Nothing beat the days in 7th grade science class when the textbooks finally went away, desks were cleared, and the risk of setting yourself entirely on fire skyrocketed - it was Bunsen burner day. You were excited because it was fun and weird and even if you never got the liquid in your beaker to be the correct shade of blue, it didn't matter - just doing something out of the norm for an hour was the real thrill. Which brings us to Maude, the super strange (and very fun) dining experience you actually want to be a part of.
To address the elephant in the room, Maude is expensive. As in, $140 per person before drinks expensive. That’s a lot of money. Is it worth it? If you’re in the market for an out-of-the-box experience, it is. Plus, you pay up front when you book, which gives you the beautiful feeling the night of that your meal is somehow all free. Small victories.
The concept itself at Maude is also pretty ridiculous - the menu changes every month, and each menu is based off a different ingredient (usually a fruit or vegetable or humble nut). Not only does this keep all the dishes from feeling tired, it gives you that crucial experience of eating something your annoying co-worker hasn’t bragged about for the past six months. On our last visit, the ingredient was lime. Of the ten dishes that hit the table that night, five of them were outstanding, three were good, and two missed the mark. If those odds aren’t high enough for you considering how much money you paid, remember this is all one big experiment. Trial and error comes with the territory.
But for us, the defining part of Maude is not the food itself. It’s the fact that you're eating a meal inspired by a citrus fruit in a space that feels like your daily coffee spot. Any vision you have of some sterile, white-walled execution chamber should be wiped away. Maude looks like a tiny sidewalk cafe in Nice, and the waitstaff seems not only aware, but also in on the joke of how ridiculous a 10-course, lime-based menu is. Will Maude always be somewhat pretentious? We were served something with a “veil of mint” on it, so the answer is yes. Were two women next to us discussing what cat breeds look best in a painted self-portrait? That answer is also yes. But you’re at a pre-fixe dinner on South Beverly Drive, all of that too comes with the territory.
If you’re looking to change up your normal restaurant routine and comfortable enough throwing down to experience something different, Maude is the wild ride you’re looking for - without any fire hazard to boot.
This was the first thing to hit our table, and though it appeared as if we were about to be force-fed an egg yolk, that tiny yellow ball was filled with some sort of fruit juice that exploded in our mouth. It was thrilling, and we’re still thankful it wasn’t an egg yolk.
Easily the coolest looking dish to hit the table, this was unfortunately one of the big misses for us in the taste department. The citrus from the lime was the only thing you could taste.
Easily the biggest dish of the night, and also one of the best. It was essentially seven pieces of lamb all done different ways. And every way was delicious.
From now on, every first bowl of ice cream we eat will be known as pre-dessert. Thank you for this gift, Maude. Also, anything covered in a "veil of mint" deserves your attention.
Not to worry, the main event is also worth the wait. Our dessert was some sort of dark chocolate with mescal and honey mixed in, and it was fantastic. Still awaiting post-dessert though.