First Taste: Citrus at Social

Citrus at Social

Michel Richard is back in L.A. with a new version of Citrus, the seminal Cali-French restaurant where he made his name before moving to Washington, D.C. to focus on Citronelle. Part of Jeffrey Chodorow’s Social complex, in the Hollywood Athletic Club, the new Citrus resides in the former Moroccan Room, which has been entirely redone in sunny lemon and lime.

The restaurant now has its own entrance—the better to separate serious diners from barflies and clubgoers—giving way to a large room outfitted with pale-green satin banquettes and slipper chairs, and capped with the gorgeous original frescoed ceiling. The old Citrus crowd is there (when they can rouse themselves from their Westside haunts), but there’s also a younger, more diverse collection of curious diners, savoring the glam surroundings and Richard’s witty, delicious food.

The kitchen is run by Rémi Lauvand, a veteran of New York’s Le Cirque and Montrachet, but the menu is full of Richard staples. There’s the carpaccio of “surf, turf, and earth,” an exquisite mosaic of raw beef and seafood garnished with citrus segments and basil oil; a scallop scramble “not eggsactly,” in which scallop mousse plays the part of soft scrambled eggs; Richard’s famous faux gras; and short ribs braised for 72 hours, served alongside fries cooked in clarified butter to brilliant effect. Even the roast chicken comes with terrific little tater tots. The playfulness continues into dessert (after all, Richard got his start as a pastry chef), with a magical vacherin shaped like a mushroom, and a house-made “kit kat bar” with noisette sauce. In fact, the restaurant’s only drawback comes after dessert, when you inevitably have to give up your seat to another diner.

Citrus at Social 6525 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA (323-337-9797;

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