Location: 8022 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048. 323.951.9800
Date: January 14, 2015
Cuisine: Italian Steakhouse
Rating: Tasty good
Tonight’s dinner is themed around 1990s grand cru Burgundy, both colors. Why exactly we took this to an Italian Steakhouse is anyone’s guess, but that didn’t matter — we had a blast.
1998 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Les Clos Saint-Hilaire. AG 95. Le Clos Saint-Hilaire is a 100% Pinot Noir Champagne made from a small, one hectare plot located on the property in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. The wine is fermented in oak and bottled with no dosage. In only its third release, Le Clos Saint-Hilaire has already established itself as one of the region’s most fascinating wines. Anticipated maturity The 1998 Brut Le Clos Saint-Hilaire emerges from the glass with an exotic array of intensely perfumed, candied fruit. The wine possesses gorgeous textural richness in a deep, layered expression of Pinot Noir. The mousse remains refined and very elegant all the way through to the deeply satisfying, resonating finish.
The menu. We actually had the chef bring up appetizers, pasta, and dessert, with everyone ordering their entrees.
From my cellar: 1992 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne. Burghound 90. As would be expected from a relatively soft vintage at 18 years of age, this is fully mature with sous bois and truffle notes to the dried apple and rose petal nose. There is good richness but also lovely detail and minerality to the moderately concentrated finish that offer excellent depth and length. I would be drinking this sooner than later because even though it is in no danger of falling apart, it’s clearly time to be drinking up over the next decade.
agavin: doing great for 22+ year old chardonnay
1999 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne. Burghound 92. As de la Morinière suggests, this is a good deal more powerful than the 2000 version but it is not quite as bright or quite as focused. That said, this is a very impressive effort with big, almost massive aromas of earth, ripe green fruits such as apples and pears leading to equally big, powerful flavors that offer great mouthfeel, all of which is underpinned by plenty of minerality and more than adequate buffering acidity. This is extremely long already but this should continue to improve for 7 to 10 years and hold for much longer than that.
agavin: rounder and actually “older” tasting than the 92, but drinking great.
1997 Domaine Marius Delarche Corton-Charlemagne Reserve. 90 points. Really singing and massive.
1969 Louis Jadot Corton-Pougets Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. 92 points. Mature Burgundy nose, forrest floor, mushrooms, damp earth. Fresh palate of dark fruits, great minerality, iron with nice acidity. Became sweeter after an hour and kept going. Great bottle.
Meatballs. On a bed of ricotta. Awesome. These were similar to the similarly awesome ones at Gusto.
Steak tartar. Good meat, but didn’t have enough bite for me. Needed more pepper? It had some truffle oil in it.
Crab Crocchetti. Dungeness Crab Cake, scallion pesto.
1996 Louis Jadot Clos Vougeot. IWC 92+. Deep, bright red-ruby. Complex, wild aromas of raw crushed blueberry, violet, raw meat and iron. Intense, primal flavors of crunchy berries and powdered stone. Integrated acidity gives the fruit an urgent quality. Quite powerfully structured for aging. Very long and bright on the back end, with tannins nicely supported by extract.
As a note, we did two flights of 3 reds each more or less blind.
1998 Domaine Robert Jayer-Gilles Nuits St. Georges Les Hauts Poirets. IWC 89. Bright ruby-red. Fresh aromas of violet and nuts. Rich, sweet and silky, but also vibrant and shapely. Finishes with sweet tannins and very good length.
1990 Burguet Gilles Gevrey-Chambertin.
agavin: great for old village wine.
Squid Ink Agnolotti. Awesome stuff with a nice sweetness.
Buccatini alla Carbonara. Guanciale, onion, black pepper, egg yolk & pecorino.
Buccatini All’Amatriciana. Like a red suace pasta with more flavor.
1995 Domaine Robert Groffier Bonnes Mares. IWC 93. Black raspberry, violet and herbs on the nose. Thick, brooding and very intensely flavored; has a mellow flavor of woodsmoke. Large-scaled and multilayered. Finishes with ripe, chewy tannins. A terrific example of the ’95 vintage at its best.
1993 Daniel Bocquenet Echezeaux. Burghound 88. Very elegant, spicy rich fruit framed robust, intense but edgy flavors that are a bit lean on the moderately long finish. It’s not clear whether this will regain its balance or not with a few years of bottle age but there is no doubting the lovely complexity and solid flavor authority.
agavin: whatever meadows says, our bottle was filled with great wine. Lots of power and elegance.
1995 Louis Latour Corton-Clos de la Vigne au Saint.
agavin: a nice wine but not in the league of its immediate predecessors.
Veal Chop Alla Parmigiana. Wow, I’m not a big straight steak fan so this really saved the course for me.
Crispy Tuscan Fries. Not sure what is Tuscan here.
Caramelized Romanesco. With a bit of heat and a little vinegary tang, very nice.
Vanilla ice cream, because you can never have too much of that.
The chef brought us out something he was working on.
Grilled bread, prosciutto, foie gras, and uni. Wow, you wouldn’t think all that would work together, but it so does.
Overall, Pistola was really solid. We all thought some of the apps and the pastas were a bit better than the meats and sides (although I enjoyed my chop), but it was a very tasty meal. They treated us like kings too. Our waitress really put up with a lot of wine guy “hassle” and did a good job managing the flights.
Room is very pretty but a little loud with a bar feel (some love that, some don’t). If I were them, my biggest suggestion foodwise would just be to add some more decadent sides like a “gorgonzola gnocchi” and the like. Not really Italian, but then again, I’ve never actually seen a steakhouse in Italy. Not that Italians, particularly Tuscans don’t love steak, but the steakhouse format is an American thing — which is fine.
But this was overall a fabulous evening for a number of reasons. We had eight people all at a round table, which while cramped is great for conversation, and a great mix of guys. Plus we had a nice Burgundy focused theme.
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