Well-crafted stories and expert culinary insights

May 2010

A First Taste of Luc

I’m (kind of) sorry to say that I don’t have any photos of the food to show you from dinner at Luc on Sunday night. Only kind of sorry, because I was having such a great times with friends, enjoying the food and the conversation and getting into the groove of a brand new restaurant…I just got totally distracted anyway. I couldn’t wait to get in there and see what my old pal Thierry Rautureau had cooked up for Luc, his new more casual restaurant just a few paces from celebrated Rover’s restaurant.

What I do have to show for the evening is a copy of the menu complete with a smudge of brown in the top right corner. And I think that tells the story about as well as any photo could. Evidence of the chicken liver mousse with rhubarb gelee that we’d sampled in the first round of the night’s orders. Sorry to have wasted even that tiny smidgen of it on the menu.

Some of us started the evening toasting with one of Luc’s signature cocktails, the Mad Hat’n (think “Mad Hatter takes on Manhattan”), a touch of pear cognac the distinctly soignée twist on the classic. Delightful. From then on it was rosé all the way, an ideal night for it. A lazy, late Sunday supper. A few scatterings of Mother’s Day flowers at a couple tables around the room. Festive and warm and still lingering sun in the sky.

I was prepared to be proud of how well we did sampling our way through the menu. With six good eaters, we had opportunity to try a number of things. Grilled beef skewers with deviled egg topping. Old-school (and wonderful) boeuf bourguignon. Homemade grilled lamb sausages with braised cabbage. Fries with Luc’s aïoli (a dash of harissa added). Sautéed spinach. White bean stew with bacon and arugula. Pork should roast (the daily special for Sundays, served family-style), cheeses, butterscotch crème brûlée. And the chef sent out a grilled whole dorade, simple and delicious, the cavity stuffed with herbs. Oooh, que c’était bon!

Pretty good, huh?

But that’s just a fraction, maybe 1/4, of the menu. Lots of things to look forward to for our next trip. Like grilled asparagus with Champagne mousseline and a grilled beef burger. Saffron couscous with fennel confit and pickled mackerel with potato-onion salad. Whole trout almandine and potato gratin with comté cheese. With an obligatory stop on each evening of the week to try the different daily specials, such as pot-au-feu on Thursdays and leg of lamb on Fridays.

Bravo, chef!! What a great corner of convivial deliciousness you’ve added to the lucky Madison Valley neighborhood, with your jaunty hat gracing that cool retro sign hanging outside the door. What a wonderful tribute to your dad, the original Luc. A tribute that we can all enjoy.

Luc on Urbanspoon