Since Dominique Crenn's prior restaurant stop down in Los Angeles officially shuttered over the weekend, we thought it only appropriate to check in with her new project, Luce. Now open for a little over a month in the (also new) InterContinental Hotel in SoMa, Luce has largely flown in under the radar in its pre-review phase (check out sneak peek of the space here). Precious little about it can be had on food boards, local blogs and media outlets, a fact that pessimists may interpret as an ominous lack of buzz and turnover for an already tough location, but we suppose that's something only time will tell. In any event, here's the buzz on Luce so far:
1) Bad News: "Let's just get this out of the way: it's a terrible location ... The hotel is designed to defend itself against the very same kind of homeless people we encountered in the parking lot. You have to enter through the main door; there are security people every 10 feet. So this is not a trip for the faint-hearted, including GoingOutAgain, who was beginning to question our last minute decision to try Luce, despite the lack of reviews" [Chowhound]
2) Good News: "... my only regret about the dinner is that I ate the roll (which was warm and fine but not spectacular) -- I am a big eater and couldn't finish the portions, which were generous. They also gave us a selection of sweets at closing, which I always prefer to an amuse bouche at the opener." [Chowhound]
3) So-So News: Despite the poor service, I do have to admit the food was delicious. We ordered a bottle of Spanish white wine (Verdejo), beet salad (it looked like artwork on a plate), sauteed spinach and we both got the Crab Fettucini. That was good. The pasta tasted homemade. So... one star for the ambiance and one star for the food. It's really a shame because the place is nice, and looks like it has so much potential. But my takeaway as I left that night is that it is what it is - - just a dressed-up hotel restaurant." [Yelp]
4) Hyperbolic Good News: "One of the most amazing meals I've had lately. The restaurant is pretty new and located in the InterContinental hotel. The restaurant itself is lovely, decorated in muted colors and with lovely dark wood chairs and tables. I also have to give a shout out to our waiter, Eva. She is one of the best I've ever had. Knowledgeable, sweet, unobtrusive and just all around awesome. It really seemed like she loved food and enjoyed her job. On to the food which was A-MAZE-ING. We had two pastas, one main and the side of steak fries. For the main, we got the scallops which were tasty but I think suffered from the scallops being slightly overcooked and also suffered from coming after the pastas which were SUBLIME. We got the carbonara with the squid ink trofiette, pancetta, baby calamari, egg and parmesan. It was soooooooo good. One of the best dishes I've had ever." [Yelp]
5) Awkwardly-Phrased Good News: "The chef is a French lady named Dominique Crenn, who must be one of the most creative chefs whose output we've had the pleasure to eat." [Chowhound]
Agree? Disagree? Your thoughts on Luce in the comments field or straight to us!