Restaurant: New Port Seafood
Location: 50 N la Cienaga Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA
Date: August 28, 2014
Cuisine: Cantonese / Southeast Asian
Rating: almost the SGV in Beverly Hills
My Hedonist group has been out several times to the classic New Port Seafood in the SGV. Always a trek, but worth it. Well this hugely popular east side place has just opened a branch in Beverly Hills (actually, it’s on Restaurant Row in what I think of as West Hollywood).
It will be interesting to see how they do here in the land of overpriced theme restaurants. The menu has been trimmed down from the usual gigantic SGV scale.
The decor is certainly amped up from the SGV. Tonight, they aren’t really open yet but they agreed to let us in for a soft opening of sorts. We were the only real customers, with our giant party of 25! Plus all our wines.
I should note that with this giant (25 person?) group there is a really wide range of wine. I didn’t drink 2/3 of them and I’m not necessarily going to dig up reviews on all that stuff.
2004 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon. IWC 94. Vivid yellow. High-pitched, mineral-accented aromas of pear, Meyer lemon, quince and jasmine, with smoke and toasted grain qualities adding bass notes. Spicy, penetrating and pure, boasting impressive vivacity to its fresh orchard and citrus fruit flavors. Gains weight and breadth with air while maintaining vivacity, picking up a gingery nuance that carries through a long, smoky finish. I’d bet on this taut, youthful Champagne rewarding many more years of patience.
The hardcore crew was in the lovely private room (which is actually open to the main dining room). My narrow 50mm lens couldn’t quite get it into frame.
From my cellar: 1994 Robert Ampeau & Fils Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes. 91 points. Nicely aged white Burgundy with notes of butterscotch and citrus. It started promisingly but faltered pretty quickly in the mouth, dissolving into a dry, pithy finish.
2002 Remoissenet Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne Diamond Jubilee. 89 points. A bit premoxed. Drinking ok now, but already too advanced.
Tofu and pig ear with five spices. A traditional Chinese thing. I wonder how the Beverly Hills crowd does with pig ear?
2012 Grgich Hills Fumé Blanc Dry Sauvignon Blanc.
2013 Kim Crawford Pinot Noir Marlborough.
2011 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay. IWC 90. the 40th chardonnay vintage at this historic Calistoga winery): Bright, pale lemon-yellow. Crisp aromas of apple, citrus peel and white peppery, along with a light metallic quality. The palate offers bracing lemon zest and grapefruit pith flavors and strong acidity yet comes across as silky and tactile at the same time. Cool and spicy, but with a surprisingly glyceral quality for the year. The youthfully edgy finish suggests that this wine will need serious patience.
Chicken satay. The owners are actually Cambodian and there is a lot of Southeast Asian influence on the menu.
2010 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Narvaux. Burghound 90-92. A well-layered and distinctly cool nose of citrus rind, acacia blossom and spiced pear aromas gives way to intensely mineral-inflected, rich and vibrant medium-bodied flavors that culminate in an impressively long, complex and bone dry finish. This is a classic Narvaux of refinement and a taut muscularity.
2011 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Narvaux. Lower acidity than the 2010. Still good though.
Fish bladder soup. I don’t know what they really call it, but the spongy texture thing in here (besides the egg whites) is the part of the fish that keeps it floating (so my Chinese friend told me).
This is one of those pleasant mild Chinese soups. A little vinegar (no, that isn’t blood) spices it up.
1995 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rotenberg Vendange Tardive. 94 points. Sweet, syrupy, thick sticky wine, tasting of apricots and honey. Very good. One of my favorite wines with the food.
1999 Weingut Robert Weil Riesling Kabinett. 91 points. Very nice. Possibly a little more sweet than expected for a kabinett.
From my cellar: 1989 Domaine Daniel Rion et Fils Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts. 91 points. Youthful appearance with an initial nose of sweet red fruits. Balanced and smooth on the palate. The remaing fruit is fresh and elegant, but a little thin on the finish. Nice, mature VR not over the hill.
2005 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes. Burghound 86-89. A moderately toasty dark berry fruit nose reveals hints of Gevrey earth and leads to rich, full and attractively sweet flavors that deliver good punch if not much complexity on the tangy and dusty finish. This was clearly at an awkward stage in its evolution so my rating may be conservative.
Newport special lobster. This is the signature dish and we had about 8-10 of these (not kidding). A huge lobster with a really tasty black pepper and green onion sauce.
1996 Château Smith Haut Lafitte. IWC 89. Medium red. Warm aromas of redcurrant, hot gravel and tobacco. Supple and graceful in the mouth; not especially sweet but boasts rather penetrating flavor and firm framing acidity. Not quite as suave as this estate ’95; finishes with slightly tough tannins.
2004 Shafer Relentless. Parker 91. Celebrating 30 years of consistent quality and both critical and commercial success, this family run winery remains one of the most admirable operations in California. The Shafers have had tremendous success with their Relentless, which was first released in 1999. A blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Petite Sirah that spends 32 months in 100% new French oak, it is a remarkably consistent offering that rarely displays much oak. The Syrah is from Napa’s cool-climate Oak Knoll sector. One of the world’s most prodigious Cabernet Sauvignons is Shafer’s 2,000-case cuvee called Hillside Select. Always 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 100% new French oak for a whopping 32 months, it boasts a gorgeous track record dating back to the early nineties, and just about every recent vintage has flirted with perfection.
1996 Vineyard 29 Cabernet Sauvignon Grace Family Vineyard. IWC 87-89. Good deep red-ruby. Pretty aromas of black raspberry, flowers and spices. Juicy and a bit tight in the mouth, with pungent cedary oak and lively acids. Finishes with very good length and a note of coffee. This should put on more weight during its last months in barrel.
French style beef. Really this is a Vietnamese dish. Succulent filet in a black pepper sauce. Quite excellent.
2007 Newton The Puzzle. IWC 90+. Good bright ruby. Aromas of plum, dried cherry, leather, dark chocolate, coffee and mocha. Sweet and broad, showing a strong oakiness to the flavors of cassis, leather, licorice, espresso and German chocolate cake. Offers a fine-grained texture but slightly edgy acidity and strong dusty, building tannins will require several years to harmonize. Today the $25 Claret is a lot more fun to drink. (A second sample of equal quality showed stronger oak spices but a somewhat mellower finish.)
2006 Hundred Acre Vineyard Shiraz Ancient Way. 95 points. Great bottle of wine! go balance. had everything you can expect from a great australien shiraz!
agavin: I never know which vineyard these are with their new world “stylish” labels that are missing crucial information. I forgot to photo the back. They need some French wine law to require they actually stick the vineyard on the front.
Fried rice. Never a bad thing.
2000 Brothers in Arms Shiraz. 91 points.
2009 Bibi Graetz di Testamatta Toscana IGT. Young Sangiovese.
Manilla clams. With a kind of flavorful garlic sauce.
2009 Domaine Tollot-Beaut Chorey-Côte-de-Beaune.
Fried squid. Crispy, but a hair plain.
1999 Chapoutier Cote Rotie la Mordoree. Parker 95. Chapoutier’s La Mordoree cuvee is produced from 75-80-year old Syrah vines planted in both the Cote Blonde and Cote Brune, aged in 100% new oak casks, and bottled with neither fining nor filtration. The 1999 Cote Rotie La Mordoree is the finest he has produced since the 1991 (two bottles drunk over the last six months confirm this fabulous wine’s potential as it is just now beginning to emerge from a cloak of tannin). The 1999 has closed down since its pre-bottling tasting. The color is an inky purple, and the wine is dense and powerful, with notes of smoky blackberries, creosote, and espresso. Concentrated flavors reveal high levels of tannin (surprising in view of last year’s report), and a rich, long, 45-second finish. This impressive 1999 will take longer to reach its plateau of drinkability than I thought last year. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2023.
Walnut shrimp. The typical mayo sweet shrimp. I’ve had better, I’ve had worse of this dish.
1999 Torbreck The Factor. Parker 93. Deep garnet in color, the 1999 The Factor shows an earthy, meaty and gamey nose that is a little musky. Full-bodied and rich, it has medium levels of velvety tannins that hold up the concentrated and long, spicy finish. It is mature now and ready to drink.
Sweet and sour fish. It was nice and crispy, but the sauce was too sweet and mild.
2009 Margerum Syrah Black Oak Vineyard. 92 points.
Mustard greens and preserved meat. I think some kind of pork sausage which was great.
1970 Château Filhot Comtesse Durieu de Lacarelle. agavin 86 points. This was pleasant, but far over the hill. Sherry like notes.
Mango sticky rice. Thai, but still good.
This was the “kid’s table” where the dozen or so people who bring the “lesser wines” (or are very late) are banished too. We had about 15 at the other table.
Overall, New Port Seafood did a great job, particularly considering they weren’t even open yet. Several of the dishes were pretty much exactly the same as the original branch (lobster, beef, maybe the walnut shrimp). A few others felt a hair more mild and Westernized. I haven’t studied the menu to see how the prices compare. Our total tonight was reasonable and we pigged out. Seriously pigged out. They don’t yet have the giant crab, but promise they will. Still, it’s a LOT closer. I hope they do great!
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