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Suzanne Goin celebrates Lucques' 20-year anniversary with stellar guest chefs

Suzanne Goin celebrates Lucques' 20-year anniversary with stellar guest chefs
Suzanne Goin is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of Lucques, the Melrose Avenue restaurant she opened with partner Caroline Styne. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

From the celebration of a Los Angeles institution to more hot chicken, here’s what’s happening in our food and drink world:

It’s a party

Simply to open a restaurant in Los Angeles is a feat. To be around — and thriving — for two decades? It’s an accomplishment worthy of a grand celebration. Later this year, chef Suzanne Goin and partner Caroline Styne of the Lucques restaurant group will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their restaurant, Lucques. Over those two decades, the two have expanded their growing restaurant empire to include A.O.C., Tavern and multiple locations of the Larder, as well as menus at the Hollywood Bowl. Styne also was the recent recipient of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurateur.

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“We thought about taking an emotional road trip of highlighting moments in our history that have meant a lot to us or brought us into friendships that have been super meaningful,” Goin recently told The Times. “Every time I look around, I can’t believe it’s been that long,” Styne added. “People come in and tell us how many times the restaurant has been involved in important moments in their lives.”

To celebrate, Goin and Styne put together five dinners with an impressive lineup of guest chefs. On July 1, Former Food and Wine restaurant editor Kate Krader will join Goin and chefs Marc Vetri (Vetri Cucina) and Paul Kahan (the Publican), who were named Food and Wine Best New Chefs along with Goin in 1999, for a four-course dinner for $150 per person.

On July 22, Goin is paying tribute to what she calls her OG Lucques crew, with a four-course dinner ($95) cooked by former and current Lucques kitchen staff Julie Robles, Brian Edwards, Corina Weibel, Laura Schweers and Breanne Varela. On July 30, Goin remembers a culinary trip to Spain she took with Gabrielle Hamilton (Prune), Michael Schlow (Tico), Kahan, Wylie Dufresne (formerly of wd~50) and Paula Disbrowe (cookbook author and recipe developer). All of the chefs will contribute to a six-course dinner for $215 per person.

On Aug. 12, Russell Moore (Camino) and Chris Bianco (Pizzeria Bianco) will join Goin for what she’s calling a Wood-Fired Heroes four-course dinner for $150 per person.

And lastly, on Sept. 24, there will be a five-course dinner with Goin and Styne’s favorite dishes ($195). To pay tribute to Goin’s time cooking at Chez Panisse, the Berkeley restaurant credited with establishing California cuisine, the chef invited Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters as well as David Tanis and Gilbert Pilgrim (both former chefs at the restaurant) to cook with her at Lucques on June 3. The four-course dinner is already sold out.

For reservations and more info, visit www.lucques.com. 8474 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (323) 655-6277.

Filipino flavors

The lumpia from Charles Olalia's new Ma'am Sir are topped with uni.
The lumpia from Charles Olalia's new Ma'am Sir are topped with uni. (Ma'am Sir)

Charles Olalia, the chef behind Rice Bar, the excellent, tiny Filipino rice bowl shop on 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles, will open Ma’am Sir, a Filipino restaurant in Silver Lake on June 13. The name is a spin on “Hello, ma’am, sir,” the greeting often heard at businesses in the Philippines. The restaurant is in the former Bar Angeles space on Sunset Boulevard.

As with Rice Bar, Olalia is attempting to give Angelenos his interpretation of family-style Filipino food. The menu was inspired by dishes he grew up eating in and around Manila, including items from Pampanga, north of the capital city. Examples include lumpia made with shrimp and pork and topped with sea urchin; a half lobster with taro leaf curry and galangal butter; and chicken wings with adobo and calamansi schmaltz. Olalia partnered with Wade McElroy and Russel Malixi (owners of Cafe Birdie, Good Housekeeping and Horse Thief BBQ) for the restaurant, and Rafa DaCosta (previously of Aatxe by the Bon Vivants in San Francisco) is working on cocktails. 4330 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, www.maamsirla.com.

Spanish plates

Chef Teresa Montaño, formerly of Ración in Pasadena, will open Otoño, a Spanish restaurant in Highland Park inspired by her recent travels to Barcelona, Valencia and Copenhagen. The restaurant is in the former Frank’s Camera space on North Figueroa Street, just down the street from Highland Bowl and Good Girl Dinette. It is scheduled to open in mid-June. Details on the menu are still slim, but you can expect seafood paella made with sustainable seafood, tapas and crema catalana (Spanish crème brûlée). Spanish beers and vermouth will be available on tap, and the wine list will focus on Spanish varietals. 5715 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, www.otonorestaurant.com.

The new dining room at CHAYA Modern Izakaya.
The new dining room at CHAYA Modern Izakaya. (Alen Lin Photography)

Restaurant reboot

On May 23, Chaya Venice reopened as CHAYA Modern Izakaya. The 28-year-old restaurant, known primarily for its sushi, is now a Japanese izakaya with a focus on drinking food meant to be shared. The new menu, which also features a daily omakase menu, includes a chrysanthemum salad; grilled octopus with papaya; grilled Jidori chicken; wagyu chazuke (rice with dashi tea); rolls and hand rolls.

Cocktail consultant Feisser Stone, who has worked with Hinoki and the Bird, Scopa Italian Roots and Felix Trattoria, has put together a new cocktail menu that highlights Japanese whiskey. The restaurant began renovations 18 months ago and now features a cedarwood plank façade and a dining room outfitted with black powder-coated metal, walnut, brass and leather. 110 Navy St., Venice, (310) 396-1179, www.TheCHAYA.com.

Hot chicken

If you like your chicken hot, you may have heard of the Nashville-based Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish. The restaurant is known for its spicy fried chicken, and it’s coming to Los Angeles for the first time on June 10. Bolton’s will be at the LAeats Pop Up Food Hall event at the Water Garden Campus in Santa Monica. In addition to Bolton’s, the event will feature food from chef Eric Greenspan (Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese), who will be making brisket sandwiches using meat smoked by Burt Bakman of Trudy’s Underground Barbecue. New York City-based Urbani Truffles will be making truffle fries, and there will be iced coffee and nitro-cold brew from Califia Farms. More information and tickets are available at www.popupfoodhall.com. 1620 26th St., Santa Monica.

10:20 a.m.: This article was updated with new pricing for the Lucques dinners and additional info on Ma’am Sir.

This article was originally published at 9:20 a.m.

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