Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pure Beauty is Rare: Grace

://7360 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036-2501
(323) 934-4400

Quickie: No quickie. A good lady you always wait for.

Full: If I left my heart in San Francisco at Gregoire, I found a new and better one in Los Angeles at Grace. I've been waiting to go to the restaurant since I officially declared my food addiction in October 2008 (Thanks Yelp) and last Sunday my dream was finally fulfilled (Thanks to the great deal at Bloomspot).

Not a single dream went unmatched. Grace felt like a symphony. And I was dancing. The orchestra was starting to tune its instruments, the flute plays a chord, the bass tunes the D string and the cymbals are starting to round out as the drummer takes his place. The conductor is still missing from the stage coated in black velvet dresses and satin black cummerbunds. The conductor (Neal Fraiser) arrives and there's silence...

The show lights come on, the stage is set, and the audience is waiting with bated breath. The violin starts up the first course with crab meat and snow peas, the percussion hit in with spinach & arugula salad, but the true star was the cello with her lobster thai soup, rich warm flavors that floated over your entire body. The piece is finished and the last note rings in the air. You can't believe you are here.

Only shortly after you are hit with the warm up piece comes the real master. Your heart is racing as the conductors arms start to sway, softly ringing in the winds, then the strings, then BANG. The gong goes off. Enter in Sautéed Wild Alaskan Salmon, Wild Boar, and the Grace Burger with truffle cheese. It's your lucky day since the Grace burger is only available on Sundays, the dry aged meat medium rare as the best way so the juice melts into the cheese and fleur de sel bun. You'll think the orchestra is only playing for you.

And when all the plates are empty and your heart is near tears, the room gets silent and cold. The conductor leaves the stage. How could it all be possibly over? How can you return to your drab life when you know this beauty exists and in such limited form?

But the orchestra hasn't left. And you can feel something in the pit of your stomach building. Hope. Your hands grip the cold metal railing and you wait. Something is coming. Your eyes open wide to the swift black coattails moving back across the stage. Alas, a new conductor (Mariah Swan) has arrived! And with the wave of her arm she brings in a caramel tequila milkshake, sticky toffee cake, and the creme de la creme: the salted caramel donut with brown butter popcorn ice cream. The caramel milkshake hits you like a shot of patron -- without the painful sting down your throat. Your tongue warms as with the sticky toffee cake's brûléed bananas and the sweet swirl of hazelnut gelato and toffee sauce. But pure beauty can only have one name, and that name is the salted caramel donut. A taste so pure Fred the baker would wake up from his sleepy-eyed dream world.

Finally your eyes open again and the orchestra is leaving the stage. It wasn't a dream. This happened. And it all started with the wave of a baton...

Don't let the bill make you cry. You know it was worth it.

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