3. Roasted Kabocha Squash at Lucques.
The fall salad is a fairly ubiquitous menu item, and one of those things that's a safe bet almost anywhere you go. There will be some squash and nut elements, perhaps some pomegranate, a cheese of some sort, and usually a flurry of greens that don't do much in the way of harm or excitement.
It's dishes like these, that are an easy sell and good enough, that often miss out on the chance to truly shine. But at Lucques, chef Suzanne Goin's lovely, grown-up yet laid back West Hollywood restaurant, the best dish during a recent meal was just that: a beautifully elevated fall salad.
Generous slabs of kabocha squash, roasted until soft and sweetly caramelized, nestled on a plate with a creamy slick of burrata, and lightly bitter Brussels sprouts. The whole, generous portion was coated with a pumpkin seed pesto, the oil of it imbuing everything with its musky, nutty aroma. There was no wasted ingredient here, no forgettable greens or unnecessary sweet element (the squash's mellow sweetness did that job quite nicely itself).
As with most everything at Lucques, the roasted squash is an example of how to take dishes and push them one step further in a specific direction: better.
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