I just had a wonderful dining experience at Maude last night. The food by far was the most outstanding part of the evening, which is sometimes difficult to say in Los Angeles. Curtis Stone, chef and T.V. personality is the executive chef/owner of Maude and I was just as curious as many others to see if he could really cook. The 25-seat Beverly Drive location is both quaint and inspiring. The nine-course featured ingredient menu is presented on Grandmom Curtis’ (Maude) antique plates.
The ingredient for March is artichokes, which tend to have a bitter bite if not cooked properly and can be difficult to pair with wine. Maude seems to overcome this obstacle with ease and the artichokes tend to be a mild component of each dish.
The meal starts with a Consomme’ of Roasted Artichokes with a few micro balls of root vegetables. This classic broth was simple, clean and elegant and the flavor mostly tasted of roasted root vegetables.
Next, came a series of small bites to start off the night. Fresh Crab and Artichoke with sliced Radish on a thin wafer reminded me of dining on a veranda in the South.
The Blini with fresh Sea Urchin and Pickled Artichoke was creamy and sweet and paired nicely with the glass of Portuguese white wine.
The last small bite was a Croquette filled with Artichoke Cream and Salmon Roe on top. The artichoke center was a nice surprise.
A Salad of Roasted Crosnes (Chinese Artichoke), Pomegranate and Black Radish with an Ocean Mist Artichoke Barigoule was mild and a good palate cleanser for what was to come. Barigoule is a puree made from roasted artichokes, onions, carrots and mushrooms.
Scallop Crudo with Osetra Caviar, Fennel and Nasturtium Flowers with a dollop of Tahini Foam was both fresh and sweet in nature.
Seared Pork Rillettes with Pickled Beets, Mustard Greens, Shaved Artichokes and Herb Pistou was creatively done with a nice contrast of warm pork and chilled salad.
Duck Egg Raviolo with Artichoke Ricotta, Bacon Lardons and Crumbs was one of the best I have tasted. When cut, the egg and ricotta melded together for a nice creamy mouthfeel and who doesn’t love bacon!
Seared Skate Wing with Pommes Anna and Savoy Cabbage Slaw reminded me of the best upscale fish and chips you could eat. I didn’t taste much artichoke, but the dish was great.
The cheese course of Normandy Camembert served with a Smoked Artichoke Focaccia was outstanding. The bread was grilled slightly and the smokiness really came through. I loved it.
Next, the desserts — Waffle Wafers with Butterscotch Cream were divine little bites.
The Chocolate Semifreddo with Artichoke Ice Cream and Blood Orange was smooth and paired nicely together. Who would of thought milk chocolate and artichokes go together….hmmm.
The final taste of the evening was a petit fours plate of Pistachio Macarons filled with Kumquat Jam, Strawberry Jellies and Chocolate Truffles. The little sweets were perfectly presented and the flavors delightful.
Maude is creating some wonderful cuisine in Beverly Hills. It can be challenging to get a reservation, so I suggest you start calling now. The $75 – 9 courses menu is going to be hard to come by. Wine pairings start at $50 and corkage is $30. One last note — they give you Lavendar Shortbread Cookies with a jar of Lemon Creme as a parting gift.