Location: 9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035. (424) 500-9575
Date: August 25, 2021
Cuisine: Modern French Bistro
Rating: Bar-like space, great food
Walter Manzke is a fixture of the LA dining scene and the chef/owner of iconic Republique (which I’ve been to countless times). This dinner was organized by Liz Lee of Sage Society and features epic Burgundies.
So it was exciting when he took over the former Picca and Sotto spaces (much missed) to open a new modern Bistro.
At the time of this visit Bicyclette was just downstairs in the old Sotto space.
It’s bustling. Certainly one of the densest indoor crowds I was in during 2021.
Modern open kitchen.
The menu is small and focused.
Jérôme Prévost Champagne La Closerie Extra Brut Les Beguines. VM 95. The NV (2016) Extra-Brut Les Beguines is endowed with all the tension, energy and resonance readers have come to expect from these highly singular Champagnes. Lemon confit, mint, white flowers and crushed rocks all race out of the glass in an explosive, beautifully expressive Champagne that dazzles from the very first taste. In fact, 2016 is a rare vintage where I prefer the Blanc to the Rosé. In 2016, Jérôme Prévost blended in 10-15% reserve wines from 2015 along with drops of still red Meunier. More importantly, the 2016 is a Champagne readers will not want to miss, as it is absolutely compelling. (Drink between 2020-2031)
1988 Salon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 97. After the lackluster 1990, things get back on track quickly with the 1988 Salon, a wine that is absolutely peaking today. From one of the all-time great vintages in Champagne the 1988 Salon exudes power and explosive intensity, with superb balance and pulsating acidity that gives the wine its drive. A host of candied lemon peel, hazelnut, smoke, licorice and anise overtones meld into the super-expressive finish. Disgorged à la volée, with no dosage. (Drink between 2016-2026)
Soft Egg in the Shell. Smoked Sturgeon, Kaluga Caviar. Versions of this dish are always awesome and this was no exception. Lots of caviar too.
Iced Kushi Oysters. Barrel-aged sauce mignotte.
2005 Coche-Dury Meursault Les Rougeots. VM 93+. Explosive aromas of soft citrus fruits, white peach, spices and minerals. At once muscular and fine, combining superb spicy power with great purity of fruits and minerals. This very intense young Meursault boasts an element of lift shown by too few 2005s today. Finishes with terrific length and mineral spine; really ricochets around the retronasal passage. This was aged in 40% new oak.
2006 Coche-Dury Meursault Les Rougeots. VM 91. The 2006 Meursault Les Rougeots has a thrilling bouquet with a ton of reduction, yet somehow there is marvellous delineation and penetration. The palate is powerful, spicy and dense with a waxy mouthfeel and impressive density. It feels tangy in the mouth and yet it does not convey the same detail as the 1999 tasted alongside, on the finish. Still, this is a fine Meursault considering the vintage. Tasted at La Paulée in Beaune. (Drink between 2019-2030)
Preserved Vintage 2015 Sardines. Awesome looking and tasting.
Baguette with Rodolphe le Meunier Normandy Butter. People always joke that this is the best dish at Republique — it is great.
Yellowfin Tuna “Steak” Tartare with potato chips. Very steaky actually.
Caramelized Onion Tarte Tartin. Drake’s Family Farm Goat Cheese. This was DOTN for me. It’s cooked upside down in a (usually cast iron) pan to caramelize the onions. They were perfectly tender and sweet and paired fabulously with the goat cheese.
Mediterranean Black Mussels a la Marinieres. White wine, Strauss creamery butter. Solid Moulles.
French Fries. Tarragon Aioli.
From my cellar: 2001 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques. BH 93. Knockout aromas of wonderfully intense black and red cherry fruit loaded with cassis and a touch of new oak introduce medium-bodied, sweet, harmonious, very expressive and long flavors all underpinned by racy minerality and firm structure. The tannins are prominent but ripe and the density of extract is impressive and this both coats and stains the palate. As it always does, this delivers finesse with real mid-palate punch with near perfect grace. For my taste, I would hold this for another 1 to 3 years but it would be no vinous crime to be drinking this now. Note to be sure to serve this cool as the alcohol becomes noticeable if it becomes a bit too warm. (Drink starting 2013)
2014 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques Vieille Vigne. VM 94. Healthy medium red Sexy, complex aromas of strawberry, crushed stone and rose petal convey a captivating combe coolness Wonderfully concentrated and bright, combining classic 2014 salty minerality with superb fruit intensity Boasts the kind of restrained generosity of fruit that reminds me of the ’99s in the early going A compelling, saline vin de terroir but not a powerhouse The long, rising finish features very suave tannins (Drink between 2023-2034)
Burgundy Escargots en Croute. Garlic Parsley Butter. Classic. Crispy pastry and lots of butter and garlic. If anything needed more interior.
Bouillabaisse. Rock cod, clams, mussels, prawns. Very nice broth (could have used more) and lots of seafood.
Liberty Farms Duck Breast. Tenerelli Orchards Plums, Baby Beets, Barley. Good, but not as exciting.
2002 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche. VM 94. The 2002 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru has a very detailed bouquet with ebullient red berry fruit, sous-bois, bay leaf and a very subtle hint of liquorice. This is a very “involving” nose, one that you easily lose yourself within. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, notes of tea leaves, bay leaf and just a splash of balsamic infusing the red fruit. It leads to a nicely grippy, earthy finish that lingers in the mouth. Excellent. Tasted at Sarah Marsh MW’s 2002 Red Burgundy tasting. (Drink between 2018-2032)
2002 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Cuvée Vieilles Vignes. VM 96+. Good deep red-ruby. Superripe aromas of black raspberry, wild blackberry, blueberry syrup, mocha and licorice. Large-scaled, dense and broad, but more broodingly backward today than the Bonnes-Mares. But this stunning wine shows uncanny energy and sappiness in the mouth and great breadth, solidity and lift on the finish, with explosive flavors of blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and menthol.
Beef Short Rib a la Bourguignon. Meaty.
Tarts on the offering at the beginning of the night. Half of a couple of these were still around when we were leaving (and we were the only people left in the restaurant). I asked the server to buy some to take home to my wife. The “curse” of the Republique desserts continued because the staff stole them out from under my nose (taking them home themselves) and I never got my to-go — all gone!
Cheese on the offer too.
Chocolate Tart. Creamy and decadent.
Mint chocolate chip ice cream. Not as good as mine :-).
Mango sorbetto. Again, not as good as mine.
This was a great night full of great company, food and wines. I thought all the appetizers were really very very good. The mains (like the duck and beef) were good, but not that exciting. The space is fun, but loud and very crowded which is a little worrying with a pandemic raging. I look forward to returning when things are a bit calmer.
For more LA dining reviews click here.