Chef Suzanne Goin gets personal thank you from First Lady
*Updates at bottom of post*
After a long visit to Camp Pendleton in San Diego on Sunday, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Los Angeles for dinner. Accompanied by daughters Malia and Sasha, and four other adults, Mrs. Obama dined at Lucques, a restaurant that's beloved in town not only for its excellent, ever-changing menu, but also for its commitment to sustainable sourcing. An employee who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the visit.
"They seemed to be delighted with everything and she was very gracious," the "Secret Ops" source said about the First Lady, and noted that the party stayed for quite a while.
James Beard Award winner Suzanne Goin is both chef and owner, and she was in the kitchen last night, cooking (Goin won for Best California chef in 2006).
"We have Sunday Suppers every Sunday, so the menu is limited and fixed price," Secret Ops explained, but added that he wasn't sure what, exactly, Mrs. Obama herself ordered.
Last night's dinner was $45 per person, and the menu included an appetizer of apricots and prosciutto with burrata, roasted dates, cardamom and marcona almonds; a choice of either market fish with sweet corn and fresh garbanzos, with lamb's quarters and chili-cumin butter or slow-roasted Colorado lamb over fava tartine with preserved lemon, black olives and purslane salad. Dessert sounds delicious: Bing cherry clafoutis with crème fraîche and hazelnut praline ice cream.
There were no leftovers, however, according to Secret Ops, who added that "everyone seemed very happy."
After dinner, Chef Goin also got a special hello and thank you from Mrs. Obama.
"She stopped by the kitchen on her way out to say thank you and speak with the chef," Secret Ops noted of the First Lady. "The whole party was very gracious, just very, very gracious."
Malia and Sasha were the only people he could recognize other than Mrs. Obama, he added.
Lucques is on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, on a chic stretch of the street that is home to pricey boutiques. Its interior combines rustic and modern elements, with brick walls and exposed timber ceiling panels. The main dining room is divided by a huge stone fireplace. A large covered patio, with greens growing along the interior stone walls, takes up the back part of the restaurant. Last night, West Hollywood was on the final day of its three-day LA Pride 2010 festivities, and ground zero for the parties was Santa Monica Boulevard, just three blocks from where the Obama party dined. (Above: The interior of Lucques)
Your blogger has dined at Lucques numerous times, and can verify that it is a stunner. It's located at 8474 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90069-5313, (323) 655-6277. Goin is also the mastermind behind other notable Los Angeles restaurants, including The Hungry Cat, AOC Wine Bar, and Tavern.
Update #1: After your intrepid blogger broke the news of Mrs. Obama's visit to So Cal, the management at Lucques wnet on the record with mainstream media. Mrs. Obama had a Stoli Martini straight up, and Chef Goin sent the market fish of the day, Alaskan Halibut to the Obama party, as well as the lamb entree.
Read about a dinner-time invite to American Idol for the First Family from host Ryan Seacrest when the Obama party visited Osteria Mozza while in Los Angeles. Gloria Pink, co-owner of Pink's Hotdog Stand, dishes all the details on the Obama party's lunch-time visit during the Los Angeles trip.
*Photos of Lucques by Aaron Cook; Mrs. Obama by Obama Foodorama