Location: 9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035. (424) 500-9575
Date: December 16, 2022
Cuisine: Modern American French
Rating: Really good and great fun
There is no question that Walter Manzke is one of LA’s most influential chefs of the last decade or so. His Republique is iconic and I’ve eaten dozens of meals there.
This particular (second visit) to Manzke was for Sebastian’s 2022 birthday!
Manzke is his new “tasting menu only” spot located in the former Picca space above Water’s Bicyclette. Manzke is sort of a full restaurant version of the kind of special Walter tasting menu meal I’ve been getting for years at special events in the Republique private room.
The build out is lavish, two leveled, and features a big open kitchen.
There is a full bar of course.
Sadly, I forgot to charge my camera battery and had to slum it with the iPhone — ick!
2002 Salon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 97. Another highlight in this vertical, the 2002 Salon is also fascinating to taste after the 2004. Rich, opulent and intense, yet also very classic in the Salon house style, the 2002 possesses superb persistence and depth. The radiant vintage has softened the contours and given the wine fabulous depth to match its decidedly powerful personality. At the same time, the 2002 remains quite youthful. Next to the brighter and more finessed 2004, the 2002 offers more of a baritone-inflected expression of Chardonnay. (Drink between 2016-2036)
Potato Chips. Charred banana tzatziki, soked trout roe. I ate the dip straight without the chips. Very nice, with just a bit of a hint of banana in the otherwise sour tzatzkiki.
2008 Pol Roger Champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill. VM 95+. The 2008 Brut Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill is one of the most reticent and tightly wound wines of the vintage. To be sure, all the 2008s offer tremendous brightness and punch, but most are also a bit more approachable in the early going. The 2008 Churchill is totally closed in on itself at present. Vibrant floral, citrus and saline notes add an attractive upper register to a core of persistent Pinot-inflected fruit as the wine gradually opens up. The 2008 is a total knock-out, but I wouldn’t dream of touching a bottle anytime soon. (Drink between 2024-2038)
Tostada. Bluefin tuna, salsa fresca. Very lovely little tuna tostada, which tasted exactly like that with the strong corn notes offsetting the cool tuna.
The “salsa fresca” was actually this clear liquid which while it had about the texture of a shot of sake, did taste just like salsa fresca. Interesting!
2007 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut. VM 97. Long-time Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon has produced yet another in a string of superb Champagnes with the 2007 Cristal. Rich, powerful and enveloping, the 2007 takes hold of all the senses and never lets up. The aromatics alone are captivating, but then the wine opens on the palate, revealing layer after layer of flavor to match a multi-dimensional, kaleidoscopic personality that will leave Champagne lovers weak at the knees. The 2007 is 58% Chardonnay and 42% Pinot Noir, which is to say a bit more Chardonnay-leaning than is the norm. The 2007 is striking today, but it should also age effortlessly for several decades. It is also without question one of the very finest new releases of the year. (Drink between 2015-2037)
Nantucket Bay Scallops. Granny smith apple, ginger vierge, shiso. Lovely little bit with strong fruity and ginger notes and an awesome sweet and tangy sauce.
Santa Barbara Uni. Kaluga caviar, heirloom tomato gelee. The uni was in some kind of panna cotta beneath the caviar, but mostly it tasted like caviar and panna cotta — which was pretty delightful.
2012 Domaine Billaud-Simon Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre. BH 93. A more elegant and equally restrained nose is composed of floral and mineral reduction scents where top notes of white fruit and sea breeze hints are evident. The pure and sleekly muscular flavors possess a silky texture that continues onto the mineral-driven, intense, mouth coating and beautifully balanced finish. This is seriously impressive. (Drink starting 2020)
Laminated Brioche. Radolphe le meunier Normandy butter.
Incredibly soft and flakey laminated croissant-like pastry bread.
Radolphe le meunier Normandy butter. This butter is to die for!
From my cellar: 2010 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières. VM 93. There is a cool, inward minerality to the 2010 Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatières that is quite striking, but the wine is going to need some time to fully come together. Lemon, white flowers and flint are some the many notes that are layered into the wiry, tense finish. I very much like the sense of energy here. (Drink starting 2013)
Japanese Hamachi. Shinko pear, passionfruit nuoc cham. Extremely tangy and lovely crudo.
Sebastian and his lovely wife.
From my cellar: 2002 Gros Frère et Sœur Richebourg. VM 95. Medium red. Highly perfumed, ineffably complex aromas of strawberry, currant, bacon fat, cocoa powder, gunflint, coffee and smoked meat. Dense, sappy and wonderfully intense, with exhilarating flavors of smoked meat, spices, minerals and underbrush. Conveys a powerful impression of soil tones. Builds almost freakishly on the back end, finishing with a kick of spice and a flavor of pink peppercorn. A wonderfully suave, extremely long Richebourg that offers great early appeal but has the spine to develop in bottle for 10 or 15 years. (A Patrick Lesec Selection; importers include Classic Wine Imports, Boston, MA; Fine Vines LLC, Melrose Park, IL; The Wine Warehouse, Commerce, CA; Domaine Select Wine Estates, New York, NY )
Maine Lobster. Carrot, coconut Thai curry. Tasted like lobster tom yum goong more or less. Certainly rich and delicious.
The private room.
2009 Château Mouton Rothschild. VM 97. The 2009 Mouton-Rothschild has a very backward bouquet that is clearly nowhere near its drinking plateau, unfolding reluctantly with cedar and pencil box infused black fruit. Glimpses of pressed rose petal unfurl with continued aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a mixture of red and black fruit, and veins of blue. Very harmonious with a satin-like texture towards the persistent finish. Philippe Dhalluin conjured a gorgeous Mouton-Rothschild this year, but it needs another few years in the cellar. Tasted at BI Wines & Spirits’ Ten Year On tasting. (Drink between 2022-2055)
2009 Château Cheval Blanc. VM 98. The 2009 Cheval Blanc has a rambunctious nose with copious red fruit, meat juices, sage and crushed stone aromas, ineffably complex. This is so refined, constantly mutating in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, saturated tannin. There is a mixture of red and black fruit, hints of cassis, cardamom and allspice. Immense depth and grip towards the finish expresses ripe Cabernet Franc. This is an outstanding 2009 destined for long-term ageing. Tasted blind at Farr Vintners’ 2009 Bordeaux tasting. (Drink between 2021-2060)
Norwegian Halibut. Monterey abalone, matsutake, dashi beurre blanc. This is essentially a classic french poached fish with beurre blanc, but with various Japanese twists. The fish texture was succulent and perfect, and suspended in the rich, bright butter. The Abalone was very tender and nicely offset by the pistou-like sauce.
1985 Château Mouton Rothschild. VM 92. The 1985 Mouton-Rothschild came from magnum. Unfortunately, there was a little cork taint on the nose, so this tasting note actually comes from a bottle that I tasted in Bordeaux. The bouquet is open, very classic in style, perhaps blind more like the 1986 with scents of pine cones and undergrowth. It was always quite a backward and (for the vintage) quite surly on the nose. The palate is well balanced with cedar and truffle, firm tannins with gentle grip, maybe missing a bit of flair towards the finish. It is an enjoyable Mouton-Rothschild, though you might have wanted a little more panache. Tasted at the “Judgement of Clapham Junction” dinner in London. (Drink between 2021-2040)
1986 Château Mouton Rothschild. VM 99. Philippe Dhalluin served the 1986 Mouton Rothschild to wrap up our vertical. The 1986 remains one of my favorite Moutons. A dark, powerful wine, the 1986 is endowed with a vertical sense of structure that is a marvel to behold. Dark stone fruit, smoke, graphite, mocha, soy and licorice are fused together in a marvelously intense, deep Mouton that promises to drink well for another few decades. Tonight, the 1986 is absolutely stunning. The blend is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Harvest started on October 2nd and wrapped up on the 16th. (Drink between 2016-2036)
1986 Château Margaux. VM 98+. The 1986 Chateau Margaux was even more emotionally moving. Still incredibly youthful, it showed incredible focus and depth, all backed up by considerable structure. As hard as it may seem to believe, on this night the 1986 appeared to still be some years away from peaking. It was striking in every way.
1986 Château Lafite Rothschild. VM 96. The 1986 Lafite-Rothschild is a great wine although over several recent encounters it is never a convincing “perfect” wine. This mirrors the bottle I tasted at the property in 2016: blackberry and graphite on the nose, gawky at first, but coalescing with time. The palate is well balanced with firm tannins, strong graphite scents unfolding with time, superb energy if not delivering quite the finesse and precision that the very best Lafite-Rothschild will bestow. This is a wine that benefits from long decanting, say five or six hours, though it never quite reaches the ethereal heights that it could have done. Tasted at the International Business & Wine First Growth Dinner at the Four Seasons. (Drink between 2020-2050)
Italian White Truffles. Acquerello carnaroli risotto, vacche rosse parmesan. Perfect rich truffle risotto.
1982 Château La Mission Haut-Brion. VM 94. The 1982 La Mission Haut-Brion is a vintage that I have tasted several times. This bottle has a gorgeous, eucalyptus-tinged bouquet of black fruit plus hints of clove and bay leaf; a light marine scent emerges with aeration. The palate has a ripe pastille-like quality, dark cherries commingling with blackberry and cranberry. A lovely saline undertow lends sapidity on the harmonious finish. This does not equal the 1982 Haut-Brion and may have reached its peak in the late 1990s, but it remains the best La Mission Haut-Brion since the 1978. Tasted at the La Mission Haut Brion dinner at Amuse Bouche in Hong Kong. (Drink between 2021-2035)
1982 Château Haut-Brion. VM 96. Good medium amber-edge red. Flamboyant aromas of smoked meat, leather, truffle and burnished oak. Intensely flavored and penetrating, with strong acids giving the flavors terrific cut and grip. I get an impression of strong cabernet tannins. Drink now through 2020. 94. My second bottle showed even more extravagantly expressive aromas of hot stones, tobacco, minerals and marzipan; a denser, silkier palate impression, with more obvious roasted Graves character; and an uncanny combination of sheer sweetness with structure and grip. I rated this wine even higher.
Liberty Farms Sonoma Duck. Satsuma mandarin, sweet potato tartlet, sauce bigarade. Perfectly cooked slice of duck breast.
2000 Château Cheval Blanc. VM 94. The 2000 Cheval Blanc is a wine that I have encountered more than a dozen times. Now at just over 20 years of age (how time flies – I remember tasting this from barrel), it has a lovely, quite beguiling bouquet of brambly red berries, iron rust, Provençal herbs and clove, powerful and somehow enveloping. The peppery palate is medium-bodied with quite firm, stocky tannins and good backbone, though coming after a vertical of recent vintages, it feels more rustic and feral. As Pierre-Olivier Clouet noted, there are fewer “pixels” in this millennial Cheval Blanc, but you can’t help falling for its charms. Ready to drink now but will age for the next 20–30 years. Tasted at Cheval Blanc. (Drink between 2021-2040)
2009 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon. VM 95. Glass-staining purple. Smoky black raspberry and cherry-cola aromas display impressive clarity and alluring spiciness. Lush, creamy red and dark berry flavors possess impressive depth, with a firm mineral spine and the smoky note repeating. A sappy, sweet, extremely long finish leaves sweet berry skin and violet pastille notes behind.
Snake River Farms Wagyu Rib Eye Cap. Butterball potatoes, swiss chard, black truffle jus.
2008 Dom Pérignon Champagne Rosé. VM 97. The 2008 Dom Pérignon Rosé is magnificent. Rich and deep in the glass, the 2008 offers up an exotic mélange of aromas and flavors. Sweet red cherry, mint, orange peel and rose petal all grace this beguiling beauty. Bright acids and a little less still red Pinot (21%) than in most recent editions yields a Rosé that is delicate and light on its feet, with less of the vinous intensity that marked vintages such as 2006. There is a classic feeling of austerity in the 2018 that is mesmerizing. (Originally published in May 2021) (Drink between 2026-2048)
Brillat Savarin Cheesecake. Citrus. Seemed more like a citrus panna cotta. I was trying to avoid the desserts but this was really spectacular and refreshing.
A little birthday tart for Seb.
Take home gift.
Manzke is a great addition to LA’s anemic tasting menu scene. Overall the food was extremely good, very “butter forward” in that he cooks with a lot of butter. As I mentioned before it’s somewhat similar to custom dinners Walter has cooked at Republique. I’ll be very curious to see how often the menu changes. The space itself is lovely and they even have a nice (quiet) private room with a gorgeous large table. Plus the location is good. So I look forward to returning.
It should also be noted that service was spectacular. Walter really knows how to run a very good crew. The private room rocks as well. Really great space for a great meal.