maude, beverly hills.
i mentioned wanting to go to maude last year, but due to timing, we ended up going to gwen instead and having an awesome experience there. since maude opened in 2014, they've been picking a single seasonal ingredient each month that they then craft an entire meal around. we finally went recently for strawberry month, and we are so glad we did - not only was it amazing, but shortly after, it was announced they would be moving away from the monthly tasting menu format starting next year.
i went into this meal really not knowing what to expect. strawberries are my absolute favorite fruit, and i'm a bit of a purist when it comes to strawberries - to me, nothing is as good as a simple, untouched strawberry.
and yet i loved this meal, and the way strawberries were used in every single dish. it wasn't always in-your-face, but it was always there. every course was just a few bites and left me wanting more. i particularly enjoyed when there was a seafood dish - i've definitely never had strawberry with seafood, but it worked really well.
my favorite dish of the night was probably the one with warm strawberries, fennel, olives and goats butter. as a kid i used to take strawberries and dip them in condensed milk, and this dish was like a savory version that i found really comforting.
my next favorite dish was probably a toss-up between the foie gras ravioli and the john dory. opposite ends of the spectrum, but the execution of each dish was impeccable, and the flavors and textures were well balanced.
throughout the entire meal, the strawberry aspect never felt forced or gimmicky (well, except for maybe the cornflakes dessert, but that felt more whimsical). it is a little sad to know i'll never have this exact meal again, but in a way that also makes it more memorable. i'm currently feeling tempted to get a reservation for october, when the ingredient will be persimmons!
212 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212