Dining details: Lucques


Rating: ***

Location: 8474 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 655-6277; www.lucques.com.

Ambience: Smart, contemporary California Mediterranean restaurant with a small bar, seats in front of a fireplace and an elegant walled patio. Sophisticated and grown-up, with very personal cooking and a savvy urban vibe. Perfect for entertaining.

Service: Polished, intelligent.

Price: Dinner appetizers, $12 to $19; main courses, $27 to $48; dessert, $5 to $10. Lunch appetizers, $10 to $14; main courses, $16 to 19; desserts, $8 to $9. Sunday supper, $40.

Best dishes: Roasted beets and young carrots with feta, sautéed veal sweetbreads with dates, Taylor Bay scallops with green curry, braised veal cheeks with farro and chestnuts, braised beef short ribs with horseradish cream, chocolate doughnuts, vanilla crepes with persimmons.

Wine list: Interesting and eclectic. Corkage fee, $16.

Best table: The corner booth in the front window.

Details: Dinner 6 to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, until 11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; lunch noon to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday supper (set menu) 5 to 10 p.m. Bar menu served 9:30 to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, until 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Full bar. Valet parking, $5.50.

Rating is based on food, service and ambience; price taken into account in relation to quality. ****: Outstanding on every level. ***: Excellent. **: Very good. *: Good. No star: Poor to satisfactory.

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