Cooking in L.A. County

Dining on the best of Southland farmers' markets

When we walked into Cooks County, the weeks-old restaurant that took over the Bistro LQ space on Beverly Boulevard, all thoughts of côte de boeuf and cassoulet slipped our mind. The dining room is unrecognizable.

Newly exposed ceiling beams, a window into the kitchen and a glassed-in wall of wine are just a few of the architectural elements that have transformed the space. And this more casual, more open aesthetic complements the cooking of Daniel Mattern.

The menu's register of such farmers' market favorites as Windrose, Coleman, and McGrath doubles as cooking philosophy and shopping list, and the quality of the produce shines in dishes like Warm Chicories ($9).

These barely wilted leaves were one of the most flavorful, gratifying dishes we ate here–so don't fear the bitter. Chanterelles and chewy cubes of pancetta contributed satisfying savor to this ideal fall salad.

Braised beef cheeks ($20) were meltingly tender, although the accompanying late-season creamed corn was so sweet that we wished there was salt on the table. The tender, rose-hued duck breast (pictured; $20) contrasted beautifully with both its wood-fire-crisped skin, and the drifts of kabocha squash and Brussels spouts with which it's served.

All in all, LQ has a worthy successor.

Cooks County, 8009 Beverly Blvd., Mid-City; 323-653-8009 or cookscountyrestaurant.com