Location: 468 N Bedford Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. (310) 205-8990
Date: October 28, 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 Sauvages wine lunch, with a Red Burgundy theme.
And wine list. Look how organized they are!
2005 Domaine Ponsot Griotte-Chambertin. VM 92-95. Good ruby-red. Sappy, liqueur-like aromas of griotte cherry and black raspberry. Wonderfully intense and concentrated, with a nearly confectionery sweetness to its explosive fruit flavors. Like the Cuvee des Alouettes, this comes across as a bit high-toned and will require careful attention during its final months of elevage But offers great potential.
2005 Camille Giroud Latricières-Chambertin. VM 92-95. A subtle dash of oak influence highlights the equally dense dark berry fruit nose of surpassing elegance and refinement that complements perfectly the texture and very Gevrey medium full flavors that in contrast to the nose seem less refined than usual. Indeed, this is a powerful Latricières that at present anyway seems to under emphasize the underlying minerality so typical of this cru though the finish is long, velvety and mouth coating. A qualitative choice though the respective characters are very different. (Drink starting 2018)
2007 Joseph Drouhin Griotte-Chambertin. VM 92. Medium red with a palish rim. Enticing aromas of crushed red fruits perked up by pepper, spices and herbs; more evidence of stems here. Then densely packed and juicy, with a suave, smooth texture and enticing inner-mouth perfume. A peppery note adds to the vibrancy of this sappy grand cru. Finishes with fine-grained tannins and considerable class.
2003 Domaine Maume Mazis-Chambertin. BH 93. An absolutely gorgeous nose of black fruit, anise, violet and cassis coupled with a smoked meat and wild herb notes introduce big, intense and explosive flavors that are sappy and seductive. There is a deeply buried but steely tannic spine that will take its time resolving but I’d like to see this wine at age 15 or so. This is really a stunner as it’s very fresh for the vintage and absolutely one to buy. (Drink starting 2011)
Tuna Cigars. Instant Smoke, Feuille de Brick, Avocado Silk, Vidalia Onion, Tobiko Caviar. Lovely little “cigar.” It actually tastes somewhat cigar-like with the “smoke” and after that fades out is more reminiscient of the Spago tuna cone. The tobiko is more textural and doesn’t have the richness of a real (sturgeon) caviar.
2003 Dominique Laurent Charmes-Chambertin. VM 91-94. Deep red. Floral aromas of red cherry, red licorice, spices, mocha and iron. Sweet on entry, then precise, perfumed and sharply delineated in the mid-palate, with juicy, harmonious acidity. Lifted by violet and rose notes. Finishes very pure and long, with nicely integrated, rather gentle tannins. Classic Charmes. (A separate cuvee of Mazoyeres seemed very ripe and was in an oxidative phase.)
2001 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Cuvée Vieilles Vignes. BH 96. One of the finest wines of the vintage, this is simply a spectacular effort that has captured every bit of the potential it originally displayed in cask. Restrained and backward nose of a fantastically complex mix of blackberries, spice, cedar, soy, anise and dried herbs followed by full-bodied, multi-layered flavors of amazing length. Opulent and lavish yet all remains exquisitely balanced and this is astonishingly precise. A real stunner of a wine that is as classy and graceful as they come. As good and classy as the ’02 if not quite as structured. (Drink starting 2016)
1999 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays. BH 94. I was quite surprised to find just how open for business this was in magnum format as I expected something far more reserved but such was not the case. A beautiful and highly expressive nose of ripe black cherry, earth and the hallmark red pinot fruit is followed by medium weight yet concentrated flavors of bacon, smoke and sappy pinot extract that are given lift and verve by the intense minerality and outstanding length. This has added a good deal of weight and seems more powerful than before yet it remains very stylish and classy with excellent potential though like the same wine in 750 ml (see herein), this is so well balanced and harmonious that it could easily be drunk now with pleasure. That said, unless you are lucky enough to have this in quantity, I would counsel cellaring it for another 5 to 10 years. In a word, terrific. (Drink starting 2014)
2002 Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares. VM 95. Ruby-red. Flamboyantly rich aromas of blackberry, minerals and chocolate. Fat, rich and powerful; compellingly sweet and dense but with terrific thrust as well. Superripe flavors of chocolate and black plum. Finishes very long and powerful, with big but thoroughly ripe tannins. Offers great potential.
Kagoshima A5 Wagyu Tartare. Rau Rum Chimichurri, Quail Egg, L’Amuse Golda, Sesame Rice Cracker. Great beef tartare. Tons of flavor, umami from the cheese, and the rice cracker was nice and light.
Roasted Bone Marrow. Escargot Brunois, Garlic Baguette, Rau Ram. This is the best bone marrow I’ve had. There was a lot more of the actual “meat” (aka fat) and it was bulked up with the far tastier garlic snail mixture. Normal bone marrow is just a scraping of tasteless fat but by pair that with the savory escargot and balanced with a bit of lime it was just way better.
1998 Joseph Drouhin Grands-Echezeaux. VM 91. Deep red. Wild aromas of medicinal cherry, mint and coffee; subtle and fine. Full, sweet and silky but very unevolved and dominated today by its structure. A moderately ripe wine that’s not especially sweet or expressive but shows excellent backbone and freshness. Finishes with slightly tough tannins. But very backward and hard to judge today.
1999 Remoissenet Père et Fils Grands-Echezeaux. 98 points. Wow! An extraordinary wine! Gorgeous lush fruit, just the right amount of barnyard, complex notes of earth, leather, and ripe fruits. Perfectly balanced, a BIG wine with loads of structure and a finish that just won’t quit. If you can find this wine, mortgage the house and buy it! It’s drinking incredibly well now, but still has years of life in it.
1989 Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux.
1999 Château Latour Grand Vin. VM 92. The 1999 Latour is a vintage that I have not encountered for four or five years. It has a pH of 3.80 and a yield of 38hl/ha, representing 58% of the total crop. Interestingly, this includes 14% vin de presse compared to the 9 to 10% used nowadays. It has a classic Latour bouquet of blackberry, pencil box and undergrowth aromas, quite strict and conservative in style, and fairly intense but not firing on all cylinders; orange zest aromas evolve gradually. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin and nicely detailed, offering blackberry, black truffle, pencil shavings and a touch of spice toward the finish, which shows more grip and density than the 1989 Latour tasted alongside, probably because of that pressed wine. This is beginning to reach its drinking plateau, although judging by this showing it will give another two decades of drinking pleasure. Tasted from an ex-château bottle at the estate. (Drink between 2019-2039)
Pork Belly Salad. Black Mission Fig, Lemongrass, Yuzu Vinaigrette, Butter Lettuce, Point Reyes Blue Cheese Snow, Hazelnut. Some people didn’t like this salad but I did. It was very light and bright, a bit like a punchier version of a lardon and frissee salad. The pork belly was bacon smokey and nicely pervaded the dish.
Mongolian Lamb. Char-Grilled, Market Vegetables, Twice Cooked Potatoes. Very tender, sweet, and tasty. Still basically a lamb chop.
1996 Louis Jadot Chambertin. VM 92-95. Rather delicate aromas of crystallized berries, smoke and sandalwood. Velvety and very sweet in the mouth, with pungent oak spice and a firm mineral underpinning. Ripe acids are in harmony with the wine. Great concentration. No hard edges.
1996 Louis Jadot Chapelle-Chambertin. VM 93+. Saturated red-ruby. Fabulously complex, thoroughly ripe aromas of black raspberry, animal fur, mocha and chocolate, plus a distinct hint of surmaturite. Thick, creamy and very concentrated on the palate, and already quite expressive. Has a complicating herbal note that complements the wine sweetness. Finishes very long, with silky tannins and a hint of marzipan.
1995 Claude Dugat Griotte-Chambertin. VM 96. Deep ruby. Fabulously complex but extremely primary aromas of black raspberry, orange zest, smoke and black pepper; even higher-pitched and finer than the Charmes. This and the Charmes offer just the slightest hint of the animal complexity to come with development in bottle. Dense and pristine in the mouth; conveys a black peppery note of sheer extract. At least as long as the Charmes but suaver, finer. Amazing juice.
1996 Domaine Perrot-Minot Mazoyères-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes. VM 92+. Excellent red-ruby color. Knockout aromas of smoky black raspberry, black cherry, coffee and roasted oak. Thick, sappy and sweet, with powerful cherry and raspberry fruit. Dense but given shape by strong acidity. Long, firm, sweetly tannic finish.
AN’s Famous Garlic Roasted Dungeness Crab with AN’s Famous Garlic Noodles. This was a special personal version of the crab and noodles. I remember when I first came here that you had to pay an extra few dollars for them to crack it! But now that’s included if you like. We didn’t have to crack it at all. The meat was delicious and so were the noodles.
Himalayan Saltblock Steak. Prime all-Natural Rib Eye, Horseradish Crema. Meat.
Bloody Apple Pie Gelato — A Tahitian Vanilla Custard base layered with my house-made cinnamon bourbon apple pie filling, house-made Vanilla Caramel Blood, and house-made Grave Soil Charcoal Graham Crackers (GF) — 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 #applepie #apple #cinnamon #caramel #GrahamCracker #halloween
Yar! Ghostly skeletal praline pirates are marauding — Pecan Pirate Praline Gelato — An eggy Texas Pecan base layered with my creepy skull-shaped New Orleans style Vanilla Bourbon Pecan Pralines and Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Pumpkins — 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 #vanilla #bourbon #pecan #praline #candy #halloween #spooky
Overall, this was an awesome lunch. Boy did the Ans treat us right and we had an incredible menu, amazing service, and great wines. 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.