Restaurant: Spear Steak & Seafood House
Location:800 W 6th St, Ste 100. Los Angeles, CA 90017. (213) 688-3000
Date: February 12, 2015
Rating: Surprisingly good
After the success of last month’s “Foodie Club instigated by Will” dinner, we wanted to do another one in February. We even selected and booked Chi Spacca, the Mozza Italian steakhouse, but at the very last minute (hours before) we tripped up on their “no more than 1 bottle per 2 people” policy. So I’m going to “dis” them here because these policies are obnoxious. They can charge corkage if they like (absolutely no more than $50 a bottle and flat per bottle), but bottle limits are offensive. We open and serve own bottles plus order and tip big too.
So screw them, their loss.
Or semiprivate room. We buttoned up the wall to cut down on the noise from the big room. The service was awesome. They weren’t really set up for our type of wine dinner but they really tried. They dug up 4-5 glasses each and dragged in a little wine table for us.
I went through the menu and ordered up a storm family style in 4-5 waves. We even ordered the main meats family style getting a variety (David handled that course). Walker and I (more Walker) divided the wines (we had at least 6-10 unopened ones too as backups/options) into loose flights too.
The staff did a great job bringing out the food in waves too.
Flight 1: Whites
From my cellar: 2007 Benanti Etna Bianco Superiore Pietramarina. IWC 90. Straw-gold. Spicy minerals and apricot on the nose, with herbal and almond nuances. Rich and ripe on entry, then fresher and lighter in the middle thanks to high but harmonious acids, with intense minty white fruit flavors. Finishes long, with a strong saline note and a fusel whiff.
Erick brought: 2007 Domaine Marc Morey & Fils Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts. 92 points. This lovely négoce wine from Marc Morey never fails. Very fine fruit with lime, peaces and a hand full of minerals.
Larry brought: 1999 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre. AG 94. Raveneau’s 1999 Chablis Montée de Tonnerre is in a marvelous spot right now. Petrol, smoke, slate, apricot pit and wild flowers are some of the many notes that grace the palate in an utterly vivid, vibrant Chablis endowed with magnificent purity and pedigree. At fifteen years of age, the 1999 Montée de Tonnerre still has a lot to say. What a beautiful wine!
agavin: sadly our bottle was a bit premoxed.
From my cellar: 2000 Etienne Sauzet Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. Burghound 93. Intense honeysuckle, fresh sliced peach and pear notes with flavors that are not quite as robust and powerful as the Combettes yet finer and more complex. This delivers exciting intensity and a degree of persistence that borders on the astonishing. The Combettes is perhaps grander but this is finer – it’s simply a question of preference, not quality.
Uni Toast. roasted seaweed, triple créme, truffle salt. This was pretty awesome with both the rich Santa Barbara uni flavor and a kind of creamy underpinning from the triple créme.
Hokkaido Scallops. yuzu pepper, smoked salt, ponzu sauce, olive oil. A nice bright dish that is cousin to the proper version that sushi chefs serve.
Yellowtail Ceviche. fresno chile, cucumber, coconut-lime sauce.
I’m not actually sure this was the above dish and not one of their other sashimi-style dishes. It was just okay, the weakest of the set.
Quinoa Kale Salad. red quinoa, grilled apricot, pistachio, aged goat cheese, honey-olive oil vinaigrette. Slightly sweet and mild.
Flight 2: Italian
Walker brought: 1944 Borgogne Barolo Reserva. 95 points. Amazing. 71 years old. Mussolini was still alive when this wine was made! We decanted for an hour. The nose was incredible, and it had a soft burgundian vibe with lots of fruit.
Emil/Will brought: 1978 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva Il Poggio. 92 points. Powerful and old-fashioned, rustic and polished at once. Complex nose of ancient fruit, tar and leather; real weight on the palate, very long and resonant finish. The nose got better and better. Tons of fruit.
Roasted Bone Marrow. smoked salt, veal jus. Bone marrow isn’t my thing, but this was a good version.
Snow Crab Beignets. bacon powder, old bay remoulade. The description is accurate, like a crab donut, awesome.
BBQ Pork Belly & Shrimp. crispy prosciutto, white bean puree, cilantro. The shrimp were tasty but the pork belly was amazing. Really tender and flavorful, not too fatty.
Flight 3: Old Bordeaux
Erick brought: 1970 Château Mouton Rothschild. IWC 94. Bright red with an amber rim. Captivating nose of dark plum, blackcurrant, oak, coffee, cocoa and flowers. Juicy, sweet and suave on entry, then brightly focused in its red fruit and black flavors complicated by cedar and citrus. Finishes with flinty, saline nuances and very suave tannins. This outstanding wine is perfectly balanced and light on its feet, still very young and capable of a very long life. It might disappoint those looking for a blockbuster, but I love its overall sense of refinement. An essence of claret.
agavin: our bottle was fabulous
Walker brought: 1982 Château Gruaud Larose. IWC 96. Bright red with a pale rim. The still-closed nose reluctantly releases aromas of red cherry, sweet spices, aromatic herbs and coffee. Dense, rich and fleshy, with ripe red cherry, tobacco and forest floor flavors given shape by harmonious acidity and smooth tannins. The very long, slightly chewy finish shows a peppery chocolatey persistence. This is developing at a snail’s space and might last another three or four decades in a cold cellar, but while its tannic structure is noble and impressive, I’d probably want to check in on it again in five years’ time to see how the fruit is holding up.
agavin: our bottle of this was fabulous too. Mature, but has decades left in it.
Roasted Pork Banh Mi Flatbread. pickled vegetables, jalapeño.
Whole Broiled Prawns. lobster butter, garlic. Pretty good big shrimp.
Seafood pasta. Shrimp, mussels, manilla clams, diver scallops, uni cream sauce. This was a bit controversial. The noodles were actually a ramen egg noodle. They were made very soggy by the rich dish. That being said, it tasted great and the seafood was very fresh. It also was deathly bad with the red wine, but that’s uni. Overall we enjoyed it.
Flight 4: 2000 Bordeaux
David brought: 2000 Pavie. Parker 97-100. I tasted this wine twice during the 2000 horizontals, then I actually popped the cork and drank a half-bottle of it. This wine remains, for me, one of the compelling success stories for proprietor Gerard Perse. An extraordinary effort made from a blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from the limestone soils that dominate this very distinctive terroir, the 2000 Pavie has moved out of the closed, dormant, broodingly backward stage into an adolescent period where one can see its extraordinary vibrancy, and great complexity as well as potential. It boasts an unctuous display of rich, cedar box-infused cassis fruit and liquid minerality. The tannins have sweetened, yet the wine has thirty years of longevity and potential evolution. A beautiful wine of great mass as well as elegance, it is good to see the extraordinary efforts that Gerard Perse and his team have made confirmed in this prodigious wine. A legend now … a legend for the future.
Will brought: 2000 La Mondotte. Parker 98+. In two tastings this garagiste wine performed as if it were one of the wines of the vintage. Proprietor Stefan von Neipperg continues to lavish abundant attention on La Mondotte (as he does with all his estates), and the 2000 (80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc) boasts an inky/blue/purple color in addition to gorgeous aromas of graphite, caramel, toast, blackberries, and creme de cassis. A floral component also emerges as the wine sits in the glass. Extremely dense, full-bodied, and built for another twenty years of cellaring, I thought it would be close to full maturity, but it appears to need another 4-5 years of bottle age. It should age effortlessly for 2-3 decades.
Tomahawk Pork Chop 22oz. double cut, vietnamese bbq. Really nice pork chop.
Short Rib Osso Bucco. 72 hour, roasted garlic potatoes, horseradish gremolata. Great rich meat.
Colorado Lamb Shank. 48 hour, chermoulah, heirloom carrots. A fabulous bit of lamb.
Flight 5: Sledgehammers
Emil brought: 2008 Oasi Degli Angeli Kurni. Parker 85. The 2008 Marche Rosso Kurni is quite unusual in this vintage. The wine comes across as rather compact in its fruit, which accentuates the sweetness of the fruit and the French oak. In a blind tasting the 2008 could easily be mistaken for a sweet red dessert wine. Let’s hope 2008 turns out be an anomaly for one of the Marche’s most famous reds.
David brought: 2010 Sine Qua Non Syrah Five Shooter. Parker 98+. The 2010 Syrah Five Shooter is straight up gorgeous. A massive wine that somehow holds everything together, it offers a wild array of cassis, blackberry, white chocolate, underbrush and pepper that flows to a full-bodied, layered Syrah that has masses of fine tannin and enough substance to evolve for decades. A blend of 85% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 3% Petite Sirah, 5% Roussanne and 2% Viognier that was fermented with 20% whole cluster and aged 22 months in 59% new French oak, it opens up beautifully in the glass and should be decanted if drinking anytime soon.
Above is the damage. Seven guys too, and think about the amount of food we had — particularly given we had two of many of the dishes! Spear was incredibly reasonable too. This feast came out to only $110 a person after tax and before tip! The service was awesome too. They weren’t really trained for our kind of dinner, but they really tried and handled it with great attitude and aplomb.
Food was surprisingly excellent. Only a couple of dishes weren’t great, like the fish sashimi. I loved the breath and variety of the menu. Execution was first rate. Personally I like this place way better than almost all of the steakhouses I’ve been too because it isn’t all about just a slab of beef on your plate.
Company and wines were fabulous, this is turning into a really first rate dinner series.