As the first in our series exploring the LAPL's menu collection, we're looking at a very early Spago menu. The Beverly Hills restaurant reopens this week after a renovation and reinvention that has taken a little less than three months.
The library dates the menu “early 80's” but gives no exact date. On the front of the menu, the colorful drawing is signed “Wolfgang Puck 1981.” Spago didn't open until 1982, so we can assume that this menu would have been among one of the first.
So, what was Spago serving in those early days? Fairly straightforward appetizers, pastas, pizzas and entrees. The famous smoked salmon pizza isn't on this menu — instead, smoked salmon shows up as an appetizer served with “golden caviar cream and a small baked potato.” The duck sausage pizza, another of Puck's signature dishes, is on this menu.
There are some things on this menu that wouldn't be out of place in 2012: squab on peaches with honey and ginger, for instance. And there's plenty here to show how much influence Puck has had on new American food we're still eating today. Just look at all that goat cheese.
How much did it cost to dine at Spago in its early days? Appetizers were around $9 and entrees between $11 and $15. It's also worth taking a look at the wine list, where most wines are between $15 and $30, and you could get a bottle of Dom Perignon 1975 for $110.
Next week, we'll go back in history 100 years for a look at a long-gone Santa Monica restaurant.
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