Restaurant: BOA Steakhouse
Location: 9200 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069. (310) 278-2050
Date: December 13, 2019
Rating: Pretty good food, mediocre service
Continuing my December run of Steakhouse dinners is a huge Harlan vertical.
This was originally intended to happen at Arthur J Steakhouse in Manhattan beach, but was redirected to BOA Sunset. Now BOA has decent food, but it’s run by Innovative Dining, which has a style-over-substance approach and medium service. On the plus side they do waive corkage, but this has some costs (more on that later) and they are huge, mobbed, and not super attentive.
We had a nice outside table, but it wasn’t a private room and was quite loud.
In order to better organize the food/wine progression I formed a 6 course “plan” with Yarom and Larry. This consisted of seafood/salad, red apps, steak 1, steak 2, steak 3, desserts.
Course 0: Aperitifs
From my cellar: 2007 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Rosé Brut. VM 97. The 2007 Comtes de Champagne Rosé is a total knock-out. Racy and exuberant in the glass, the 2007 wraps around the palate with stunning textural depth and resonance. The 15% still Pinot adds structure and persistence to a creamy, inviting Rosé Champagne that will leave readers weak at the knees. Hints of rose petal, dried cherry, cinnamon and dried flowers meld into the sublime finish. This is about as good as it gets. Wow! (Drink between 2018-2038)
Passable bread, but nowhere near as good as The Royce, Mastros, or many other steakhouses.
Course 1: Seafood / Champ
2002 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 97. Taittinger’s 2002 Comtes de Champagne is a great way to kick things off. Rich, radiant and lush, with all of the exotic ripeness of the year in evidence, the 2002 Comtes delivers the goods. This bottle is perhaps a bit more forward than others have been, but it is nevertheless very fine. (Drink between 2017-2037)
COLOSSAL BLUE CRAB COCKTAIL. Nice chunks of crab meat.
Course 2: Salads / Whites
2012 Vincent Dauvissat (René & Vincent) Chablis 1er Cru Séchet. VM 92+. Stony aromas of white pepper, biscuit and white truffle. Dense and energetic, with a distinctly savory saline quality leavening the intense lemon and mineral flavors. Finishes stony and very long, with terrific energy and grip. Very youthful in the early going.
From my cellar: 1996 Robert Ampeau & Fils Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. 94 points. Golden yellow, big, reductive so we decanted it for an hour, more accessible & opened up to reveal a rich, relatively full bodied wine, not at its peak.
BLT WEDGE. applewood smoked bacon, crisp iceberg, tomato, avocado, creamy bacon dressing.
TABLE-SIDE CLASSIC CAESAR. This is just the romaine waiting to be prepped.
The empty bowl.
Whipping up the dressing.
The Caesar itself. Very peppery and tangy. Nice. One of the best restaurant caesars. Not quite as good as my own homemade one, but very good.
Course 3: Red Apps
1993 Harlan Estate. VM 97. What a joy it is to taste the 1993 Harlan Estate. The aromatics alone are captivating. Wonderfully nuanced and expressive, the 1993 is peaking today. Time has softened the tannins, yet there is plenty of depth, especially for a wine of this age. Readers can look forward to another 5-10 years of exceptional drinking. Although the vines were naturally younger when the 1993 was made than they are today, and winemaking has evolved, the reality is that the 1993, like many of these wines, really needed quite a bit of time to be at its very best. (Drink between 2017-2023)
1993 Harlan Estate. VM 96. It is fascinating to taste the 1996 Harlan Estate after the 1999. Tightly wound and almost Old World in spirit, the 1996 is compelling from the first taste. Although the 1996 doesnâ’t have the natural Napa Valley opulence that runs through so many other wines in this tasting, itâ’s balance is simply impeccable. Scents of tobacco, leather, cedar and spice add aromatic intensity. For a 21 year-old wine, the 1996 is still quite powerful. As good as the 1996 is, there is a perceptible aggressiveness in the tannins that are hardly, if ever, seen in todayâ’s wines. (Drink between 2017-2027)
TABLE-SIDE PRIME STEAK TARTARE. quail egg, house-made pickles, grilled toast.
All mixed up. This was a decent tartare, but not as good as at the Royce. Maybe too much in the pickle department.
Toasts and extra pickles.
ROASTED BONE MARROW. red onion jam, kimchee, micro herbs, grilled bread. Not that huge a marrow fan.
GOAT CHEESE BAKLAVA. pistachios, black truffles, frisee. This was awesome. Sweet and cheesy with great texture. A savory dessert hybrid.
Course 4: Lamb and Fries
1998 Harlan Estate. VM 92. Good full red-ruby. Coolish but attractive nose combines blueberry, violet, licorice and lavender; still quite primary. Then juicy and intense if on the lean side, with a captivating floral freshness, brisk acidity and surprising succulent persistence. This will never be an expansive style of Harlan Estate but I like its intensity and verve and give it the edge today over the 2000. The high quality, and satisfying ripeness, of this wine is no doubt largely due to the fact that only a tiny quantity of juice was bottled under the flagship label.
1998 Harlan Estate. VM 95+. Good medium ruby-red. Slightly high-toned aromas of dark raspberry, spicecake, licorice and minerals. Densely packed, ripe and savory, with its very ripe, slightly inky flavors of dark berries and licorice extended on the back end by strong saline minerality. This highly concentrated, powerfully structured wine boasts excellent acidity and the ripe tannic spine for further positive development in bottle. Finishes with a repeating licorice quality and outstanding palate-staining length. (14.5% alcohol) (Drink between 2019-2039)
sonoma lamb t-bones. Okay, but not like the amazing ones at The Royce.
TRUFFLED CHEESE FRIES. Gluttonous, but yummy.
HAND CUT CRISPY FRIES. Why bother when there are cheesy ones?
CRAB & BLACK TRUFFLE GNOCCHI. Excellent.
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.
My “civilized” first meat course plate.
Course 5: Ribeye
2000 Harlan Estate. VM 93. The 2000 Harlan Estate is in a beautiful place today. Soft, open-knit and nicely mellowed by age, the 2000 is absolutely gorgeous, with soft contours to match is engaging personality. Mocha, black cherries, leather and spice are all quite forward in this succulent Harlan Estate. The 2000 might not be a profound Harlan Estate, but it is a striking wine that is peaking today and that should continue to drink well for at least another few years. (Drink between 2015-2020)
From my cellar: 2000 Harlan Estate. VM 95. Good deep ruby-red. Blackcurrant, minerals, graphite, mocha and leather on the nose. Sweet and tightly wound, with a violet topnote and terrific depth of flavor. This powerfully structured wine has plenty of meat on its bones. The tannins are huge but refined. This must be among the three or four longest wines of the vintage, with the violet quality persisting on the aftertaste. (I retasted the 2002 on this occasion, and this elixir of a wine continues to be one of the greatest California cabernets of my experience, with a knockout nose of black raspberry, minerals, tobacco and crushed stone; a superconcentrated essence of cabernet on the palate; and an almost confectionery finish of incredible persistence. My latest sample merited a solid 98.)
2000 Harlan Estate. VM 95. Open-knit, sensual and perfumed, the 2005 Harlan Estate is super-expressive today. Like so many 2005s, the Harlan is a bit lacking in intensity and overall structure relative to the very best years. The 2005 is a terrific choice for drinking now and over the next 15-20 years. At some point during that arc of time, the 2005 is likely to become a bit frail, but that does not appear to be imminent. Even after thinning to a cluster per shoot, the clusters and berries were large, which required some bleeding in the tanks, a technique that is not often used at Harlan Estate. (Drink between 2017-2027)
21 day dry aged bone-in ribeye.
MAC N CHEESE. Ok, but I’ve had better.
LOBSTER MASHED POTATOES.
Course 6: Tomahawk
2006 Harlan Estate. VM 95+. Deep ruby-red. Captivating aromas of redcurrant, sage, leather and game, lifted by a floral note. A sweet, juicy midweight, quite primary and closed today but with lovely inner-mouth floral lift apparent already. This is about sweetness more than sheer opulence. Most impressive today on the very long, building finish, which features suave but firm tannins and excellent lift to its lingering flavors of red fruits, forest floor and tobacco. A great performance for the year and sure to be long-lived.
2009 Harlan Estate. VM 97. Bright, saturated ruby. Alluring aromas of blueberry, cassis, licorice, minerals, mocha and nutty oak. At once thick and lively on entry, then densely packed and compellingly deep in in the middle palate, with its dark fruit, smoke and graphite flavors conveying a subtle savory quality that nicely buffers the wine’s sweetness and alcohol. At once harmonious and gripping for the year, this reverberating, palate-staining wine spreads out on the back end without losing its verticality–if that’s possible! Impeccable tannin management here. (Drink between 2020-2040)
2010 Harlan Estate. VM 100. The 2010 Harlan Estate is a total head-turner. Powerful, dense and exotically ripe â€“ as so many wines are in this vintage â€“ the 2010 dazzles with magnificent intensity. Baritone inflections run through the black cherry, graphite, smoke, tar and licorice flavors. Heat spikes at the end of what was generally a cold growing season yielded wines that bring together structure and fruit density. (Drink between 2018-2037)
Sautéed Broccoli Rabe.
Course 7: My Gelato
Mango Coconut Cheesecake Gelato — this one is serious — Mango Cheesecake base layered with house-made Graham Crackers and house-made Coconut Cream- Ceese Icing and sprinkled with Candied Mango –created 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 #mango #cheesecake #creamcheese #coconut #icing #GrahamCracker #CandiedFruit
Moose Avenue Gelato — Ice cream fans should get the joke — pure Tahitian Vanilla gelato base layered with Valrhona Milk Chocolate Ganache and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups –created 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 #vanilla #valrhona #chocolate #ganache #Reeses #PeanutButterCups
The pre Harlans.
And the Harlan lineup.
Food was pretty solid. It’s not nearly as good as The Royce, but it’s better than more hack steakhouses like Del Friscos or terrible ones like Taylor’s. The place is gigantic and a bit of a factory. It was very crowded with holiday parties and the like. Service was okay but a bit distant.
They did waive corkage. But on the minus side, and perhaps because of this, they didn’t touch the bottles (maybe a good thing), so we did everything. AND they very strictly limited us to TWO glasses each. At first they blamed this on being crowded and said “we can get you more later” but the manager had informed the service not to. We asked repeatedly and were denied. When two of us went up to the bar and got a single extra glass each the manager tracked down a third person and TOOK THE GLASS. And he told the staff not to give us any more. This is pretty unforgivable and violates the rules of hospitality. It’s one thing to not bring a whole extra set, but it’s totally different to circumvent active efforts on the part of a guest to get a glass. Whoever had this idea should just be tossed out of the restaurant business. Two stems was just not sufficient to work through our wine. 3 barely was. Even with breaking up the food into so many flights, several of the courses needed three stems.
My plan to break up the courses — despite a tiny bit of grumbling — worked much much better than the single wave of steaks and sides. If we had tried that here we would have had to get through 8 Harlans in about 10 minutes! Gulp!
The wines were excellent. I liked the 90s ones best myself as I like a bit of age on my wine. The 2010 was so young and hot (alcoholic) and slutty, although it had a certain hedonistic pleasure to it.
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