This week LA Times critic Jonathan Gold reviews Maude, Curtis Stone's ingredient-focused tasting menu restaurant in Beverly Hills. The highly acclaimed spot (which earned Best Restaurant for last year's Eater Awards), in addition to a top ranking on Besha Rodell's Top 20 LA Restaurants (which came out today), gets a rather mixed review from the Goldster. Jonathan Gold was spotted at Maude as recently as last Tuesday, which meant that Stone's apple menu was fresh on his mind.
The hunky Australian celebrity chef, who wasn't in his restaurant on Tuesday because he was out of town, certainly gets praise from the Pulitzer-prize winning critic. But Gold doesn't lay on the praise quite as much as the likes of Besha Rodell or even Patric Kuh (who gave it a 10 Best New Restaurant nod, plus the #19 spot on his Top 75 list). Here's Gold on Maude:
On the surface it might seem as if this approach has a touch of obsessive-compulsive disorder about it, and when you have hit the wrong month, you might agree. Avocados are wonderful, but by the time you got through the June dinner, you may have discovered less about the multitude of local varieties than about your own innate loathing for the queso fresco bounciness of cooked avocados, the hard-rubber bite of intentionally underripe avocados or the weird airiness of avocados served as a fluffy purée instead of as a rough, luscious mash...
If you had attended last year's winter squash dinner, you would have learned what all vegetarians already know: You can hide squash in just about anything...
The Goldster spends multiple paragraphs discussing the drawbacks of Stone's single ingredient tasting menu format, which leaves people didn't make those dinners feeling like they missed out. Also, the limitations of trying to incorporate a potentially less versatile thing like avocado across nine (plus a few extra) courses. Gold does enjoy the recent apple menu, however:
I quite liked a deconstructed Reuben, a geometric composition of corned Wagyu beef cooked sous-vide, a dab of caraway mustard and a slice of apple fermented like sauerkraut — it looked like a Kazimir Malevich painting, but it tasted like a deli sandwich. An oozing puddle of Vermont cow cheese was served with a crunchy biscuit and a dab of apple butter. Well done. [LAT]
Will Maude land on Jonathan Gold's impending 101 Best Restaurant list? With this review, it's hard to tell if it'll land near the top (as it did with B-Rod's), or on it at all.