Brad A. Johnson Busts Bouchon's No-Show Chef, Thomas Keller

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Stop playing around and get thee to Bouchon Photo: Hadley Tomicki

Brad A. Johnson is "repeatedly impressed by the service" at Bouchon, but wonders if never glimpsing Thomas Keller "explains why I’ve never experienced a single truly great meal here." More likely it's Keller's favorite ingredient as Johnson wonders "how much salt they’ve dumped into a dish." [Angeleno]

"It's impossible to grow up in Piedmont without knowing good fresh pasta. And that has always been one of Lazzarino's strengths," raves S. Irene Virbila on Alberto Lazzarino's union with Osteria La Buca, again pleased with his cooking and not confusing him with Antonio Mure this time. [L.A. Times]

Need something special on a late Sunday night? After predictably asking "doesn't every evening end up at Mozza?" Jonathan Gold points us to Nancy Silverton-ex Mark Peel's new Tar Pit. [L.A. Weekly]

At Gonpachi Torrance, "the food is fit for a shogun," offers Merrill Shindler. [Daily Breeze]

Bruce Marder's new House Cafe feels like a tribute to his Cora's, writes Jonathan Gold, but splits the difference between that casual afternoon classic and the wallet-intimidating Capo. Are the dishes as good when not being whipped by Pacific winds? "Not quite." [L.A. Weekly]

"Ray Garcia’s menu is kind of brilliant...satisfying to both the transgressive big-meat guys and the Gaia-conscious vegans," Mr. Gold thinks, although the bacon-wrapped bacon and beef heart with spinach could be signs that Fig's dishes are prepared with "more than a bit of aggression." [L.A. Weekly]

Though "curiosity can get the better of Quenioux," Patric Kuh is impressed by Bistro LQ, feeling that "the closer Quenioux hews to France, the more successful the dish." [Los Angeles]