Foie Gras is BACK! Here's Where to Find It in LA
In case you missed it, the food world went crazy yesterday when the foie gras ban was lifted in the state of California. Chefs all over immediately took to Twitter to praise the the decision, especially those very publicly involved with protesting the ban, like Napa Valley chef Ken Frank, who had been serving the delicacy for free and couldn't wait to serve the dish legally for the first time in three years.
The law went into effect in 2012 and was upheld in a federal appeals court a year later. It seemed the animal rights side had won. Foie gras had been gone from our local menus for so long, that it was almost difficult to miss it at that point. Lift the ban, however, and people can't wait to get a taste. "We almost lost hope," Jon Shook, co-owner of Animal and Son of a Gun restaurants, says. "Even though it was always requested at dinners we did in different cities, we almost forgot about it as an ingredient here in LA. It was so important to us when we opened Animal, but it wasn’t in our repertoire anymore. We’re shocked really. It’s going to be huge again."
Here's where you can find the delicacy around Los Angeles as early as today, but call ahead to make sure it's available (at least in these early days). Everyone's trying to get their hands on a fairly limited supply as soon as they can.
The Bazaar: Jose Andres Tweeted right away about this excitement over the turn of events, offering his famed cotton candy-wrapped foie gras free to anyone who walks through the door on Thursday, today, from 5-7 PM.
Melisse: Josiah Citrin must have had some tucked away: He put seared foie gras on the menu the day the ban was lifted, serving it with seasonal turnip and blood orange. It's now regularly available.
Animal: Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo can hardly believe it. "It’s not like we were serving some crazy thing that wasn’t regulated," Shook says. "All the foie that we ever served was USDA approved. The chicken industry is far worse." They're working to get their two signature dishes — the foie gras biscuit with sausage gravy and the foie gras loco moco — on the menu by Friday. "A lot of the heart and soul of Animal was foie gras. It was our favorite ingredient in culinary school," the chef adds. They'll eventually have five to six foie gras dishes on the menu.
Petit Trois: Chef Ludovic Lefebvre started posting photos of himself sneaking lobes of foie gras out of the back of cars when the news broke. He said: “Looks illegal but NO MORE. Welcome back to California. We missed you foie gras. Contraband no more!!!" Look for traditional foie gras terrine at the French bistro as well as foie gras dishes on the prix fixe menu at Trois Mec.
Redbird: Like just about every chef in town, Neal Fraser was on the phone as soon as he heard the news. "My guy was trying to call me while I was trying to call him," he said. Starting tonight, January 8, you can get foie gras encrusted with cocoa nib and pistachio served with quince compote and brioche at his brand new Downtown LA restaurant.
Republique: Walter Manzke says he ordered his foie gras right away. "The minute I get it I'll be putting it back on the menu," he adds. "I love using foie gras in old, classic recipes. One of my favorites is tournedos Rossini, beef filet with a piece of seared foie gras topped with black truffle sauce. I'll probably be serving this starting this weekend." He'll also replace the duck liver mousse with foie gras, a popular dish he served during his tenure at Church & State.
Terrine: Chef Kris Morningstar is going big at his new Beverly Boulevard restaurant with a full foie gras menu on Monday, January 12. He'll have foie gras terrine; salade Landaise with foie gras and gizzards; seared foie gras with chanterelles, lentils and Banyuls vinegar; foie gras-stuffed beef wrapped in Benton's bacon; and a dessert. All dishes will be available a la carte but also as a prix fixe meal.
Smoke.Oil.Salt: Perfecto Rocher will hopefully have his favorite foie dish on the menu as early as Thursday, January 8: foie a la brassa, which is grilled foie with Valencian orange marmalade. "It's the perfect combination of smoke, bitter, sweet and citrus with smokey salt to finish," he says.
Cliff’s Edge: Vartan Abgaryan is thrilled. "We have a dish on the menu that is great as it is, but it would be magical with the addition of foie gras," he says. So beginning Friday, January 9, the duck pastilla will be made with duck confit and foie gras.
Vertical Wine Bar: "My friend Sego was at the court house today and texted me right away," says chef Laurent Quenioux. He'll have foie gras gratin with artichokes, guanciale, black truffle and soubise at the restaurant as soon he can, most likely later this month. He's also planning an all-foie gras LQ Foodings dinner.
Wexler's Deli: Micah Wexler will create a special reuben for his Grand Central Market deli as soon as he gets his foie gras order. It will consist of foie gras with red onion jam, kraut and Swiss cheese on griddled rye bread. He'll only make 10 a day, limited one per order. And you thought the lines at Eggslut were long...
Faith & Flower: It's as if Michael Hung has been planning this all along. "One of the things I learned from Roland Passot is that when you serve foie, you should serve foie," says the chef. "So I plan on serving 8 or 9 ounce slabs of it, seared over mesquite, with almond gremolata, roasted mushrooms, mustard bread and sherry jus." It should be on the menu by Monday. He also plans on serving torchon at some point.
Scratch|Bar: Chef Phillip Frankland Lee was on the phone all morning trying to secure some foie gras for his Beverly Hills restaurant. "Next to sea urchin, foie is my absolute favorite," he says. Look for several foie dishes this weekend if he gets his deliveries, or at least by Monday, including a whole roasted lobe, a caramelized appetizer portion, and a cured torchon on the charcuterie board.
The Tripel and Playa Provisions: At her South Bay restaurants, Brooke Williamson will have a potted foie gras at Playa Provisions, and a foie gras-stuffed duck breast at The Tripel, by next week. "We've been waiting to bring back both dishes and are very excited to now have the opportunity to do so," the chef says.
MB Post: David LeFevre can't wait to serve a foie gras torchon with poached pears and allspice gastrique and grilled pan de campagna. It will be on the menu in Manhattan Beach "as we can get it in and run it."
Chateau Marmont and Bar Marmont: Carolynn Spence said she immediately ordered six lobes so she can get her dishes on the menus at the two West Hollywood posts as soon as possible. She'll have a terrine with her own Marmont honeycomb, Armagnac prunes and fig baguette at the Restaurant, and potted foie gras with Sauterne gelee, fig and date jam, and smoked Arbequina olive oil at Bar Marmont.
Firefly: Paul Shoemaker will be serving seared foie gras with winter truffle fondue, quince, roasted hazelnut and lambs lettuce at the Studio City restaurant.
Acabar: There will be a slew of new dishes from Kevin Luzande at the West Hollywood wonderland, including a foie gras parfait with huckleberry and all spice gelee and pistachio crumble; foie terrine with quince chutney, chicory and hazelnuts; seared foie with Mandarinquat preserve and rice crisps; and foie beignets with quince marmalade. "Welcome back old friend," he says of the delicacy. "Now I don't need so sneak you through the back door." Look for the dishes starting around January 15, with the best making it onto the DineLA Resturant Week menu.
GC Marketplace: The first thing chef Gary Arabia said upon hearing about the ban: “YAYYYYY! Finally the torchon of foie gras burger has arrived at GC Marketplace.” The burger was a specialty at Global Cuisine, his restaurant at The Lot, but it will finally be available at his new Studio City restaurant starting next week. The burger gets topped with seared foie gras and dressed with Santa Christina Vin Santo gastrique on a slice of toasted challa.
Eagle Rock Brewery Public House: Executive chef Jerry Su wants to experiment with foie gras at the new beer-centric Eagle Rock restaurant. Inspired by Taiwanese treats he was exposed to as a child, he's thinking something like a ball of foie gras candied with blood orange and Cognac on a stick. Look for the specials soon.
Papilles: Chef Tim Carey will offer a torchon or terrine on the menu at the hidden "bistronomie" spot in Hollywood as soon as he gets the product. “I had one lobe in-house that I seared last night,” he says. But a regular foie dish will return to the menu as soon as he gets more, which can be as early as this weekend.
Dog Haus Biergarten: Dog Haus culinary director Michael Brown is working on developing a special foie gras-topped sausage that will be available at the Biergarten location in Old Pasadena only from mid-January through the end of the month. They'll bring back the holiday turducken sausage (smoked turkey, chicken and duck with fresh sage, rosemary, thyme, whiskey-soaked cranberries and yams) and will top it with a seasonal jam and diced pieces of foie gras.
Barlo: This hidden little spot at the Hotel Erwin is great for brunch (especially when the some of the other Venice spots are too crowded). Look for a foie gras-stuffed French toast served on the breakfast menu only.