Restaurant: Salt’s Cure
Location: 1155 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038. (323) 850-7258
Date: September 26, 2015
Cuisine: New American
Rating: Really tasty
Liz has long been a fan of Salt’s Cure, and now that they are moving to a new larger space wanted to do an epic dinner in the new location. Well, this is a very “soft” opening with regard to the construction, but the food and service are fully worked out.
This particular dinner was BYOB, and ended up with more than 25 wines for 15 people. All great too!
Our special menu for the night.
NV Champagne Savart Champagne L’accomplie. 91 points. Apricot, peach, wild flowers, honey, spices and mint all meld together in the NV Brut L’Accomplie. Here the style is round, succulent and approachable, with lovely up-front intensity and volume. The current release is 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, based on the 2010 vintage with the addition of 45% Réserve wines. This is a very pretty wine, although the limits of the 2010 vintage are impossible to fully overcome.
Mussels with lemongrass.
NV Godmé Père et Fils Champagne Brut Reserve 1er Cru. Burghound 92. A markedly yeasty and impressively complex nose of various dried white fruits, particularly apple and pear, leads to equally complex, bold and robust flavors that are supported by a firm but not aggressive effervescence on the clean, dry and slightly austere finish. This is not an especially elegant Champagne but I very much like the frank character and the Réserve designation in this case is well warranted because it’s clear that there is a substantial percentage of older wine in the blend. Lovely and this could easily be drunk now but there is so much underlying material that this would make a great choice to age for another 5 to even 10 years if you enjoy the flavors of older Champagne. Recommended.
Crabcakes and tartar sauce. Lots of good solid crabby taste.
2002 Ruinart Champagne Dom Ruinart Brut Rosé. VM 95. Light, bright orange-pink. Heady mineral- and yeast-accented aromas of dried red berries, blood orange, buttered toast and tea rose. Densely packed and expansive on the palate, offering intense raspberry, cherry compote and floral pastille flavors and a smoky overtone that gains strength with aeration. The mineral quality comes back strong on the silky, focused finish, which goes on and on. An outstanding blend of power and finesse.
Steak tartar on potato crisp. I really liked these.
Chef Chris Phelps on the left, organize Liz Lee on the right (standing).
2009 Pierre Péters Champagne Grand Cru Cuvée Speciale Blanc de Blancs Les Chetillons. VM 94. The 2009 Cuvée Spéciale Les Chétillons is remarkably polished and balanced throughout, with plenty of vintage 2009 radiance. Apricot pit, smoke, peach and spice overtones take shape in a striking Champagne. Although quite open and expressive today, the 2009 is also holding back a considerable amount of pure, unbridled power as well as potential. Ripe and racy to the core, yet with no excess weight, the 2009 stands out for its exceptional balance. Dosage was 4.7 grams per liter, a bit higher than normal. Péters told me he thought the drier vintage needed a little bit more sugar.
NV Taittinger Champagne Nocturne Sec. VM 90. Bright yellow. Deeply perfumed aromas of poached pear, melon, nectarine and lemon curd are complemented by suggestions of buttered toast, anise and chamomile. Plush and broad on the palate, offering ripe citrus and pit fruit flavors with a touch of chalky minerality adding cut and lift. A floral quality builds slowly with air and carries through the spicy, sappy, gently sweet finish. I like this Champagne’s balance of fruitiness and vivacity and there’s no way that I’d have guessed that its dosage was so high.
2012 Prager Grüner Veltliner Stockkultur Smaragd Achleiten. Grapefruity, short finish, lots of acid.
Chicken liver pudding with soft pretzels and pickles. A great mix of bread, fatty liver, and bright acidic pickles and onions.
2008 Hanzell Chardonnay. 91 points. Carmel, citrus…nutty finish. Quite elegant. Drink over the next 2 yrs. Didn’t taste like Chardonnay!
Plum, cherry tomato and ricotta with basil vinaigrette. A nice bright salad.
1993 Kalin Cellars Chardonnay Cuvée LD. VM 92. Pale green-gold color. Knockout nose of orange blossom, minerals, apple and hazelnut. Thick, rich and uncompromisingly dry; already showing superb inner-mouth perfume of orange oil, apple, flowers and spices. Brisk but harmonious acids frame the deep flavors perfectly and contribute to the impression of strong structure. Finishes quite powerful and long. “This wine was still totally dumb six months ago,” notes winemaker Terry Leighton, who won’t release a wine until it ready for its close-up. Leighton’s LD bottling is from a north-facing slope, while the LV vines face south.
Chilled tomato soup with grilled cheese. The sandwich was fairly straightforward, but the soup was awesome, lots of vinegar, almost like a gazpacho.
2012 E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane. VM 93. Bright yellow. Assertive aromas of nectarine, violet and smoky minerals, with a gingery nuance adding lift. Broad and silky on the palate, offering densely packed orchard and pit fruit flavors that become spicier with air. The mineral note comes back strong on the finish, which lingers with excellent tenacity and building smokiness.
Mackerel Toast with Sauce Gribiche. Tasty, but a real tough wine pairing with all that salt, vinegar, and strong briny tones.
2012 Domaine de Montille Meursault Perrières 1er Cru. Burghound 92. Here too strong sulfur and reduction render the nose impossible to assess. As one would reasonably expect this is intensely mineral-driven with an excellent sense of energy and tension to the saline-inflected flavors that display only moderate depth on the otherwise wonderfully long and well-balanced finish. My range offers the benefit of the doubt that more depth will develop with age.
agavin: Friend and dinner companion MZ owns a chunk of this estate and this was the first vintage from his collection! Very bright and delicious.
2002 Bouchard Père et Fils Chevalier-Montrachet. Burghound 93. More noticeable wood spice than in the prior wine combines with wonderfully pure green fruit and white pear aromas underscored by intensely stony notes, leading to ripe, chiseled, vibrant, wonderfully precise flavors that offer excellent definition. This really coats the palate and the finish lingers for several minutes. I like the punch here yet the intensity is delivered in an ultra refined, classy and pure style.
Yellowtail with succotash. I’m not used to having yellowtail fully cooked, but it was a nice flaky fish in this format.
2001 Simon Bize Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Les Fourneaux. Burghound 89. Much finer and purer than the Suchot with detailed, precise, very earthy fruit and a subtle touch of finishing minerality. There is virtually no rusticity and while this is firmly structured, the tannins are almost completely buffered by an impressive sappiness that coats the palate.
1999 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Charmes-Chambertin. VM 89. Full medium red. Floral, sappy aromas of red fruits, nuts and game. Tangy red fruit flavors are kept bright by healthy ripe acidity. Finishes with very good length and grip. An unusually strong showing for this cuvee.
2002 Louis Jadot Echezeaux. Burghound 93. Strong oak spice presently dominates the nose with round, sweet, rich and impressively complex flavors that deliver stunning length. This is quite a powerful wine yet there is almost no rusticity and I very much like the obviously high quality material. As with several wines in the range, my score awards the benefit of the doubt regarding the oak.
Roasted Chicken with Herbed Gravy. Chicken and mashers!
1998 Domaine Bruno Clair Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Petite Chapelle. Very bright, like cherry juice.
1999 Domaine de L’Arlot Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Clos des Forêts St. Georges. Burghound 92. More serious than the ’99 Clos de l’Arlot though not quite as ripe with color that is almost black as is the fruit with crushed herbs and intense minerality, succulent flavors and excellent pinot character. There are sizeable tannins that are completely wrapped in velvety fruit and this displays a slightly sweet finish. This is really very fine and fresh and while this is not a truly dense wine, it has filled out better on the mid-palate than I originally predicted. It will also need a bit more time as well to really arrive at its prime drinking window. Consistent notes.
1991 Domaine Jamet Côte-Rôtie. VM 93. Dark red color. Classic aromas of black raspberry, smoked meat and bacon fat. Dense, spicy and sweet on the palate, with sappy inner mouth perfume. Kept firm and fresh by pepper and mineral components. Finishes long and subtle, with dusty, even tannins. A beauty.
Chorizo with sweet onion puree and peppers. Tasty sausage, although with some heat.
2002 Domaine Joseph Roty Charmes-Chambertin Très Vieilles Vignes. Burghound 95. A heavily toasted nose with spice, wood and tar nuances frames ripe but fresh black pinot fruit and cassis aromas that also display an extraordinary panoply of secondary nuances, including earth, underbrush, leather, soy and spice. The powerful, rich and utterly delicious big-bodied and very concentrated flavors coat and stain the palate and completely buffer the now softening tannic spine on the superbly long finish. In short, this is flat out incredible juice and while it’s clearly quite oaky, the wood somehow works quite well with the wine even though it’s far from invisible. As to drinkability, I would probably opt to hold the ’02 Charmes for a few more years but it could easily be drunk now with pleasure.
2001 Emmanuel Rouget Echezeaux. Burghound 91. This closely resembles the style of the Beaux Monts with its lighter ruby color and ultra elegant pinot spice aromas followed by medium weight, pure, complex, quite refined flavors and a creamy, slightly toasty finish. Relatively light by the standards of many vintages of this wine but it is so elegant that is it hard to fault.
2002 Mommessin Richebourg.
Duroc Pork Chop. Sides Farro Bowl, Mashed Potatoes, & Wood Roasted Seasonal Vegetable.
Louis Jadot Latricières-Chambertin. I can’t remember the vintage.
From my cellar: 1991 Camille Giroud Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts. 93 points. Very rich with strong vosne spice.
1996 Domaine Leroy Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Boudots. VM 94. Excellent deep ruby-red color. Subdued but vibrant aromas of cassis, blackberry and violet. Superb sweetness and flavor intensity; penetrating flavor of spicy blackberry. Lovely acidity gives the wine juiciness and great cut. Very persistent and fine on the finish. Has fruit of steel. Great Nuits-Saint-Georges premier cru.
Duck, Oatmeal Griddle Cakes & Fruit Compote. This was a pretty awesome duck. Basically duck and pancakes, like a non-fried version of chicken and waffles?
Mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Grapefruit pie, date brownie. The brownie was much like a sticky toffee pudding.
Overall this was a really great night. A warm one too in this rough and half finished space. But for all the walls being unpainted, the staff both in the room and in the kitchen did a great job. The food was really solid. Excellent execution and slight variants on fairly classic ingredients and dishes — this isn’t radical food — but just very well done with a lot of flavor. We had A LOT of it too. Boy were we full.
The wines, and we had more than a few of them, were pretty spectacular. Perhaps a few too many great red Burgs pilled up on the last 2-3 courses, but one yummy bottle after another. We even managed our best at pairing with some difficult pairings (picked mackerel!), mostly because Liz is a master of pairing and brought some good ringers.
All around great times.