signed menu to commemorate the evening
A dinner at Maude is about $135 a person excluding tip and tax depending on the month you choose, and the wine list has bottles starting at $55. While the restaurant focuses on wine pairings ($100-$135 pp), you can save a little money by bringing your own for the $50 corkage fee (especially if you’ve been hoarding a bottle of Dom Pérignon).