Location: 50 N La Cienega Blvd #130, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. (310) 855-1234
Date: November 25, 2019
Cuisine: Cantonese Chinese
Rating: Good for this far west
For the second time in a single weekend, I return to the only really good Cantonese west of the SGV.
Capital is the latest SGV place to move west, occupying the Newport Seafood Beverly Hills location that failed to work out. Not that I love even the original Newport, but Capital is fairly straight up banquet / dimsum Cantonese.
This event is the Dirty Dozen white, our blind tasting sub group of the Hedonists. Theme is Champagne tonight. I worked with the manager King to do this custom menu that has only one repeat dish from the Sauvages lunch a few days before.
The space looks pretty Chinese, even in Beverly Hills.
Coves. Gotta have the coves!
We are back in the private room — same as 3 days before, and same as years ago when this place was Newport Seafood.
This time I photographed the giant nighttime menu.
Wines before the meal:
1982 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon. VM 97. Both 1982 Champagnes are utterly spellbinding. It is amazing to taste these wines at 30 years of age and see that their signatures are all very much intact. Of course, the magnum format is so ideal for Champagne. The 1982 Krug Vintage is warm, toasty and totally expressive, with gorgeous exotic orange peel and white truffle overtones. This is one of my very favorite Krug vintages. Although fully mature, the 1982 is going to continue to develop at a glacial pace. The 1982 Dom Pérignon is just a little more focused and vibrant in style. Here it is the wine’s salivating minerality that really sings. It, too, is quite youthful and vibrant for its age.
1997 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Silex. Peter 91. Caramel, roasted nuts, nectarine pit, sweet richness with elevated acidity, juicy and mouthwatering, complex and long. Really liked the age on this which turned slightly rich, ripe and tangy on the palate. Capital Seafood for DD.
2014 Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Derrière Chez Edouard Vieilles Vignes. BH 89-91. An expressive and slightly more elegant nose offering up notes of red currant, wild flowers and spiced tea, leads to detailed, stony and energetic middle weight flavors that possess a relatively refined mouth feel before terminating in a moderately austere but well-balanced finish. This beautifully delineated effort will need at least 3 to 5 years of bottle age first. (Drink starting 2021)
2002 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart. VM 94. The 2002 Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart comes across as rich, powerful and opulent. This latest release of the 2002 was disgorged in July 2015 and finished with a Chardonnay-based liqueur whereas the previous release, disgorged in May 2014, was finished with a Pinot Noir-based liqueur. This is a distinctly vinous, almost shockingly raw, visceral Champagne from Billecart-Salmon. There is no shortage of volume or intensity, that is for sure. Stylistically, this year’s release inhabits a whole other world relative to last year’s release. Dosage is 4 grams per liter. (Drink between 2018-2042)
2008 Bollinger Champagne La Grande Année. VM 97. Bollinger’s 2008 Grande Année is rich, ample and full-bodied, with all of the pedigree of the vintage on display. Dried pear, dried flowers, chamomile, red plum and mint develop as the 2008 shows the breadth and creaminess that are such signatures of the Bollinger house style. A whole range of brighter, more floral and chalky notes appear later, adding translucence and energy. The 2008 is 71% Pinot Noir and 29% Chardonnay taken across 18 crus, and it is the Pinot that very much informs the wine in both flavor and texture. More importantly, the 2008 is one of the best Grande Années I can remember tasting. Bollinger fans won’t want to miss it. Disgorged November 2018. Dosage is 8 grams per liter. (Drink between 2020-2048)
2007 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. VM 96. Taittinger’s 2007 Comtes de Champagne will be nearly impossible to resist upon release. Soaring aromatics, mid-weight structure and soft contours give the 2007 its alluring personality. Lemon oil, white flowers, mint, chamomile and green pear add brightness and freshness throughout, with a persistent, clean finish that makes it impossible to resist a second taste. Today, the 2007 comes across as a slightly more open version of the 2004, with freshness that makes that wine so appealing, and a touch of textural richness that recalls the 2002. Although the 2007 does not have the explosive energy or verticality of the profound 2006, it will drink better earlier. The 2007 has been positively brilliant on the three occasions I have tasted it so far. (Drink between 2018-2047)
Deluxe Combination Cold Appetizer Platter: Roasted Pork Belly, Capital BBQ Pork, Jellyfish.
Jellyfish. Nice and tangy.
Roasted Pork Belly. Basically Macau style.
Capital BBQ Pork. Similar, but a bit less fatty.
Fish Maw Crabmeat Soup. Mild and delicious, but packed with MSG.
2004 Dom Pérignon Champagne. VM 97. Another stellar wine, the 2004 Dom Pérignon is just starting to show the first signs of aromatic development, as well as a bit of added weight it did not have as a young wine. The 2004 remains a bright, mid-weight DP built on persistence and length more than overt volume. I have always had a soft spot for the 2004. This tasting does nothing to dampen that enthusiasm. (Drink between 2019-2039)
2006 Dom Pérignon Champagne. VM 96. Powerful, dense and tightly wound, the 2006 Dom Pérignon is fabulous today. To be sure, the 2006 is a broad, virile Champagne, but I find it compelling because of its phenolic depth and overall intensity. Chef de Caves Richard Geoffroy adds that August was quite cold and wet, and that ripening only happened at the very end of the growing season. Although numbers alone can never explain a wine, I find it interesting that the 2006 has more phenolics than the 2003. Readers will have to be patient, as the 2006 is easily the most reticent Dom Pérignon in the years spanning 2002 and 2009. I am confident the 2006 will have its day, but in its youth, it is not especially charming or easy to drink. (Drink between 2026-2056)
From my cellar: 2006 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut. VM 96. The bouquet is drop-dead gorgeous, lively and broad, and beautifully defined as always, offering scents of citrus fruit, toasted walnuts and a hint of brioche. The exquisitely balanced palate displays spine-tingling mineralité and real tension and grace. The long, quite deep finish makes me wonder whether this 2006 will meliorate with further bottle age. Should I care, when it is so delicious now? Just superb. (Drink between 2019-2032)
Lobster in Causeway Bay Style. Aka with TONS of great crunchy garlic.
Stuffed Bean Curd with Shrimp Paste. Interesting.
2008 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut. VM 98+. The 2008 Cristal is a wine that takes over all the senses and never lets up. The brilliance and cut of the Chardonnay finds an extra kick of resonance from the Pinot Noir to carry the mid palate and finish in this stunningly beautiful, chiseled Champagne. Lemon oil, almond, flowers, dried herbs and Mirabelle plum are some of the many aromas and flavors that develop as the 2008 shows off its pedigree. The 2008 is a regal, towering Champagne from Roederer. That’s all there is to it. (Drink between 2023-2058)
NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée Edition 160eme. JG 94. The Krug Grand Cuvée “160ème Édition” is from the base year of 2004 and is now starting to really drink well today. It was disgorged in the spring of 2014 and the oldest reserve wines used in this iteration being chardonnays from the villages of Avize and Oger dating back to the 1990 vintage. The final cépages ending up forty-four percent pinot noir, thirty-three percent chardonnay and twenty-three percent pinot meunier. I had not tasted this bottling in a year and it was every bit as beautiful at the estate as I remember it when it was paired with the 2004 vintage during its inaugural showing in New York last autumn. The wine offers up a classic and blossoming bouquet of apple, pear, almond, fresh-baked bread, a superb base of soil tones, a touch of upper register smokiness and an exotic topnote of fleur de sel. On the palate the wine is pure, focused and refined, with a full-bodied format, lovely focus and grip, elegant mousse, a lovely core and a long, vibrant and seamless finish. I love this version of Grande Cuvée and would love to have a case waiting in the cellar to start drinking ten years from now, as that is when it is really going to start firing on all cylinders! (Drink between 2018-2050)
2004 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. VM 97+. Krug’s 2004 Vintage is absolutely mesmerizing. Layers of bright, chiseled fruit open up effortlessly as the wine fleshes out with time in the glass. Persistent and beautifully focused, with a translucent sense of energy, the 2004 captures all the best qualities of the year. Moreover, the 2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002 and the best Krug Vintage since 1996. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is a magical bottle. (Drink between 2017-2044)
Served with buns in the Cantonese style. Meat was good. Not amazing, but good. I wish there were pancakes.
Here is a bun ready to eat.
The “meat” or “bones” from the duck. Hard to eat this particular version.
Sautéed Sea-cucumber with Greens.
A zoom in. Sea cucumber is mixed in with some mushrooms and bok choy. I liked this dish — I generally like sea-cucumber — but a couple white boys complained slightly.
2002 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. BH 97. There is a distinctly phenolic character to the secondary-tinged yet super-fresh nose reflects notes of bread, yeast, pear, baked apple, spice and a hint of citrus. The bold and full-bodied flavors possess superb complexity while being underpinned by a notably fine but dense mousse, all wrapped in a gorgeously persistent finish. This is a seriously impressive effort and one of the best of the Krug Brut vintage series released in many years. Note that while this should continue to age effortlessly, it could certainly be enjoyed now. (Drink starting 2017)
some other fool didn’t declare and just brought the same wine I did: 2006 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut. VM 96. The bouquet is drop-dead gorgeous, lively and broad, and beautifully defined as always, offering scents of citrus fruit, toasted walnuts and a hint of brioche. The exquisitely balanced palate displays spine-tingling mineralité and real tension and grace. The long, quite deep finish makes me wonder whether this 2006 will meliorate with further bottle age. Should I care, when it is so delicious now? Just superb. (Drink between 2019-2032)
1995 Krug Champagne Vintage Brut. VM 94. The 1995 Krug is gorgeous. I chose it because one of my guests loves Krug and I thought the 1995 would have the right amount of complexity to pair beautifully with the smokiness in Saison’s caviar. Although the 1995 Krug is not a truly epic wine, it is in a sweet spot right now. (Drink between 2018-2023)
The one repeat from the Sauvages lunch: Filet of cod, Virginia Ham with Chinese vegetables (Double Pleasure Rock Cod). This is an unusual dish, but in looks and ingredients. Having the cod, mushrooms, vegetables, and Smithfield ham is really… interesting. The ham dominates with its strong salty flavor.
Scallop with Snow Pea Leaf. Instead of just getting the plain snow pea leaf with garlic, this version was covered in scallops — two for one!
Random cab. Not part of the blind tasting. Some people wanted some reds.
1996 Domaine du Colombier Hermitage. 87 points. Fading, delicate, not much primary fruit, a little tannin left.
Crispy Sesame Chicken. Very nice mild chicken.
Lamb with scallions. I liked this. Some cumin flavor.
Prime Ribs in House Special Sauce. This is an odd “modern” Chinese dish. Not my favorite. Chinese don’t know how to cook “steak”.
Baked Seafood Fried Rice with Coconut Curry Sauce.
Never had this one before — King suggested it — a curry fried rice with seafood drowned in curry sauce and then baked crispy. Delicious — if a touch heavy after a long meal.
Fruit (aka Chinese dessert).
Strawberries and Cream Gelato — A dairy strawberry base with Avignon Strawberries plus Strawberry Jam Ripples and Strawberry Wafer Cookies — 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 #strawberry #cream #jam #wafer #cookies
House favorite and my son’s birthday pick: Triple Chocolate Cloud – As usual the base is made with Valrhona 62% Satilla Chocolate and then layered with Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Ganache and the rotating ingredient is crushed Oreos — 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 #Valrhona #chocolate #creamcheese #ganache #icing #Oreos
Overall, Capital Seafood is quite solid SGV-style Cantonese banquet (as well as dimsum). I’d say that the food quality is about on par with middle of the road SGV Cantonese. Price is higher, but still not bad. I worked with the manager, King to create this very interesting menu and we had a variety of nice wines. Service is excellent, particularly with a special party like this. We did all the wine service, and there wasn’t really enough space for more than 3 glasses (too few) but they did this interesting hybrid food service where they brought out the large dishes, then individually plated about 2/3 of the dish and served it to each person, but leaving enough for repeats for us gluttons. This worked out quite well and was less chaotic and much neater than the lazy-susan craziness across so many wine glasses.
Great night. They did “bait and switch” up the price of the menu at the end of the evening, but it was still fairly cheap considering all the great stuff we had.