Hot New Restaurant -- Curtis Stone's Maude
The Quick Pitch: Curtis Stone, the Australian host of Top Chef Masters, proves real-deal cooking chops (he trained in London under the legendary Marco Pierre White) by heading back to the kitchen at this homey 25-seat restaurant named after his grandmother. At Maude -- staffed by young vets of Joel Robuchon, El Bulli, Alinea and The French Laundry -- each month Curtis and company conjure an entirely new, intricately crafted, complexly imagined nine-course tasting menu threaded by a single key ingredient: in February, citrus; in March, artichoke.
The Insider’s Dish: Before securing this ironically walk-in-friendly spot on pedestrian-heavy Beverly Dr. (you’ll most certainly need a reservation at Maude), Curtis long searched across L.A. for just the right locale -- nearly hanging his shingle at what later became the Trois Mec address where fellow food-TV macher Ludo Lefebvre of ABC's The Taste opened a similarly intimate, set-menu concept 10 months ago.
The Must-Have Item: On February’s menu, a carrot and orange soup with smoked parsnip, parsley puree and a Serrano ham chip.
The Industry Neighbors: WME, Gersh and Imagine Entertainment.
212 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-859-3418, mauderestaurant.com