Restaurant: Kass Restaurant – Wine & Bar [1, 2]
Location: 320 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036. (323) 413-2299
Date: July 30, 2019
Cuisine: California French
Years ago I enjoyed Chef Christophe Emé’s Ortolan and have had attended private dinners he’s prepared.
So it was exciting that he opened a new place on La Brea — supposedly a bit more casual this time (as is in vogue). The Foodie Club went in June and the meal was so fabulous we are back (with a slightly different mix of people) just a few weeks later.
I think the sign was completed in 2018, I believe the restaurant itself opened in 2019 :-).
This is the inside after dinner when we outlasted everyone. Clean and cosy.
The kitchen was small and neat and you can see Chef Christophe Emé in the center, carefully managing every detail.
Liz brought the newly released 2002 Dom Pérignon Champagne P2. VM 97+. The 2002 Dom Pérignon P2 is surprisingly, almost shockingly, austere and tightly wound. That almost surely bodes well for the future. Today, though, the 2002 is very hard to taste. Stylistically, it is also much less available than the original release. Readers lucky enough to own the 2002 should plan on being patient.
Cheese and sorbet with kaluga caviar. A light and elegant pairing that showcased the caviar — and of course we were drinking champagne!
2002 Joseph Drouhin Griotte-Chambertin. VM 92. Enticing redcurrant and strawberry scents are precise and impressively perfumed, with pungent floral lift and exotic Asian spice accents. Clean and brisk but tightly wound, with red fruit and bitter cherry flavors firmed by dusty tannins and zesty minerality. At once highly concentrated and elegant, showing a youthfully tangy tone to the impressively long finish. Hold this for another five years, at least.
Tartar with mushrooms and potato chips. Really fabulous. I do love tartar and this was a superlative one. We opened the Griotte-Chambertin (above) to have some red with this.
From my cellar: 1985 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon. JG 96. The 1985 Dom Pérignon is still several years away from its peak of drinkability, and while it is certainly quite approachable at this stage in its evolution, this wine will continue to improve with further bottle age. The bouquet is deep, complex and still a tad adolescent, as it offers up scents of tart apples, pink grapefruit, gentle herbal tones, a touch of limepeel, stony minerality and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and still quite young, with a rock solid core of fruit, bright acids, fine focus and balance, tiny bubbles and superb length and grip on the racy finish. While some tasters around the table thought this wine was drinking beautifully, for my palate it remains still a bit bound up in its minerally adolescence and will offer up significantly more opulence and toasty charm with another five to ten years of bottle age. It should prove to be an absolutely classic vintage of Dom Pérignon.
agavin: this bottle was a bit oxidized and not nearly as good as the one we opened at Angelini — that being said it was still good.
Scrambled Eggs. White truffle. Simple but incredible dish. Perfect texture and soft delicate flavor. Also perfect with the “mature” notes of the 1985 Dom.
2002 Marquis de Laguiche (Joseph Drouhin) Montrachet. VM 94. The 2002 Drouhin Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche was almost as impressive, although stylistically it was quite a bit more honeyed, voluptuous and creamy.
Cold Cucumber soup. Super cool and refreshing. Lovely.
Liz brought: 1986 Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste. Hune. JG 91. I drank up a couple of cases of the 1986 Clos Ste. Hune from the mid-1990s through around 2005 or so, but I should have held onto some of cellar cache of this vintage, as the wine has continued to age very gracefully and is probably drinking better today than any point in its past. The beautiful nose is a blend of apple, grapefruit, chalky, stony soil tones, tart orange, petrol, a whisper of leesiness and a touch of corn kernel. On the palate the wine is medium-full, long and crisp, with superb focus and complexity, a good core and lovely length and grip on the well-balanced finish that closes with a distinct note of sea salt. A lovely, middleweight vintage of Clos Ste. Hune that continues to cruise along beautifully.
Tile fish with chanterelles and a butter sauce. Fabulous buttery mushroom thing. High mercury levels yeah, but delicious!
From my cellar: 1981 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia. VM 92. Yellow-gold. Yellow plum, peach and orange rind on the nose, with complicating notes of cinnamon, mace and allspice. The equally complex palate offers sweet pit fruit and citrus flavors and touches of smoky oak and marzipan. Gains weight and nuttiness with air without loss of energy and finishes with clinging honey and orange marmalade qualities. This would be great with a rich poultry or shellfish dish.
Scallop with parmesan and tomato.
Kirk brought: 1998 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. VM 94+. Full ruby. Subtle, extremely complex nose melds cassis, bitter cherry, licorice, menthol and gunflint. Great purity and class in the middle palate, though extremely young and not currently showing the texture of the unfinished ’99. But this is utterly compelling syrah, finishing with superb length and extremely fine tannins for the vintage. The ’99 may be more pliant in the early going thanks to its sweeter tannins, but I’m not yet convinced it will surpass this brilliant ’98.
Lamb with tortellini and peas. Another great dish, livened up by the fresh peas.
Tarte aux Pommes. Vanilla ice cream.
And of course gelato by me:
Cioccolato Fondente Torrone Gelato — I’ve been working to squeeze the most chocolate humanly possible into a dairy gelato. This is 70% cocoa Valrhona and 100% Callebaut Chocolates — a total of 22.5% cocoa by weight — extremely intense — offset slightly by Italian soft nougat (torrone) — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #peanut #chocolate #valrhona #Callebaut #torrone
Strawberry Margarita Sorbetto! — like a frozen cocktail — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — Strawberries from Avignon, blended with fresh lime, Reposado Tequila and Cointreau –#SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #sorbetto #strawberry #Margarita #cocktail #Tequila #Cointreau
Overall, this was an amazing meal. Our wines were nice, and service was really spot on, but it’s the cooking that really showed everything else up. We had no repeat dishes from our epic meal previously and all the new ones were great too. The kitchen was a touch more distracted which perhaps slowed the pacing down a bit. The dishes we had were just as good, but for whatever reason we had one less savory and only one dessert instead of 4. Not that I left hungry. So if the first meal was a 10/10 this was maybe a 9/10, but still awesome.
And it should be noted, that as of late August chef Christophe Emé has moved on to new projects, and as such this place represents another ephemeral snapshot into past dining experiences no longer available.
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