Restaurant: Water Grill Santa Monica [1, 2]
Location: 1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 394-5669
Date: April 27, 2016
Cuisine: American Seafood
Rating: Solid coastal seafooder
Tonight’s outing to Water Grill Santa Monica is with a friend’s wine group. Some of the regulars I’ve known for some time and a bunch of the others I can’t believe I haven’t “met” as we clearly have been at the same events together.
The primary wine theme is 2005 Red Burgundy. A little young, but beginning to come around.
The ocean sunset throws some awesome color on the facade.
1990 Henri Goutorbe Champagne Collection René.
2010 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir. Burghound 95. There is a lovely mineral reduction to the pure aromas of citrus, ripe orchard fruit, dried rose petal and sea breeze that marry into full-bodied and overtly muscular flavors that possess seemingly endless reserves of acid-buffering extract on the mouth coating, long and almost painfully intense finish. This bone dry effort will require plenty of cellar time but it will be more than worth the wait as it’s a knockout.
2004 Hospices de Beaune Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières Cuvée Baudot Louis Jadot. Good stuff, very “round” and tres meursault.
The King Iced Shellfish Tower. Love me some raw sea creatures.
Downstairs are oysters, clams, shrimps (with and without heads), mussels, and snails.
Upstairs is uni, lobster, crab, and Peruvian bay scallops with salsa.
From my cellar: 2005 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles. Burghound 93. A very discreet touch of brioche highlights the much more reserved honeysuckle, anise, honeysuckle and apricot aromas that are elegant, pure and wonderfully refined and dissolve into sweet, intense and unusually precise flavors that also reflect more minerality than I typically find in this wine as well, culminating in superb punch and energy. A terrific vintage for Pucelles and one to consider closely.
agavin: sadly our bottle was (mildly) corked 🙁
2013 Francois Carillon Chevalier-Montrachet. Burghound 91-94. A beautifully expressive nose of notably ripe yellow fruit, acacia blossom, spiced pear and hints of lemon are trimmed in enough wood to notice. The detailed, concentrated, layered and intense middle weight plus flavors are unusually powerful before culminating in a stony, persistent and palate staining finish. This is dense to the point of being luscious and while this is certainly a lovely effort, I wouldn’t call it typical in the context of a classic Chevalier.
agavin: crazy young but still fabulous, particularly at the end of the evening once it got some air. Super long finish.
Crudo Sampler. Wild tahitian bigeye tuna, wild eastern sea scallops, farmed faroe islands atlantic salmon.
Farmed Manila clams with Chorizo. Steamed in saffron broth with crispy french baquette.
Jump lump blue crab cake. celery root remoulade.
From my cellar: 2005 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuées. Burghound 94. Here the aromas are slightly riper than those of the villages with a positively sublime elegant dark berry fruit and violet-infused nose that complements the seductive yet notably powerful plum and mineral-inflected medium full flavors that are firmly structured yet velvety with excellent depth of material on the driving, complex and stunningly long finish. The mid-palate sap completely buffers the dusty tannins and this should be capable of at least a decade of improvement but it’s a 25 year wine, perhaps longer. This delivers grand cru quality and should absolutely be on your shopping list.
agavin: lots of promise, but needs more time.
2005 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru. Burghound 93. A strikingly complex nose offers up notes of dried rose petal, exotic spices, tea, earth and very ripe red pinot fruit that merges into rich, full and wonderfully precise medium full-bodied flavors that possess impeccable balance and length that goes on and on. A smaller version of the Musigny and built to age almost as well.
agavin: forward enough to be really yummy, but pretty young
Fritto misto. mixed fried seafood with smokey marinara and tzatziki.
Seafood fritters. crab, shrimp and atlantic cod, with romesco sauce and pickled peppers.
2005 Domaine Xavier Liger-Belair Clos Vougeot. 94 points. Drinking great, with lots of umph. Big wine too.
2005 Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos Vougeot. Burghound 92. Moderate wood spice and a pretty if serious mix of red berry, black pinot and plenty of earth influence can be found on the round, rich and very suave full-bodied flavors that possess ample volume and excellent underlying material though the finish is perhaps not quite as precise and delineated as the very best in the range. Still, this offers plenty of character and superb length plus it’s less youthfully austere than most examples at this very early stage.
agavin: this is a very new world producer. Wine was pleasant, but a little short.
WILD ALASKAN RED KING CRAB LEGS. steamed with our homemade coleslaw and drawn butter.
LIVE WILD NORTH AMERICAN HARD SHELL LOBSTER. steamed with our homemade coleslaw and drawn butter.
2005 Domaine Drouhin-Laroze Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Burghound 93-95. A pungent mix of wood spice, earth, red berry fruit, game, smoke and natural spice highlights the moderately sauvage character of the rich, full, refined and pure flavors underpinned by ripe and very firm tannins that culminate in an austere and very backward finish. This will require lots of cellar time to be at its best and like the Clos de Vougeot, this will be a long-distance runner.
2005 Camille Giroud Chambertin. Burghound 93-96. There are actually several different cuvées of this wine and at the time of my tasting, Croix had not decided what he was going to use for the final blend. The best of them featured a reserved and very backward, indeed almost brooding nose of ripe and distinctly earth red pinot fruit plus a touch of animale that merges seamlessly into textured, powerful and pure big-bodied flavors that despite the size, richness and raw muscle are harmonious and perfectly balanced. A monument in the making but I reemphasize that this review may or may not reflect the final blend.
PRIME DRY AGED SPLIT-BONE “COWBOY” RIBEYE 20 oz.
PRIME NATURAL “NEVER EVER” NEW YORK STRIP STEAK 16 oz.
FILET MIGNON “double r ranch” 12 oz.
Yukon gold mashed potatoes.
Overall, a super fun evening. The wines were a bit young but fun — plus I never mind a surplus of Burgundy. Food was tasty and fresh. The restaurant did a good job by us, even if they didn’t totally get our “wine guy” thing (they never do). Seafood and apps more exciting than mains. The company was awesome though, and that’s what really matters!