Location: 50 N La Cienega Blvd #130, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. (310) 855-1234
Date: November 22, 2019
Cuisine: Cantonese Chinese
Rating: Good for this far west
Finding great Chinese west of the SGV has long been a problem, but the “great wall” between east and west has been cracking with lots and lots of new openings closer to (my) home. Today I visit with the Sauvages Friday lunch group for another one of our epic lunches — guaranteed to finish off your week in style — and a nap. This lunch was coordinated by Tony Lau and John Gordon.
Capital is the latest SGV place to move west, occupying the Newport Seafood Beverly Hills location that failed to work out. Not that I love even the original Newport, but Capital is fairly straight up banquet / dimsum Cantonese.
The space looks pretty Chinese, even in Beverly Hills.
Coves. Gotta have the coves!
Our special menu for today.
We were in the private room.
Some intro champ.
Peanuts on the table.
And addictive candied walnuts.
Plus XO sauce — fermented spicy umami.
From my cellar: 2007 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 96. Taittinger’s 2007 Comtes de Champagne will be nearly impossible to resist upon release. Soaring aromatics, mid-weight structure and soft contours give the 2007 its alluring personality. Lemon oil, white flowers, mint, chamomile and green pear add brightness and freshness throughout, with a persistent, clean finish that makes it impossible to resist a second taste. Today, the 2007 comes across as a slightly more open version of the 2004, with freshness that makes that wine so appealing, and a touch of textural richness that recalls the 2002. Although the 2007 does not have the explosive energy or verticality of the profound 2006, it will drink better earlier. The 2007 has been positively brilliant on the three occasions I have tasted it so far.
2007 Ruinart Champagne Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. VM 97+. The 2007 Dom Ruinart is the first vintage made entirely by Chef de Caves Frédéric Panaïotis, which shows just how long the production cycle is in Champagne. A striking, tightly-coiled wine, the 2007 Dom Ruinart will leave readers week at the knees. In this vintage, Panaïotis took Dom Ruinart, which has traditionally relied on a relatively high percentage of Chardonnay from the Montagne de Reims and tilted the balance to 75% Côtes des Blancs and 25% Montagne de Reims fruit. As a result, the 2007 is much more chiseled and steely than is the norm. The citrus, slate, crushed rock, white pepper, mint and floral notes really sizzle in this powerful, dramatically rich Champagne, with bright saline notes that add freshness and vivacity to the striking finish. The 2007 is a stunning Champagne by any measure. Although it is very early, the 2007 has the potential to go down as one of the great Dom Ruinarts. It is every bit that special. Dosage is under 5 grams per liter, a pretty striking change from the 2006, which was closer to 10. Readers who can grab the 2007 won’t want to miss it.
Bonus goose web and bok choy. Whole steamed and sauced goose foot!
2008 Dom Pérignon Champagne. VM 98. The 2008 Dom Pérignon is once again stunning. More than anything else, I am surprised by how well the 2008 drinks given all the tension and energy it holds. Then again, that is precisely what makes 2008 such a unique vintage – namely that the best wines are so chiseled and yet not at all austere. Lemon peel, almond, mint, smoke and crushed rocks are all finely sculpted, but it is the wine’s textural feel, drive and persistence that elevate it into the realm of the sublime. The 2008 will be even better with time in the cellar, but it is absolutely phenomenal even today, in the early going. Three recent bottles have all been nothing short of magnificent.
2004 Philipponnat Champagne Brut Clos des Goisses. VM 96. Broad, ample and pure, the 2004 Clos des Goisses seems to be going through a closed period. The wine’s texture an tension are evident, but all of the wine’s energy is focused inward. The 2004 is without question a brilliant, striking Champagne, but it needs time in bottle. Disgorged December 2013.
Bonus seafood stuffed spring rolls.
2011 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile. VM 92+. Pale straw-green. Minty green apple, jasmine and minerals on the enticing nose. Bright flavors of green apple and ripe citrus fruits are joined by stone fruits and minerals on the long finish. Has enough acidity to maintain clarity and cut. According to Pierre Trimbach, this is on a par with other great recent vintages for this bottling.
2015 Weingut Schnaitmann Uhlbacher Götzenberg Riesling Großes Gewächs. 92 points. Apple, peach, pear, lemon zest with a hint of petrol. Long dry finish. Well balanced. This is an excellent German Riesling.
2014 Schoffit Riesling Rangen de Thann Clos St.-Théobald. VM 92. Bright golden yellow. Musky, chalky aromas of ripe peach, flint, orange oil and lychee. Then more crushed rocks and orange oil nuances than peachy fruit on the dense palate. Finishes lively with well-integrated acidity and noteworthy length. Leaves a lingering impression of steeliness, heightened by the only 7g/L residual sugar and razor-sharp 8.1 g/L total acidity; but strikes me as rounder and more tactile than the Sommerberg, most likely thanks to higher pH (3.4 compared to the Sommerberg’s 3.1). At only 12.1 percent alcohol, this is very easy to drink already.
Stir fried conch with XO sauce. Tony loves conch. It did have a nice crunchy/chewy quality.
Steamed lobster with Fresh Garlic. Classic simple steamed lobster with garlic.
Alzinger Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Loibenberg (didn’t catch the vintage in my photo).
From my cellar: 2012 Weingut Knoll Grüner Veltliner Reserve Loibenberg. 93 points. Rich bouquet combines candied pineapple, dried apricot, flinty minerals and white pepper. The fleshy, unctuous palate is marked by acacia honey, herbs and smoke plus a touch of botrytis. Complex and certainly voluptuous at 14.5% alcohol, this Grüner Veltliner combines a supple sweetness –which is why it is labeled as a Reserve and not a Smaragd–and a salty tang on the finish. Excellent potential.
2013 Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner 1ÖTW Reserve Ried Renner. VM 95. From Renner’s geologically complex Urgestein mix characteristically emerges a Grüner Veltliner of comparable complexity that’s indescribable without resorting to mineral vocabulary, and that is certainly true of this 2013. But there is so much more going on that it nearly makes me dizzy. A heady nose of lilac and iris, radish and raw ginger, along with hints of citrus and roasted root vegetables, sets the tone for what follows, an explosively concentrated interaction of grippingly piquant, pungent, incisive and brightly juicy elements. Apple and lime, caramelized parsnip and golden beet are mingled with smoky nut oils and laced with ginger, radish, iris root and white pepper. The reverberating finish adds to a kaleidoscopic whirl of the aforementioned elements an otherwise ineffable ore-like depth and saliva-inducing salinity. I was holding my breath that what I first tasted would be captured in bottle with complete success, and that’s happened.
Filet of cod, Virginia Ham with Chinese vegetables. This is an unusual dish, but in looks and ingredients. Having the cod, mushrooms, vegetables, and Smithfield ham is really… interesting. The ham dominates with its strong salty flavor.
Lettuce cup with shrimp, Chinese sausage, jicama and pine nuts. Very tasty for this common dish. Nice presentation.
2001 J. Rochioli Pinot Noir East Block. BH 89. Quite deep and ripe on the nose with a distinct vegetal component and in contrast to some wines in this flight, this is very clean and pure. The palate reveals round, supple and sweet flavors that are relatively forward and deftly oaked, indeed the wood is almost invisible. There is good density and a succulent sweetness to the finish where the structure is buffered by good sap. I quite liked this.
2007 Bergström Pinot Noir Durant Vineyard. VM 90. Deep red. An exotically perfumed bouquet offers scents of red berries, cinnamon, clove and smoky minerals. Lithe, finely etched red berry flavors gain depth and power with air, taking a turn to bitter cherry. The spicy element expands on the taut, nervy finish. Pretty sexy now, but has the vibrancy and balance to reward patience.
2005 Radio-Coteau Pinot Noir La Neblina. VM 90. Medium red. Bright, spicy aromas of cherry and minerals, with a deeper note of cherry pit. Picks up a cocoa powder note on the palate and repeats the fresh cherry note. The spice notes return on the sweet, persistent finish, which features a dusting of fine tannins. This gained in brightness with air, suggesting that it will hold well in a cool cellar.
Crispy whole suckling pig. Excellent pig, nice crispy skin.
Kistler Pinot Noir Cuvée Catherine (can’t read vintage again).
2009 Marcassin Pinot Noir Blue-Slide Ridge Vineyard. 94 points. Great nose. Lots of wild black cherry there. But there is a bit of alcohol. Palate similar. A “big” Pinot. Loads of fruit. But again, some heat on the finish diminishes this for me.
Stir fried filet mignon with macadamia nuts. I’m not really a huge fan of these “French style” beef dishes, but this was unique with the macadamia nuts — and quite delicious.
2007 Domaine de la Mordorée Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de la Reine des Bois. VM 93-96. Inky ruby. The nose offers a highly complex, wild array of dark berry and floral scents, along with anise, herbs and smoky minerals. Utterly stains the palate with deep black and blue fruit flavors complemented by strong notes of lavender pastille and tobacco. Tannins come up with air but the fruit seems to suck them up. Finishes with a strong wallop of luscious blueberry and mocha and outstanding persistence. This looks to be one of the best wines of this superb vintage.
2000 Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve. 96 points.
2000 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VM 91+. Very good deep red-ruby. Roasted plum and black fruit aromas, with notes of violet, dark chocolate, smoke and game. Fat, lush and superripe; shows more of a roasted character than the 2001, but also boasts solid acidity. A huge, full-blown wine with exotic notes of roasted herbs. Finishes with big, dusty tannins and excellent length.
Salt and pepper stuffed eggplant. Nice and garlicky!
Capital house stir fried special. This was a unique “crispy” stir fried veggie dish. Very interesting texture.
Braised abalone mushroom with snow pea sprouts. This classic vegetable dish is covered in the meaty abalone mushrooms.
Crispy pan fried egg noodles with chicken. I always love variants of this dish with its mix of saucy and crispy.
1994 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rangen de Thann Clos St. Urbain Vendange Tardive. 98 points. Absolutely glorious. A monumental bottle. Deep amber color. The nose is a kaleidoscope of goodness: honey, caramel, apricot. Viscous, layered, long. Perfect acidity on the back end. Truly exceptional.
Macau egg tarts.
Strawberries and Cream Gelato — A dairy strawberry base with Avignon Strawberries plus Strawberry Jam Ripples and Strawberry Wafer Cookies — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato –#SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #strawberry #cream #jam #wafer #cookies
House favorite and my son’s birthday pick: Triple Chocolate Cloud – As usual the base is made with Valrhona 62% Satilla Chocolate and then layered with Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Ganache and the rotating ingredient is crushed Oreos — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #Valrhona #chocolate #creamcheese #ganache #icing #Oreos
Strange bonus: 2014 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon. 91 points. Solid napa cab without being exciting in anyway. On the nose a nice bouquet of pencil shavings, a hint of earth of red fruits. Sinewy chewy mouthfeel, with Cassis, deeper red fruits in the entry, shortish finish dominated with oak tannins was a bit of a disappointment. Overall, it felt like there was decent material here but a general feel of safety first wine making is a bit of a let down.
Overall, Capital Seafood is quite solid SGV-style Cantonese banquet (as well as dimsum). I’d say that the food quality is about on par with middle of the road SGV Cantonese. Price is higher, but still not bad. Tony and John worked with the manager, King to create this very interesting menu and we had a variety of nice wines. Service is excellent, particularly with a special party like this. We did all the wine service, and there wasn’t really enough space for more than 3 glasses (too few) but they did this interesting hybrid food service where they brought out the large dishes, then individually plated about 2/3 of the dish and served it to each person, but leaving enough for repeats for us gluttons. This worked out quite well and was less chaotic and much neater than the lazy-susan craziness across so many wine glasses.
As always, Sauvages is great fun.