Location: You wish you knew!
Date: March 1, 2013
Rating: Best meal in months!
Back before its unfortunate incident and closure, The Hump was one of my favorite restaurants. I went every week or two for years. So it was with great pleasure that I discovered its chef, Kiyoshiro Yamamoto has recently opened a new venture. This is a tiny 10 seat sushi bar that follows the semi-secret invitation only style of another of my LA Japanese favorites: Totoraku (going again next week, yay!).
There is no official frontage and just a tiny little room and a 10 seat sushi bar. Yama-san does all the cooking himself with just one wait-person. There is no corkage, which is awesome!
We started with this champagne brought by white and bubbly maestro Ron. The NV Brut Rose is a pretty, gracious wine. Freshly cut roses, red berries and spices take shape nicely in the glass as the wine shows off its understated, timeless personality. Billecart-Salmon’s NV Brut Rose is a reliably tasty wine.
Jamón Ibérico with Caviar. I’ve had a close cousin of this dish several times at various Jose Andres restaurants. This was nice thick cuts of the ham in Spanish style. Yum.
Baby eels (you can see the eyeballs) in a creamy (probably mayo wasabi with flying fish roe) sauce. The green thing is baby peach. These little fellows, besides being tasty, are in season right now.
Burghound 93-95, “It seemed relatively supple and forward, indeed more or less ready to drink. To be sure, there was no obvious secondary nuances in evidence and still good freshness to the rich, intense and vibrant flavors brimming with minerality on the impressively long finish. Impeccably stored bottles might need another few years to arrive at their peak but absent this bottle being an aberration, I don’t think that opening one today would be infanticide.”
In the front, Hokkaido uni with black truffle and some kind of white stuff, which I think is Kusshi oyster or soft-boiled quail egg. It was damn good.
And in the back, arguably better, is “kanimiso” (crab guts) the oyster/egg and truffle. This had a long briney finish. Really long. It paired best with the Champagne.
H Boillot Batard Montrachet
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, July/Aug 2006:
and spices. Then wonderfully flavorful and gripping in the mouth, with a sweet orange marmalade flavor framed by lively acidity. At once superripe and precise, and fresh and very long on the aftertaste. This was picked at the beginning of the harvest, with potential alcohol of 13.8%. Boasts superb intensity and density of material. 92-95
Allen Meadows, Burghound Database, April 16, 2011: An intensely floral and still exceptionally fresh nose is nuanced with hints of spice and citrus where the latter can also be found on the textured and borderline massive flavors that display absolutely no sense of heaviness on the exceptionally rich finish that drenches and stains the palate. This is a big wine yet there is a firm acid backbone that keeps everything in ideal balance and overall, it’s an extremely impressive effort. While the abundant dry extract enables this, like many ’05s, to drink
with pleasure now, in magnum format I personally would allow for at least another 4 to 5 years of bottle age. 95
Giant clam, sesame, in the same sauce as the eels. There was probably some citrus in here too and it was very tasty with a nice texture.
More spoons. There is quail egg and some blue crab in sauce on the left, and Santa Barbara uni, oyster, and quail egg on the right. Also awesome, particularly the crab.
Homemade tofu infused with kanimiso and topped with salmon roe. Brine on brine and very good.
Yama-san torches the next course.
Belt fish, charred with sauce.
A pair of Robert Ampeau Volnay-Santenots, 1990 and 1978. Ampeau is a rare producer who releases his wines years after the fact, only when they are ready. This 1990 was released only last year!
1990: Perfect ruby color with a nose of spicy cherries and sweet earth. Quite full and rich for an Ampeau and made in a reductive style that makes for a mouth-puckering style with a flavor of sour cherries. There is depth to the wine and the finish is complex with great spice notes. Drinking very, very young.
1978: While this was clearly the same terroir, the 1978 blew away the youngish and middle-aged 1990. This had that more even more mouth-puckering thing going on that is one of the great parts of mature Burgundy. Lots of complexity.
The best spoon yet, toro, wasabi, quail egg, and crab. Totally awesome.
Hairy crab from Hokkaido, steamed straight up. Delicious all by itself.
Chawanmushi, a egg custard. This one was very hot (it usually is) and included 7 kinds of seafood. Various crab, fish, lobster, uni. It was delicious, rich, and very unami.
King crab legs cooked in the sous vide, with caviar, and truffle butter. A really nice subtle combo!
Parker 94, “The 2001 Barolo Falletto impresses for its layered, silky personality. Sweet roses, tar, licorice and menthol are all woven together in this deceptively medium-bodied Barolo. There is plenty of muscle to back things up. Today the Falletto is quite a bit more delicate than it has been in the past.”
Ron had opened this wine 30 hours before — and that was to our advantage because it was just coming into its own.
Frozen (nitro?) toro with crab, egg, and brioche. Very interesting, and the toro was completely different at this temperature.
A bit of Japanese beef. No fat here.
The chef salts the steaks with his 10 million year-old Tibetan rock salt.
The were sautéed up with mushrooms, ponzu, and Maui onions. Delicious. Rich. Tender.
This older village wine, the 1986 Drouhin Aloxe-Corton, was drinking fabulously. Quite youthful even, but in that mature stage of extended finish.
Don’t piss off the chef with the big knife!
A fantastic simple piece of tuna (Maguro).
An even better piece of toro with a bit of uni on top.
Then a toro, uni, shiso handroll — delicious. The chef sure loves his uni, and clearly, so does Erick (the tongue).
And his crab guts. This vinegary rice with crab guts and wasabi was really quite excellent. Don’t be scared.
2002 Gerhard Hattenheimer Schützenhaus Riesling Eiswein. An unctuous syrupy dessert wine, really fabulous.
A bit of sorbet. I was so drunk by this point that I don’t even remember the flavor.
This was one of my best meals in a long time — really quite excellent — and regular readers know I have more than my share of great meals. We had fantastic wines, stunning and innovative food, and a really great format. The restaurant is only 10 seats all at the sushi bar and so we chatted and shared wines with our neighbors — and the chef. This made for a really fun time (until the hangover set in at about 5am).
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