In March, we had the distinct treat of dining at Lucques Restaurant in West Hollywood, an award-winning establishment. It’s award-winning because of super-chef, Suzanne Goin, recipient of the 2016 James Beard Outstanding Chef of the Year, along with numerous other accolades.
Chef Goin owns several restaurants in addition to Lucques, including The Hungry Cat (three locations – Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Santa Barbara), Tavern, The Larder (two locations – Burton Way and Maple Drive), and a.o.c.
These are all (except for the Santa Barbara location) within about a ten-mile radius of each other. So, Suzanne, you’ve saturated the Westside, how about coming out to the SCV?
FeedFeed, an online community of home and professional chefs and folks just interested in food, hosted the event.
We started with Leeks Vinaigrette, composed of prosciutto, dandelion, mustard breadcrumbs and soft-cooked egg. While I liked the prosciutto, the greens were limp without much going on. Served with this was the 2015 Austerity Chardonnay. Austerity, the co-host of the evening, is the brainchild of O’Neill Vintners and Distillers. O’Neill controls over 15,000 acres of California vineyards, making both bulk wine as well as some private labels, one of them being Austerity. Terry really liked the Chard, enjoying the citrusy aroma and grassy tastes, deciding that it paired well with the leeks. Frankly, I didn’t care for it.
We then had the hit of the evening, Goin’s Braised Beef Short Ribs. Incredibly delicious, the meat fell off the bone. Then, showing her genius, she added sautéed greens, cipollini onions and horseradish cream to the dish. Everything blended magnificently together. The ribs would bring me back to Lucques. A hearty, meaty generous serving of the fork-tender ribs (see accompanying photo). Accompanying the ribs was the 2015 Austerity Pinot Noir, my favorite of the three Austerity wines. With notes of cherries, it was fine on its own but I probably would have paired it with the dessert and the Cabernet with the ribs.
Finishing the evening was the Chocolate Cremuex Tart, extremely rich. We each got a serving – splitting it between three or four people would be advisable. Accompanying the Tart was the 2014 Austerity Cabernet Sauvignon. All of the Austerity wines retail for about $17. About 5,000 cases of each are produced every year. Featuring an enticing bouquet, the Cab needs some time, as its tannins are quite pronounced. Also, it might have married better with the Short Ribs.
Steven DeCosta, O’Neill’s winemaker, has quite the pedigree, having made wine at the prestigious Paul Hobbs Winery. He provided insights into the wine and its production.