Location: 468 N Bedford Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. (310) 205-8990
Date: April 26, 2022
Cuisine: Vietnamese Fusion
Rating: Awesome as always
Crustacean is one of our regular haunts and features a great patio in these “outside is better” days. Tonight’s meal was a Hedonist wine dinner, the second so far in 2022.
We’ve had a couple awesome meals here in the last couple of years.
From my cellar: 2005 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 93. Taittinger’s 2005 Comtes de Champagne was a perfect way to commence proceedings. Orchard fruit and hints of brioche on the seductive nose are joined by a hint of lemon verbena filtering through with time. The palate is beautifully balanced, perhaps not as riveting as a recently tasted 2008, yet underpinned by a fine bead of acidity and exuding harmony on the apricot-tinged finish. This is drinking perfectly now but should give 15-20 years of drinking pleasure. (Drink between 2022-2042)
2008 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Cuvée Rare. 93 points. A lovely expression of the 2008 vintage but patience will be rewarded to those who cellar. This wine has all the stuffing to go the distance. If you decide to drink now enjoy it over the course of a day/weekend. Your last glass will be your best.
2017 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin La Pucelle Blanc. 92 points. Juicy and accessible, this is more giving than the ‘14 villages level PYCM St Aubin was at this stage but less structured. The palate is clean, aroma is dominated by burnt popcorn. I like this wine, and it will probably evolve over the next couple years. But I doubt it will ever quite achieve that extraordinary level of ‘14.
Charred Lobster Crudo. Tangerine Granita, Chili Oil, Carrot-Kaffir Lime Emulsion, Lemon Thyme. Really interesting spicy/sweet/herby Vietnamese flavor going on in the granita.
2013 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard. Marc’s Ass Inn. Big, ripe, fruity, lots of citrus, but pretty much dominates all other aspects. No mineral, very flat acid structure, no complexity nor elegance.
2018 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne. BH 91-93. Here the beautifully layered nose is at once riper and more complex but also more restrained with its reasonably fresh aromas of apple, spear, spice, herbal tea and soft oak wisps. There is outstanding volume to the equally ripe and powerful flavors that exhibit a lovely underlying tension on the impressively persistent and attractively stony finish where the only nit is hint of warmth. (Drink starting 2026)
Diver Scallops & Green Apple Sashimi. Yuzu Kosho, Kaffir Lime, Earl Grey, Ancient Grains, Calamansi-Tom Yum. Strong bright high-acid flavors. Very nice textures too.
2010 Marcassin Pinot Noir Blue-Slide Ridge Vineyard. 94 points. PnP. Perfect cork. Lovely brilliant ruby. Intense ripe nose of cherry and red apple. Lovely velvety texture on the palate with intense berry, cherry and orchard fruit flavors. Intense but very fruit driven on the finish with any tannins buried. Lovely wine – may not be as complex as the Marcassin estate but very good.
2002 Louis Jadot Corton-Pougets Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot. VM 95. Good medium-deep color, showing the faintest beginning of amber. High-pitched and refined on the nose, conveying remarkably youthful scents of raspberry, cranberry, rose petal, blood orange and mint. A juicy, sappy, succulent wine with terrific energy and precision; like a smaller-scaled, or at least a less explosive, 2010. Finishes vibrant, minerally and gripping, with subtle salinity, sneaky saline persistence, and seriously firm tannins that avoid dryness. This wine shares the light touch of the 2010 and is a remarkably youthful 2002. (Drink between 2019-2036)
Maple Leaf Farms Duck Potstickers. Luxardo Cherry Acrodolce. Nice meaty dumplings with semi-sweet sauce.
Kagoshima A5 Wagyu Tartare. Rau Rum Chimichurri, Quail Egg, L’amuse Gouda, Sesame Rice Cracker. Fabulous tartare with very interesting flavors.
1989 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle. JG 90+. After a few absolutely desultory bottles of the ’89 La Chapelle, I was very pleasantly surprised to hit a very good bottle of this wine. My last several examples prior to this bottle had been overripe prune juice that was already getting quite oxidative, but this bottle was very good and a far cry from those previous examples. As readers may know, there were multiple bottlings of La Chapelle back in this era, so there are some distinctly different wines out there under the same label and vintage banner. In any event, after several very disappointing bottles, I finally got a good one this last time around. The deep, complex and meaty nose offers up scents of ripe cassis, black pepper, grilled meats, smoky overtones, a touch of balsam bough and incipient notes of chipotle peppers. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and fairly roasted in personality, but, with a good core of fruit, moderate tannins and good focus and grip on the complex and gently tangy finish. I imagine that this is what sound examples of the better cuvées of this wine have shown consistently, and why folks with these bottles in the cellar thought I was completely off my rocker with my notes on less enjoyable bottles. This example is a good, solid Hermitage at its apogee, but with still a couple of decades of life ahead of it- though not quite in the league of the 1988 La Chapelle in terms of complexity and elegance. (Drink between 2012-2030)
Braised Lamb Soup Dumplings. Tom Yum Jus, Galangal, Japanese Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, Puffed Rice. Awesome broth (and dumplings).
Orange Cauliflower for a gluten free person.
1989 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape. JG 93+. I have always been a fan of the 1989 Château Beaucastel, which I rank just behind the superb 1981 at this fine estate. The most recent bottle I tasted of this wine was still just a touch youthful, but offered up fine complexity on both the nose and palate and shows excellent promise. The bouquet is a blend of roasted fruitcake, cherries, new leather, venison, incipient notes of sous bois, woodsmoke and hot stones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and rock solid at the core, with a bit of tannin still to resolve, fine focus and grip and a very long, classy and slightly chewy finish. I would be tempted to give this wine a few more years to really resolve, as it will be a superb wine and it would be most enjoyable to drink it at the same plateau that the 1981 has been enjoying for a good decade already. (Drink between 2015-2050)
1990 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape. VM 93. The 1990 Châteauneuf-du-Pape has a compelling bouquet of plump red fruit, oxtail, leather and morels, all well defined and full of chutzpah. The palate is smooth in texture and, at 29 years old, has certainly mellowed. There is a core of sweet fruit here, but it has softened with age and delivers a smorgasbord of second flavors: meat juices, clove and touches of fennel. It does not possess the audacity of the Hommage à Jacques Perrin, yet it has retained effortless charm. (Drink between 2019-2036)
Charcoal Cavatelli. Dungeness Crab, Grilled Ramps, Snow Pea, Tiato Leaf, Chili Bread Crumbs.
2001 E. Guigal Ermitage Ex-Voto. VM 94-96. Saturated medium ruby. Knockout nose combines superripe, liqueur-like black- and redcurrant, gunflint, pepper, leather, game and chocolate. Huge, spicy and rich, with outstanding sweetness and depth of flavor. A massive but well-delineated Hermitage that finishes with extraordinarily suave tannins. Built for two decades of development in bottle. This is 14% alcohol, with a pH of 3. 87.
2006 Ovid Red Wine. VM 94. Ovid’s 2006 is a powerful, intense wine. Still fresh, vibrant and focused, the 2006 is super-impressive today. All of the site signatures are very much present. Mocha, espresso, dark cherries, spice and tobacco add aromatic nuance. The tannins have softened, but the 2006 has more than enough depth to drink well for another 10 or so years. This is a superb effort in a vintage that is mostly overlooked these days. Winemaker Austin Peterson describes 2006 as a year with a warm summer and pronounced heat spike around Labor Day followed by more moderated conditions for the rest of the season. Harvest took place from late September to the middle of October. (Drink between 2016-2026)
Smoked Berkshire Pork Belly. Acorn Squash, Vietnamese Carmel, Hazelnut, Winter Truffle. Very sweet and very fatty but amazing.
With An’s Famous Garlic Noodles — can never have too many of these!
Irish Coffee Gelato — Tullamore Dew Irish Whisky blended into a Coffee Custard Gelato base with (optional) layers of Crushed Oreo — Designed to pair with “Baileys Irish Gream Gelato” and includes a hefty Caffeine kick — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #expresso #whiskey #custard #oreos #irish
Baileys Irish Gream Gelato — New stabilized 13% Bailys Irish Cream recipe, with a touch of seasonal coloring! — Designed to pair with “Irish Coffee Gelato” — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #expresso #whiskey #baileys #StPatricksDay #cream #green
Overall, this was an awesome evening. Boy did the Ans treat us right and we had an incredible menu, amazing service, and great wines. A was initially skeptical of tonight’s particularly menu, as it had less dishes than usual and none of the “favorites” (except the noodles) but they turned out to be home run unique dishes that really knocked it out of the park.
Wines were great too.
Discussing the food analytically. Very good, and most dishes varied from good to great. The Vietnamese influence is far more subtle, less heavy handed, then at most newer fusion places like Little Sister / LXSO or the more contemporary small plates style Khong Ten. Definitely more roughly 2000 in formal fine dining style — which I don’t mind at all. In some ways it feels like a millennium event fine dining place with Vietnamese — and to a lesser extent Thai and Chinese — notes. It’s a pretty fancy place, and priced accordingly — but particularly during these last two dinners have really knocked it out of the park.