Location: 755 North La Cienega. Los Angeles, CA 90069. 310.659.3900
Date: February 25, 2013
Rating: Gluttonous fun!
It’s been six months since we Hedonists last hit STK and so it was time for a return. Being a steakhouse, STK is a great place to pull out all those beefy reds!
The space is chic and modern. Above is the La Cienega entrance.
These look like Glazed Pop’ems, but they’re savory. And that sauce is pretty much a under-spiced chimichurri.
Arnaud Margaine’s NV Brut Premier Cru is gorgeous. White flowers, crushed rocks and green pears literally jump from the glass in this beautifully delineated, energetic Champagne. Vivid, crystalline and beautifully layered, the Premier Cru impresses for its balance and exceptional overall harmony. This is a great effort in its peer group. The Premier Cru is 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir, 50% vintage 2009 and the remainder reserve wines back to 2002. I would give the Premier Cru another 6-12 months to be fully expressive post-disgorgement.
“DIVER SCALLOPS.” coriander crust – young coconut – textures of corn.
Burghound 94, “2005 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru White. A ripe and classic nose of distinctly discreet and reserved green fruit and floral aromas that are airy, pure and lightly spiced merge into intense, precise and penetrating medium full flavors blessed with terrific acid/fruit balance and huge length. This is really a lovely wine that is presently a tightly coiled spring and in need of extended bottle aging to really put on display the superb potential here. An understated stunner of a wine as well as ultra refined and one of the best examples of this appellation in 2005.”
“Seafood tower, medium.” While this was good, it wasn’t exactly towering.
Parker 93, “1996 Domaine Tollot-Beaut et Fils Corton Bressandes. This estate’s Corton-Bressandes is a wine I search out in vintages with good ripeness. It is never huge, muscular, or a blockbuster but can often be sultry, seductive, detailed, and simply lovely. A recently tasted 1990, while at least three years from maturity, was fabulous. The 1996 displays sweet red cherry and Asian spice aromatics as well as a gorgeously refined character filled with candied and delineated cherries. This elegant, sexy, and feminine offering is medium-to-full-bodied, silky-textured, and possesses a long and refreshing finish.”
“BLUE ICEBERG.” smoked bacon – blue cheese – pickled tomato.
Parker 86, “The 1997 VINHA BARROSA VINHA VELHA is a single vineyard wine (hence, says the winery, the “vinha velha” rather than plural for old vines, “vinhas velhas”) maturing, showing a little oxidation, and seems a bit older than it is. That said, and despite some astringency still on the finish, there are some things to like here, as the fruit has opened up. There is a distinctive touch of mint on the finish. The wine’s structure is outliving its fruit, so this seems to me to be a good time to drink it, although it has both the tannin and acidity to hold a good, long while. Drink now-2017.”
From the getgo, this wine had a barnyard funk, which at the beginning was actually pleasant, if rustic. As it sat in the glass the barn intensified in a very horse manure direction until it overwhelmed. Just smelling it made me smile — and called to mind visions of sweaty horses packed into the stables.
“HEARTS OF ROMAINE.” garlic crouton – parmesan lemon dressing.
92-94 points, “13.1% ALC, 96% Cabernet, 4% Merlot, 1% Cab Franc – Again this was much like the 1975 and 1979 on the nose with the pungent, sweaty, locker room nose. I knew again that this was the same producer and close in age. This had some notes of sweet fruit on the nose like boysenberry with good viscosity and good balance. The tannins were seamless but the finish brief keeping this my #2 of the night.”
There was a bit of funk, but it was still a very pleasant wine.
“TUNA TARTARE. soy emulsion – avocado – taro chips.”
Parker 95, “When I think back to the top California Cabernet Sauvignon wineries twenty-two years ago (1973), it is shocking to see how many of the finest wineries in 1973 have fallen behind today’s leading Cabernet producers. For example, Beaulieu, Heitz, Inglenook, Mayacamas, and Freemark Abby were undisputed leaders in the early seventies, but in 1995, they have been surpassed by thirty or forty other producers. I can think of only three wineries that were making fabulous Cabernet Sauvignons in 1973 that have continued to produce great wines, with no qualitative slumps through 1995 – Caymus Vineyard, Ridge, and Chateau Montelena. Because Chateau Montelena is “old” by California standards, it is easy to overlook the extraordinary wines produced by Jim Barrett and his son, Bo. Remarkably, there is not a bad vintage of Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon to be found. While hitting the peaks in top years, this winery makes fine Cabernets in vintages where other producers flounder. A recent example of this is the 1989 Estate Cabernet, a superb wine that continues to languish on the shelves of retailers. For that reason, an invitation to a vertical tasting of Chateau Montelena’s estate Cabernet is one of the most exciting tickets in town.”
For a 20 year old Cab, this was very youthful!
“BEEF TARTAR. black truffle – sliced radish – soy caramel.”
Parker 93, “1999 Barolo Brunate/Le Coste—Medium red. As is usually the case, the Brunate/Le Coste takes things up a notch. It presents a deeply mentholated, balsamic nose along with layers of dark fruit, licorice and tar flavors that develop in the glass in a potent style that captures the essence of the vintage. The Brunate/Le Coste is the richer and bigger of the two Barolos here, yet it also shows more elegance in its finer tannins. Still reasonably priced, Rinaldi’s Brunate/Le Coste remains the best traditional Barolo most people have never tasted.”
“Shrimp cocktail.” Classic.
Fresh green tomatoes.
Just a bit of the chaos.
Probably around 90 points, a pleasant mature shiraz.
Probably a porterhouse or ribeye.
“Bone-in porterhouse.” Have a little beef!
From my cellar, Parker 95, “The great glories of this house are its Cote Roties, of which there are now five separate offerings. The single-vineyard 1994s were singing loudly when I saw them in July. All of them scored significantly higher than they did during the two previous years, which is not unusual as Guigal’s upbringing (elevage) of the wines results in better examples in the bottle than in cask. All three wines flirt with a perfect score. At this tasting, they reminded me of Guigal’s 1982s – opulent, sumptuously-textured, forward, rich, precocious, flattering wines that will drink well throughout their lives. The 1994 Cote Rotie La Mouline possesses extraordinary intensity. A dark ruby/purple color is followed by a penetrating nose of sweet black raspberry fruit intertwined with aromas of coconut and apricots. Jammy black fruits continue on the palate of this full-bodied, silky-textured, sumptuously-styled wine that is glorious to drink – even from barrel. It is an amazing La Mouline that offers all the elegance, suppleness, and sexiness this cru merits. It should drink well upon its release in 1998, and last for 15 more years. Guigal is one of the cellars where the wines always taste better after they are bottled than they do from cask, although as the scores in this segment indicate, some profound wines can be found in the 1994, 1995, and 1996 vintages Chez Guigal.”
Parker 96, “More European in style than some of its siblings, the 2008 exhibits good acidity, more noticeable tannin (but it is extremely young), and plenty of crushed rock, espresso roast and licorice characteristics intermixed with a volcanic minerality. Full-bodied, ripe and opulent, with a closed, formidable personality.”
This was a pretty fabulous, albeit young, Cab.
A different looking filet.
“Bone-in porterhouse.” Have a little beef!
Parker 98, “From a single 9-acre parcel, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon True Vineyard exhibits extraordinary aromas of acacia flowers and violets along with an irrefutable minerality, an abundance of blueberry and blackberry fruit, outstanding texture, full-bodied richness, great depth, and ripe tannin. This Cabernet will benefit from 4-6 years of cellaring, and should evolve for 40 years.”
Powerful and delicious!
“Bone-in filet with lobster and bordelaise.” Certainly a great steak, and bordelaise makes EVERYTHING better.
“Bone-in filet” naked.
“New York strip with salt.”
Parker 93+, “A hundred percent Cabernet Sauvignon (800 cases), this is still an outstanding wine, with classic graphite, creme de cassis, blueberry and floral notes all well-presented in the perfumed aromatics of this full-bodied, rich, concentrated wine. It has some noticeable tannins to be resolved and is not as seamless and flawless as the monumental 2007”
I thought this was better than a 93.
Just some of our sides!
“Sweet corn pudding.” We took to calling this stuff “corn porn” it was so good. We ordered 5 of them too!
Mushrooms and brussel sprouts.
Some stellar mac & cheese.
“Parmesan truffle fries.”
This is my own personal stem collection! I don’t like to be rushed. The more I do these wine diners the more I take things into my own hands, like:
1. Bringing my own stems (I didn’t need to here, but I often do).
2. Stealing stems off other tables or from behind the bar. Tonight I looted stems from half the tables in the room. 🙂
3. Opening my own bottles (I travel with several openers). In the bar, I asked for stems and then just opened a bottle and poured.
4. Pouring – of course!
Some very old Sauternes. This was very interesting stuff. A bit flawed perhaps, but entirely, totally, and extremely enjoyable. Like honey wine.
“Sticky bread pudding.” The sauce on this was to die for.
“Banana chocolate torte.”
“CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. warm baked cookie – vanilla ice cream.” Also pretty spectacular.
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! As a steakhouse, I find it much like Mastro’s but about 5% worse on average — although there are some different starters and sides, many of which are excellent. It’s also quite a bit cheaper than Mastro’s, and lets us skip the corkage, which is huge! We were out of here for $110 a person, including tax and tip, which is pretty amazing for such an enormous feast at a high end steakhouse.