Maude | 99 Essential Restaurants 2015

Maude

photo by Anne Fishbein

What do you get when you mix a celebrity chef, a Beverly Hills location and a huge international fan base? Not what you’d expect. Curtis Stone’s first foray into restaurant ownership is ambitious, there’s no denying it, but it’s ambitious in all the right ways. Small ways. Maude’s intimate room is both sleek and cozy, the tiled walls contrasting cleverly with the vintage vases and tableware (the restaurant is named after Stone’s grandmother, and the look of the place mixes her tastes with his). The concept is clever: Each month, the chef focuses on one seasonal ingredient, presenting that ingredient in a nine- or 10-course tasting menu. A monthly ingredient of honor might become burdensome and repetitive in a lesser chef’s hands, but Stone is a man who understands balance. Throughout the meal, the flavor is amplified and then subdued, in places used as the main attraction and in others as a subtle garnish. The elegant food, the fantastic wine and the lovely room have made Maude one of the toughest reservations in town. And for very good reason. —Besha Rodell