Last week I told you about my birthday wish, to dine at celebrity chef Curtis Stone‘s restaurant Maude, and that came true on April 28th. If you didn’t read part one of my post (http://www.newsforchews.com/2015/05/chef-curtis-stone-and-maude-part-1/), I’ll give you a brief summary. The restaurant is a small 25-seat place that takes reservations the first Tuesday of the month for the next month for a menu that highlights one main ingredient per month. I went in April, and my ingredient was asparagus! (May is almonds). But, don’t think you are getting just chunks of asparagus. It is incorporated into the courses in every way possible: salts, foams, tempura, sorbet, custard, and many other techniques.
I think my mom and I had the perfect table. It was at the end of the open kitchen and a few of the prep stations were right in front of us. We could watch a professional kitchen work and had interaction with the people preparing our food! If you have the chance to dine at Maude, I would see if you could sit at here (there are only 4 seats at the “bar”), and it is a great experience.
For a 25-seat restaurant, I couldn’t believe how much staff there was! There was the General Manager and Wine Director, Ben Aviram (read more about him and his thoughts on Maude: http://la.eater.com/2014/6/3/6214009/ben-aviram-on-landing-a-tough-table-at-maude), another wine sommelier, a front of house staff member, a dishwasher, a few other back of house people, 3-4 servers, and I think around 6-8 food prep and line cooks! I counted almost as many staff as diners.
Jenna, one of the staff members at the station in front of me, said the restaurant does 12-16 hours of preparing before the diners even arrive! (she did not go to culinary school and worked at Melisse, a two-Michelin star French restaurant in Santa Monica!). As my mom and I watched them work, you could see why this prep was important. Someone would call, “two soups”, the next person would say “oui” and before I knew the soups were ready to go!
You don’t sit down and order off a menu, you get what they bring you. And sometimes after a course was explained to us, my mom and I looked at each other and said, “what?” It was definitely a different way than I was used to eating, but I loved each and every one of my courses! The plating and experience is like none other. The china and silver feel like you are at your grandparents’ house! (Maude is named after Curtis’ grandmother).
Below are a few amuse-bouches (bite sized appetizers) and half of the main courses. I tried my best to remember what we were giving so I could explain to you. We did receive a menu at the end, but it only had a few words to describe the dish. Even if the descriptions do not mention it, don’t forget there is asparagus is every course!
Green Strawberry: Strawberries picked before they have a chance to turn red and ripen
Pee Wee Potato: Dutch Yellow Potatoes
Geoduck: Large, edible saltwater clam
Yuba: Tofu Skin
And, guess what?! This isn’t it! I split this experience up in 3 parts because I didn’t want to overwhelm you and I wanted to relive the experience. Come back next week when I give you the final courses (and where you will find my favorite courses) at Maude.
Curtis Stone facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChefCurtisStone
Curtis Stone twitter: https://twitter.com/curtis_stone
Curtis Stone instagram: https://instagram.com/curtisstone/
Maude facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mauderestaurant
Maude twitter: https://twitter.com/mauderestaurant
Maude instagram: https://instagram.com/mauderestaurant/
Come back tomorrow when I give you a last minute brunch menu perfect for your Mother’s Day!