Restaurant: Maude [1, 2, 3, 4]
Location: 212 South Beverly Drive. Beverly Hills, CA. (310) 859-3418
Date: October 6, 2022
Cuisine: French Californian
Rating: Great Theme
When it opened several years ago, Maude was a big deal on the LA restaurant scene. For quite some time they had a unique “one ingredient, one month” theme. I had gone in late 2014. But that was back several chefs ago, and then they moved to a “season” (of 3 months I think) with a wine theme and food to match. After the pandemic they pivoted yet again to a different chef and a different thematic style.
With its small indoor dining room, Curtis Stone was forced to pivot the space to Pie Room by Gwen during the bulk of the pandemic, focusing on savory and sweet pies plus a slew of other well-done baked goods. Now, he’s shifted back to the Beverly Hills space’s original purpose, marking yet another restaurant of note in busy Beverly Hills.
Stone has brought on fine dining veteran Osiel Gastelum, who trained at Dominique Crenn and was the chef de cuisine at Somni before coming to Maude, to take on the same title overseeing Maude. Gastelum will be infusing the tasting menu with ingredients like nopales and masa, reflecting his upbringing in Sinaloa and Southern California.
Testing the camera on the napkin.
2008 Veuve Clicquot Champagne Brut La Grande Dame. CW 90-92.
Welcome Cocktail (in jelly form). Delicious.
Potato Requeson Caviar. Mild but yummy.
Infladita. A powerful whallop of herring!
Mushroom Sfogliatella. The laminated mushroom pastry puff is dipped in the white puff of whipped cheese. Hard to manage, but tasty.
2001 Pierre Morey Bâtard-Montrachet.
Nopales, Jicama, Avocado. Lily’s Eggs, Farm Nopales, Jalapeno Cucumber Aguachile. This had a very lovely fresh “crisp” taste and that gloppy egg white texture from the cactus. The plating was so elaborate with the little cut bits and tweezered elements that they had to do part of it in advance of service.
Crisps to settle the tastebuds after the zing.
Corn Caviar and Corn Truffles. McGrath Farm Young Corn, Smoked Creme Faiche, Tamal, Egg Yolk Jam. The left hand thing with the caviar had a sort of tartar sauce texture but tasted of corn and caviar. The pretty thing on the right was a sweet corn custard with a smoky flavor and absolutely delicious.
Pescado Zarandeado. Tomato, Green Olives, Escabeche. More elaborate plating! The flish was very tender and lovely while the tomato thing with the carrots on top had the majority of the flavor.
Tomatoes & Oyster. Valdivia Farm Tomatoes, Morro Bay Golden Reserve Oyster. The center tasted like… oyster. There was a lovely tomato jelly underneath and very sweet little tomatoes around.
From my cellar: 2001 Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux. JG 90. I quite like Mongeard’s 2001 Echézeaux, which offers up lovely nascent complexity and fine balance in a medium-full format that simply needs a few more years to fully blossom. I most often cross paths with the Vieilles Vignes bottling of Echézeaux from this domaine, but the younger vine version is no slouch. The nose on the 2001 is a blend of cherries, red currants, raspberries, venison, herb tones, a bit of vinesmoke, a fine base of earth and a topnote of cedar. On the palate the wine is fullish, complex and tangy, and while rather closed on the attack, offers lovely length and grip on the bouncy, moderately tannic and complex finish. There is just a touch of wood tannin currently uncovered on the backend of this wine, but there is clearly sufficient stuffing here to absorb it with a few more years bottle age. Good juice. (Drink between 2011-2030)
House Made Bread and Butter. The butter was house made from Straus cream and very “cultured.” Tasted almost like Vacheron or some other mild cheese. Awesome actually. The bread was very chewy and lovely too.
Abalone. Suncoast Farm Beans, Clams, Ham Hock. One of the most tender abalones I’ve ever had had. Nice bit of bite. Pretty awesome dish actually.
1993 Domaine Joseph Roty Charmes-Chambertin Très Vieilles Vignes. BH 95. Incredible spice, earth and game aromas are framed by still noticeable (but not dominant) oak notes that lead to powerful, wonderfully textured and precise flavors that offer incredible depth and simply superb extract plus length to burn. While the wood is somewhat stronger than I personally prefer, this has so much style and sheer breadth that it is virtually impossible not to be wowed by it. The wine also possesses near perfect balance, which should enable it to age for years, perhaps decades as this is one stunner of a wine. Multiple, and consistent, notes.
Duck. Figs, Mole, Hitlacoche. Duck was a bit undewelming. Duck might have been a bit overcooked. The mole was good but overwelms the meat.
Cheese. Brillat-Savarin, Pepitas, Ritzy Cracker. Sort of cheese and caramel? Interesting.
Down the Rabbit Hole. Wheat, Spiced Yogurt, Fair Hill Farm Plums, Praline.
Memories of Summer in LA. Champagne Mango, Jasmine, Coconut Tapioca, Herbs. Super creamy and quite lovely, although I would have liked a bit more punch to the flavors.
Peaches and Cream. Cajeta Mousse, Peaches, Sage Butterscotch. Textures were a bit disjointed as it fell apart when trying to eat it.
Mignardises. An incredible coffee truffle and a little s’more thing. Great.
The wine lineup.
I found this new format for Maude the best of the three. The food was good, the Mexican vibe was interesting. Some dishes were excellent, really good, and some just solid. The service was fabulous. Food still, for all its “fancy” is still slightly underwhelming. I mean it’s good, but things didn’t stand out in my memory — other than meeting James for the first time (in the pink between Erick and I). But it was certainly way better than some of the previous cerebral meals here. We don’t have that many high end tasting menu western style restaurants in LA, and it’s great to have Maude still going, but it’s never seemed up there with Melisse, Providence, or even some newcomers like Manzke.
Our wines were underwhelming as well. Not the restaurants fault in the slightly. We just didn’t have luck tonight with bottle variation.
I again loved the 2 locations thing and the loungey location upstairs. All in all a super fun evening!