Saturday, June 12, 2010

10th Annual Lucques Rib Fest

Last Sunday Lucques hosted its 10th annual All-American Rib Fest. This was a variation of their legendary Sunday suppers, with a rib theme, and the ability to have more of whatever you want. Sunday was also the day of the fun but filling Taste of the Nation in Culver City, so I debated whether I could find the room to partake of a rib feast following the very extensive grazing that I had done all afternoon at the fundraiser. I got my second wind and decided that this rib fest was not to be missed and headed north to Suzanne Goin & Caroline Styne's classic restaurant to see how the 10th anniversary edition of Rib Fest stacked up.

The meal included saint-louis style pork ribs, braised beef back ribs, spiced lamb spare ribs, too-hot-to-handle chicken wings, an assortment of traditional sides, and dessert, all for $55. I asked for no pork ribs, and the server proactively made sure that I didn't have the baked beans, as there was pork in that dish as well. This is typical of the outstanding and thoughtful service I had throughout the meal.

Pretty soon my table was covered with dishes (above) including corn on the cob, grilled corned bread and wonder bread, watermelon and lime salad, and all the meats. The grilled corn on the cob was ok, not too sweet, as it is probably too early in the season for the sweetest ears. The table was literally groaning with the amount of food it was bearing. No small portions here.

The braised beef back ribs (below, top left) were tender and the meat was falling off of the bone. The single beef rib was very large and could have been a meal unto itself. Rich deep flavor. The sauce that came with the ribs (in a bowl) was a little too sweet for my taste, so I didn't use it but it wasn't necessary as the beef ribs were so flavorful already.

The lamb ribs (below, top right) were obviously smaller and were served several to a plate. The meat was dryer and less rich than the beef. The chicken wings (below, middle left) lived up to their "too hot to handle" moniker. The wings were served one at a time (seconds were available) and had a soft breading/coating. They were tangy and legitimately spicy. A real kick that crept up on you.

It was fortunate that Lucques served the watermelon and lime salad, which was very refreshing and put out the fire in my mouth from the wing. The watermelon salad included lime, onion, watercress, mint, olive oil, watermelon juice, in addition to watermelon itself. This salad was one of my favorite dishes in the meal and one I'd be happy to order again.

The grilled cornbread was dry for my taste and had grillmarks on it. The cole slaw was good, not tasting of mayonnaise, and the cabbage was crunchy.

Before dessert, I had seconds of the lamb ribs, the chicken wings and the watermelon salad. If you are going to have two huge meals in a row, you might as well go all in. This was a meal that required the use of several napkins.

I did not do justice to the strawberry rhubarb crumble with buttermilk ice cream (below, middle right) as I could only manage one serving. The ice cream was not too sweet, which was a nice way to end the meal.

The full menu is posted below, click to enlarge.

Alas there are no plans yet for a Lucques chicken wing and watermelon salad truck. But anything is possible.

Lucques Restaurant. 8474 Melrose Avenue (E of La Cienega). Phone: (323) 655-6277. Website:


  1. It's pretty remarkable that you even attempted the rib feast after Taste of the Nation, and that you ordered seconds of three things.

  2. Well I am a hungry guy. I can always find room for more if it looks good and there is variety. I can't eat unlimited quantities of the same thing though.

    You gotta get seconds, like that time at Ad Hoc when they had fried chicken night....