Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Laurent Quenioux's New Menu at Vertical Wine Bistro (Pasadena)

It's the height of summer and Chef Laurent Quenioux has rolled out a new menu at Pasadena's Vertical Wine Bistro. I hadn't been in for a while but I'm always excited to try LQ's food, especially seeing fried quail on the menu.

Now, when Laurent Quenioux is in charge, you can't miss the cheese plate! For mine, I chose cheese that spanned the whole range: Brillat Savarin Frais (France, cow), Bucheron (California, goat), and Pecorino Foglie di Noce (Italy, sheep). Truffle honey is extra but a must try.

The cheese plate is typically served with berry jam, bell pepper mustard, roasted hazelnut, and baguette, but like I said my favorite condiment is the truffle honey! Especially with the creamy triple-creme Brillat Savarin.

I couldn't settle on a wine, so my server put together a flight instead. I asked for a rose and two reds and received: 2011 Schnaitmann Pinot Noir Rose from Germany, 2012 Boson Pinot Noir from Carneros, 2011 Le Pich Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa

Appropriate for summer, the menu features Watermelon gazpacho with lobster and mango ($11)
Fried quail, sriracha slaw, snow pea salad ($23)
Who needs chicken? Quail tastes much better! We really enjoyed this entree, from the crispy, herbed batter to the juicy quail. I loved the way he cut and battered the bird, making it easy to grab with your fingers and go to town. The snow pea salad was unusual and refreshing.

Heritage Porchetta, broccolini, pecorino, achiote, pickled beets ($22)
The porchetta was surprisingly great, as well, so rich and tender. It wasn't a dish I expect to see at this restaurant, but I was really glad I tried it. True to LQ's style, he spices up the dish with another culture with the achiote. 

While the cocktail menu hasn't changed much, if at all, at Vertical Wine Bistro since the last time I visited, Laurent is certainly bringing in some excitement to the conservative Pasadena scene. It's not as adventurous as his Bistro LQ pop ups, but it seems like Pasadena is catching up with all the recent restaurant openings.

PS. You might've seen that Vertical Wine Bistro is up for sale, but don't worry, even if ownership changes, they plan to keep Laurent as the executive chef. 


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