Restaurant: The Rogue Experience
Location: 8687 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069. (800) 275-8273
Date: April 4, 2018
Cuisine: Modern International
Rating: Awesome food and experience
Wolfgang Puck, consulate LA chef and restauranteur opened a kinda of crazy experimental kitchen lab to the public last year. Basically they have new chefs every week and work on highly technical high end experimental dishes — and fold it all together into a nice “experience.”
It’s located INSIDE the Pacific Design Center — that cold blue/purple whale of a building on Melrose. After hours, it’s not the easiest to find buried upstairs.
The experience begins in this library filled with culinary and cocktail books.
The mixologist whips up a highly technical cocktail, all the while chatting with us about the nature of the place.
He made sort of adult (alcoholic) fruit leather, centrifuged fruit pulp, and purified high proof basil gin.
Fruity super strong gin drink. Delicious and potent drink using 110 proof gin! I can’t remember exactly which fruits were in here.
Next some chefs arrive and they serve a couple of snacks while we mingle. Rogue only seats about 8 people!
Passion fruit, chervil, salmon roe. The spikey stuff is the pulp, which was delicious. This was not very sweet, and while the pairing of roe and passionfruit worked, it was pretty intensely sour and I like a little more sugar with my passionfruit.
Anchovy, salsa verde, huazontle. Very bright green taste and marinated anchovy — delicious!
These easily breakable crisps were used to scoop up the succulent uni.
Now we move on to other areas of the compound, including this hallway littered with cooking gear.
This prep kitchen with a lot of facilities.
And tons of fancy technical food toys.
Like a rotary dehydrator! This allowed the mixologist to distill the basil infused gin (at negative atmospheric pressure) and condense it into a super strong clear gin that retains the basil element.
We finally settle in the Rogue “dining room” where the chefs plate behind the counter.
From my cellar: 1996 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne. VM 97. Taittinger’s 1996 Comtes de Champagne is another highlight. The flavors are only now beginning to show elements of complexity, a great sign for aging. Gently spiced and buttery notes suggest the 1996 is about to enter the early part of its maturity, where it is likely to stay for another decade or so.
Prawn, strawberry, fennel. Gorgeous presentation and unusual flavor pairing. Worked though!
I wonder if they swapped the “ramen” (on the menu) out for rice. Anyway, it was delicious.
Artichoke, parmesan, lamb. The cheese was turned into a gooey “cream.”
The lamb is dusted on top. Gorgeous again. Tasted amazing too, particularly because of the soft cheese.
Larry brought: 1982 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne. BH 90. Moderately golden. This wine always seems to age better than what tasting it young would suggest and 1982 is yet another vintage where it has lasted extremely well as the airy and fully mature nose is still vibrant and if not bright then certainly complex and there are now hints of sous bois and truffle in the mix. The nicely enveloping flavors are also punchy and offer good muscle if less complexity and depth than I would have expected. In sum, a fine example at 25+ years of age if not a truly great one. Tasted on multiple occasions with largely consistent notes.
Char, cucumber, skyr. Skyr is a kind of Icelandic yogurt. Super soft and almost sushi-like bit of fish. Quite lovely.
2004 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. JG 97. The new release of 2004 Krug is absolutely beautiful and is already quite elegant and open on both the nose and palate and is drinking with great finesse. I had expected this wine to be a bit more steely in structure out of the blocks, but the refinement of the blend this year has produced a wine that is already a joy to drink at age thirteen, though it will continue age gracefully for many, many decades to come. The cépages in 2004 is thirty-nine percent chardonnay, thirty-seven percent pinot noir and twenty-four percent pinot meunier, with the wine having been disgorged in the winter of 2016. The bouquet jumps from the glass in a refined mix of apple, a touch of walnut, warm bread, lavender, a superb base of soil tones and a topnote of smokiness. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and utterly seamless, with vibrant acids, great focus and grip, a lovely core, refined mousse and a very long, complex, racy and energetic finish. There is marvelous precision here on both the nose and palate, not to mention a sense of harmony and grace that is fairly rare in the 2004 vintage. Chapeau!
Cilantro, prickly pear, chayote. Looks like an avocado, but it wasn’t. What it was was delicious. Really bright Mexican flavors!
Chick Pea, Tomatillo, Cotija. Another really nice dish, particularly for vegetables.
1996 Vouvray Moelleux Réserve. 92 points.
Foie, almond, jasmine. Exotic pairings but amazing.
1995 Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Ducs. VM 92. Harvested 26th September to 1st of October. A complex, savory nose. A bigger, masculine vintage, although the famed 1995 tannins have melted completely away. Good fruit, good balance. Drinking well now and should hold for years. A very pleasant surprise.
Mole, Bao, Pollo. Different “Mexican” bao — pretty awesome.
Beef Cheek, semolina, leeks. Soft of like a lightly Mexican short ribs and polenta, but light and way better. Great texture too.
Raspberry, ginger. Bright and amazing.
Olive oil, grapefruit, campari, pistachio, fennel. Amazing dessert. Loved the unusual combos.
Caramel, chocolate, sesame, pineapple, rosemary. More odd combos that totally worked. I made the rosemary pineapple thing into my own sorbetto a few weeks later.
Special red chocolate and other snacks.
We went back to the “bar” area for after dinner drinks. Interesting stuff. I have to get some of the right hand (herbal) thing for gelato use.
Overall Rogue really was fabulous. The service and overall experience was great. Very intimate and interesting. And the food was amazing and very experimental in a good way. On this particular visit we had a lot of Mexican influences reminding me somewhat of Hoja Santa. And overall, the food felt very modernist Spanish, or maybe that’s just because it was modernist. But it was supremely well executed. And since everything changes every week, we will have to go back soon.
For more LA dining reviews click here.