Location: 755 North La Cienega. Los Angeles, CA 90069. 310.659.3900
Date: August 29, 2012
Rating: Gluttonous fun!
Back in July I joined up with the “Hedonists” Meetup group for a spectacular food and wine (and all around overindulgent) evening. No sooner had I recovered when we set out again, this time to “trendy” Hollywood steakhouse STK. These are big dinners, 12 people, and everyone brings one (or more) bottles of wine. They’re vetted too by the host so every bottle is either old, highly rated, or both.
The space is chic and modern. Above is the La Cienega entrance.
At Hedonism events the wines are always spectacular. We start out with this rose champagne. “The NV Brut Grand Rose comes across as very Gosset in its bright, piercing minerality. This is one of the driest Roses in the market, and truth to be told, it takes a special palate to truly appreciate this wine. Frankly, a touch more sweetness might not be a bad thing.”
These look like Glazed Pop’ems, but they’re savory. And that sauce is pretty much a under-spiced chimichurri.
More my taste, Parker 92, “You can’t help but smile when you taste the 2002 Chassagne-Montrachet en Remilly. Its flowery nose leads to a fat, deep, medium-bodied personality. Broad, rich, and plush, it coats the palate with lilies, sweet minerals, and pears. Drink this concentrated, generous, pleasing wine over the next 6 years.”
Some oysters on the halfshell.
“Poached pears and spiced apples can be found in the superb aromatics of the 2000 Nuits-St.-Georges La Perriere (white). Medium to full-bodied, plump, and fat, this is an exceedingly ripe wine, crammed with loads of pears, anise, and toast flavors. It is harmonious, seamless, and reveals an admirably long, pure, and delineated finish.”
“TUNA TARTARE. soy emulsion – avocado – taro chips.”
I brought this puppy, which is just beginning to open up. Parker 94, “Gaja’s 1997 Barbaresco is undoubtedly the finest he has yet made. An exquisite effort, it boasts a dense ruby/purple color in addition to an extraordinary nose of black cherry liqueur, smoke, licorice, mineral, and floral aromas. The wine is full-bodied, opulent, and loaded with fruit. Despite its precocious nature, there is abundant tannin, and thus 3-4 years of cellaring is required. It should age effortlessly for 25 years.”
“ROASTED BONE MARROW. truffle – olive tapenade – pickled shitake mushrooms – grilled country bread.”
Some bordeux, old and adolescent.
“The 1966 Ausone, tasted twice from well-stored bottles in Bordeaux, this wine reveals an amber/rust overtone to its medium garnet color. At first the nose offers attractive faded fruit, old leather, and dried herb-like aromas. In the mouth, the wine possesses sweetness on the attack that quickly faded to reveal astringency, harshness, and a medium-bodied, hollow personality.”
“The 1995 Lynch Bages, a dense ruby/purple hue is accompanied by reticent, restrained aromatics suggesting earth, herbs and subtle fruit. The wine hits the palate with a brutal, tannic overlay, but behind that are impressive levels of black and red fruits. As is the case with many 1995s, the wine’s structural components still dominate, which makes one wonder if these cuvees will ever shed enough tannin to be charming and enjoyable to drink. Certainly depth, weight and richness are all present, but the tannins remain elevated and somewhat foreboding.”
“BEEF TARTAR. black truffle – sliced radish – soy caramel.”
Parker 99! “The late Michel Delon always thought that this was the greatest vintage he had produced. We often tasted it side by side with the 1982, because I always preferred the latter vintage. Of course, the two vintages are quite different in style, with the 1986 a monument to classicism, with great tannin, extraordinary delineation, and a huge, full-bodied nose of sweet, ripe cassis fruit intermixed with vanilla, melon, fruitcake, and a multitude of spices. The wine has always been phenomenally concentrated, yet wonderfully fresh and vigorous. The wine still seems young, yet it is hard to believe it is not close to full maturity. It is a great example of Leoville Las Cases, and another compelling reason to take a serious look at the top Cabernet Sauvignon-based Medocs of 1986.”
“MIXED GREENS. hazelnut butter – pickled strawberries – saba vinegar.”
Parker 96, “Sitting next to my former colleague, Pierre Antoine Rovani, at one of the tastings, he commented that he didn’t like the striking green note in the aromatics of this wine, which I didn’t detect at all, and a subsequent bottle at another tasting did not reveal it either. I do think there is a hint of bay leaf and a meatiness to it. In short, I find this to be a spectacular Pichon Lalande. Dense purple in color, with loads of coffee, mocha, creme de cassis, and chocolate notes, this is a somewhat unusual blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, and a whooping 10% Petit Verdot, with a little bit of Cabernet Franc. The Petit Verdot certainly gives the wine more of a tapenade, floral note, which I think can be interpreted by some as herbal. This is a rich, opulent, stunning Pichon Lalande that is beginning to drink beautifully, yet should continue to improve for at least another 10-15 years and last 30 or more years.”
“Bone-in filet with crabmeat and bordelaise.” Certainly a great steak, and bordelaise makes EVERYTHING better.
Parker 99! “A compelling example of this noble terroir in the northeastern sector of Napa Valley, the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard still has a dense purple color and possesses a seamless personality with spectacular notes of licorice, incense, black raspberries, black currants, crushed rock, and spring flowers. Stunningly full-bodied, multi-layered, with great purity and expression, this fabulous wine is still youthful but very accessible, as the tannins are velvety and well-integrated. This wine will keep aging beautifully for a minimum of another quarter century. Bravo!”
There were also two fantastic Insignias (99-100 pointers). These evenings get chaotic and it was hard to snap photos of all the late arrivals. I was more concerned with pouring myself a glass!
“Bone-in porterhouse.” Have a little beef!
Parker 98, “There are 2,600 cases of the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard. As I indicated last year, this is a fabulous effort that manages to conceal its 100% new French oak aging. Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by beautiful aromas of blueberries, black currants, acacia flowers, licorice, and spice. The tannins are softer than I remember, but this is certainly one of the vintage’s most extraordinary wines. Full-bodied with a seamless integration of tannin, acidity, alcohol, and wood, it is exceptionally pure and full as well as impeccably balanced. The impression is one of elegance allied with substantial flavor authority. It can be drunk now or cellared for 25+ years.”
Some other cut of steak, can’t remember which.
“New York strip with salt.”
Parker 90, “The classy, rich, well-focused 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses a Chateau Margaux-like fragrance and personality. Neither overblown nor excessively extracted, it is a beautifully made, pure, cassis-dominated wine with well-integrated toasty new oak. No component part dominates, and the wine exhibits no hard edges. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and authoritatively flavored, this Cabernet is approachable now but promises to age gracefully for 12-20 years.”
“LOCAL HALIBUT. brown butter – capers- lemon – fingerling potatoes.”
1983 Mount Mary Vineyard Cabernet.
Some stellar mac & cheese.
Something healthy? Except for the butter!
“Parmesan truffle fries.”
“Sweet corn pudding.” We took to calling this stuff “corn porn” it was so good.
Parker 96, “Deep garnet colour. The nose is just beginning to evolve into musky, dried plum and raisin aromas with whiffs of tree bark, nutmeg, cumin and cloves. The palate is seriously big and voluptuous with medium to high acidity and a medium to firm level of fine tannins. Very long finish.”
“COCONUT CREAM TART. toasted meringue – banana ice cream – chocolate.” This thing was amazing. I ate like two myself.
“CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. warm baked cookie – vanilla ice cream.” Also pretty spectacular.
“WARM FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE. nutella ice cream – cocoa nib crunch.”
Parker 86, “Every bit as good as the more open-knit and expressive 1976, the 1975 is lighter and more typically Coutet in its proportions, with a graceful, fresh taste, very good concentration, and years of evolution ahead.” This Barsac might not be Chateau D’Yquem, but it has matured to be a unique amber honeyed beast of its own.
“STRAWBERRY RHUBARB CROSTATA. lemon sherbet – black pepper caramel.”
Foodwise, STK is very good, perhaps not quite so good as Mastros or as inventive as Cut, but very good nonetheless. In addition, they are considerably cheaper than Mastros (which can be quite punishing on the wallet). And as a further bonus, they played 80s pop hits exclusively the whole evening, which is so my taste (having gone to high school in the 80s). When I walked in Tears for Fears “Shout” was just starting up. Perfect!
The overall evening was spectacular. The place treated us really well with swift and friendly service you hardly noticed. Plus, there was the excellent company and all our amazing wines!