Lucques was last restaurant at the intersection of La Cienega and Melrose that I had not yet tried. I can now say that I have eaten in every one with a smile:) Comme Ca, Taste, and Fig & Olive are all very good, with menus and atmospheres that range from casual (Taste) to hip (Fig & Olive) with a bit of flair thrown in (Comme Ca) for good measure. Ago is the only one I would avoid completely in this mecca for good food.
Lucques has been around since 1998, and the only reason I haven't been here is because Tavern (also created by Suzanne Goin with her business partner Carolyne Styne) is closer to home, and traffic dictates how far I am willing to travel in Los Angeles! Sometimes it is good to venture out a bit from my neighborhood, and since West Hollywood isn't that far away during midday traffic, I decided to brave the drive and I am very happy I did.
The space is welcoming both inside and out.
Since it was one of those beautiful 80 degree days we get in Southern California in November, I sat outside in the covered patio. The walls of climbing ivy made this space much more inviting than the indoor tables on a balmy afternoon.
The bread and this small plate of amuse bouche made me smile with delight. The small plate of kosher salt and butter harkens to the Tavern presentation, but the olives and almonds were a nice variation and I am glad I saved room for my meal because I could have easily made a meal of bread, olives and almonds.
My waiter came by to inform me that the market fish today was Salmon, and when he saw the disappointed look on my face, he quickly offered to see if he could substitute another fish for me. The substitute fish he offered was a Barramundi (one of my favorites), and it was served with farro, caramelized brussel sprouts, baby carrots and haricots verts so fresh they could have been green candy! A nice tapenade and sour cream accent made this Barramundi a perfect lunch for $25. They have a variety of wonderful wines by the glass from $8-$30, and I chose an Entre Deux Mers at $12 to compliment this tender white fish.
The plate was quite large, but I did manage to finish nearly every grain of farro. I wish I had saved some room for dessert because the woman at the next table loved her coupe so much she ordered TWO!
Oh well, that just means I will have to come back for another meal (or maybe just for two desserts:)