Chef Laurent Quenioux, the “LQ” of Bistro LQ, has been recommended many times by the veterans here on FTC and on our old Chowhound board back in the day. I never got a chance to try his original Bistro LQ restaurant, but these days he’s doing them as a series of pop-ups.
Thanks to @Ns1 for the heads up, Chef Laurent was doing his famous Seafood Tower pop-up at Sangers & Joe in Pasadena.
There are 3 Tiers of the Seafood Tower, with progressively more and more seafood, and the list seems ridiculous when you read it, LOL. There’s so much stuff.
The evening started with complementary bread service: Beurre de Barratte Butter and freshly baked bread from a local bakery.
Tier 2 includes:
6 Bouquet Shrimp
2 oz Crevette Grise
2 oz Spicy Octopus
2 Little Neck Clams
4 Spot Prawns
2 Crevette Grise Uni Shots
1 Appetizer of Mussels in Escabeche
2 oz Bigorneaux
3 Sea Urchin
1/4 lb King Crab Legs
2 Cups of Clam Chowder
2 Dungeness Crab Toast Rouille
2 Cherry Stone Clams
1/2 Maine Lobster
Grilled Monterey Bay Wild Squid
They started us off with Spot Prawns:
Served Sashimi style, with deep fried heads, they were excellent. Very fresh.
Dungeness Crab Toast Rouille:
Fresh, sweet chunks of Dungeness Crab with a smear of Avocado, it was like a decadent Avocado Toast.
Grilled Monterey Bay Wild Squid:
This was a warm dish (cooked), and one of the best dishes we had all night. Tender, lightly smoky, slightly briny fantastic Monterey Bay Wild Squid. Really, really good.
A very traditional Clam Chowder, thick, with delicious chunks of Little Neck Clams. I would say I liked Chef Cimarusti’s version (thinner, lighter) at Connie & Ted’s more, but still this was very good.
Finally, the Seafood Tower Tier 2 arrived:
To say that there was a lot of food would be an understatement, LOL. I was actually scared to see so much bountiful seafood sitting in front of us.
Fresh Oyster Selection: Samish Star (WA), Marin Miyagi (BJ), Laguna Bay (BJ) -
It was a good selection. The Marin Miyagis were my favorite.
The condiments were all made fresh, in-house, with: Housemade Cocktail Sauce (on the sweeter side), Shallots in Vinegar, Housemade Mayonnaise (really delicious).
These were tiny little morsels of seafood. They were rather bland, but dressed up with some Lemon and a bit of Cocktail Sauce or Shallots & Vinegar and they were fine.
Additional shots of the seafood tower:
Spicy Octopus Salad:
One of the misses of the evening. They were overcooked and mushy.
Gambas were soft and mushy, but this isn’t the fault of the chef, but of an inherent problem with Gambas’ (and Langoustines’) meat deteriorating naturally immediately after being dispatched. So unless they can source them live and cook them immediately it seems this will always be a problem (thanks @Porthos).
Little Neck Clams:
King Crab Legs:
Excellent! Nice salinity, sweetness in the King Crab meat, well-cooked, the meat was still firm yet tender.
This was difficult to judge. Basically my individual Sea Urchin was ROTTEN. As in dead, stinking, bad. It was disgusting and I had to spit it out. To be fair, I read an article talking about how you might not know what the quality of a Sea Urchin is like until you cut it open. So I just got bad luck there. But it was pretty awful.
My guests let me try some of theirs and it was fresh and delicious, so I think it was just a bad / dead Urchin.
These were also sadly mushy. But they suffer from the same inherent problem as Gambas (unless you can source live Langoustines this will always be the case).
Just AWESOME! This was super fresh, crisp, firm, as good as I’ve had in a while.
Cheese Cart (Selection of Non-Pasteurized Cheeses Imported from France):
We had 4 cheeses from Chef Laurent’s famous Cheese Cart. And I’d have to say these Unpasteurized Cheeses from France were just fantastic! So good. My favorite was a Reblochon that was soft, oozy and delicate.
It was $120 for a Tier 2 Seafood Tower, and for 3 of us, it was too much food. We were completely stuffed and it was a bargain. My favorites were the Abalone, Monterey Bay Grilled Wild Squid, King Crab Legs, and the Marin Miyagis. Oh! And the Honey Mussels Escabeche were really, really delicious!
We were bummed about the overcooked Bouquet Shrimp, and the Gambas and Langoustines inherent soft / mushiness. If the shrimp wasn’t overcooked, and if we had live Gambas, Langoustines (I wish!) I think they could’ve been additional highlights of the evening.
Bistro LQ Pop-Up
@ Sangers & Joe
57 E. Holly St.
Pasadena, CA 91103
Tel: (323) 553-0563
For the latest Pop-Up Menu / Theme and Locations: