Photos by Elizabeth Daniels
The small jar of Vegemite perched on a glass shelf in chef Curtis Stone's open kitchen sticks out like a sore thumb among what looks like your grandmother's best china. Easy access teapots, plates, a bowl, a wine bucket, and the little yellow jar, which might be the only indication you are in the home of an Australian. And Maude, the shoebox-sized 25-seater, once dedicated to Pici Enoteca on S. Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, feels as intimate as it gets for a restaurant, with four primetime bar spots and a mix of banquette seats and fourtops. Hats off to Studio MAI for designing a beautiful restaurant that feels equal parts rustic country and tasteful contemporary with just one coat of gloss.
For someone with as much television exposure as Stone, it's a surprise that the chef has never before opened a restaurant. Maude, named after his grandmother and the woman who inspired his love for food, is an homage to everything culinary Stone has learned since age four and marks a return to his roots.
Some may have heard musings already (or read early five star Yelpage) about Stone's $75 nine course prix fixe, the only menu on offer, which is rooted in seasonal cooking, focusing on one ingredient each month. For the last couple of weeks Stone has been cooking preview dinners (Ruth Reichl is an early fan) based on citrus for friends and family, but as of tomorrow he opens up to the public.
This might be the time to opt for a wine pairing, priced at $55, although craft beer and thoughtfully selected wines are also available by glass or bottle. Hours of operation run Tuesday to Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. (last seating of the night).
· All Maude Coverage [~ELA~]