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Week in Review: Leatherby's in O.C., Feeding CAA at La Cachette, L'Artisan du Chocolat, More!!

The LA Times posted Wednesday's food section tres early on the website--it's usually online after 6pm on Tuesdays--so that gives us a jump on what Miss S. Irene Virbila has to say about the Patina Group's Leatherby's Cafe Rouge in the massively expensive Segerstrom Concert Hall in Orange County. Most people think the Patina-owned restaurants have passed their prime, especially as kingpin Joachim Splichal continues to add on, cater more, build bigger, everywhere. Apparently Miss Irene is still a fan, and honored Rouge three stars. (Mozza got the trifecta last week; these two are comparable?) She gives all the credit to chef Mark Gold, and is so enamored with his food, she even lets a few server upsells pass by with barely a shrug:

Who knew he could cook like this? The California-French fare he produced at Cafe Pinot was fine for that downtown spot, but what he's doing at Leatherby's Cafe Rouge (hereafter referred to as Cafe Rouge) is stronger and more original. Given the opportunity, the 42-year-old chef, a graduate of the the New England Culinary Institute, has turned up the heat from a slow simmer to a rolling boil.

...I knew adding toro would mean a higher tariff, but I still think someone should have clarified the price beforehand. Nor did anyone mention that the glass of marvelous sake suggested is $30. It's a minor quibble.

That "minor quibble" would've brought any other restaurant down to two or one-and-a-half-stars--or even worse, a half star. Maybe the highway fumes got to her on the way down to Costa Mesa, so this week, the "S." stands for "stoned," as in 'she must be.'

ELSEWHERE: The Times goes on the road to San Francisco and Vegas, and to Korea by way of L.A. Omogari; The Knife approves La Cachette for CAA; downtown's L'Artisan du Chocolat is paid a visit, as is Caffe Luxxe on Montana, Scoops, Celadon, and a truck worth stopping for, Tacos Carillo.

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