Restaurant: Mama Lion
Location: 601 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005. (213) 377-5277
Date: October 12, 2017
Rating: Half night club, but great food
Koreatown’s recent modern dining renaissance has officially reached its second phase, with the brand new Mama Lion. These are big, bold statement pieces for the neighborhood, incorporating Korean flavors and Continental fare into one seriously striking package — and this one’s got master chef Michael Hung behind the helm.
The special menu for tonight.
Mama Lion is as much a bar and supper-club as it is a restaurant — although he food is great.
2006 Dom Perignon Champagne. VM 97. The 2006 Dom Pérignon is a beautifully balanced, harmonious Dom Pérignon that strikes an incredibly appealing stylistic middle ground. Rich, voluptuous and creamy, the 2006 shows off fabulous intensity in a style that brings together the ripeness of 2002 with the greater sense of verve and overall freshness that is such a signature of the 2004. Bass notes and a feeling of phenolic grip on the finish recall the 2003, as the Pinot Noir is particularly expressive today. After an irregular summer that saw elevated temperatures in July followed by cooler, damp conditions in August, more favorable weather returned in September, pushing maturation ahead and leading to a long, protracted harvest. The 2006 falls into the family of riper, more voluptuous Dom Pérignons, but without veering into the level of opulence seen in vintages such as 2002.
From my cellar: 2011 Veyder-Malberg Riesling Bruck. 91 points. At first very “Veltliener” like, honey, white pepper and lots of herbs on the nose. The herbs stayed over the time of the evening but the honey transformed into more citrus components. On the palate I miss the last tick of acidity, nevertheless very mineral & long.
Truffled white bean hummus, warn flat bread, hrebs and extra virgin olive oil. Hummus bugs my stomach but it was worth it for this various which had a high lemon/acid and herby hit.
Plancha seared gulf shrimp, anchovy butter, french bread croutons. One of my favorite dishes. Shrimp were cooked to perfection. Very much like a gambas pil pil — but on toast.
From my cellar: 1998 Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays. VM 92. Good bright red-ruby color. Knockout nose combines cherry, raspberry, redcurrant, underbrush, licorice, flowers and earth. Penetrating and quite fine; offers a three-dimensional texture but is not really showing its underlying fat today. Intriguing note of cinnamon in the mouth. Finishes very long and complex, with dusty tannins and compelling sweetness. This should be superb with eight to ten years of bottle aging.
2005 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Laurence. VM 94. Deep red. Scents of raspberry, cherry, herbs and dried flowers, plus a hint of black olive. Juicy, finely etched red fruit and anise flavors become spicier with air and pick up a note of white pepper. Finishes with outstanding clarity and impressive thrust, echoing the sweet red fruit notes. Paul Feraud emphasized that the objective in making this wine has always been to provide a bottle that’s ready to drink on release.
Seared Foie Gras, rhubarb conserve, grilled brioche, watercress. Fatty greatness!
2012 Château Pavie Decesse. VM 94. Radiant and sexy in the glass, the 2012 Pavie-Decesse is the most gracious of the three top wines in Gérard Perse’s lineup. Dark red cherry, plum, smoke, menthol and licorice are some of the notes that fused together in this beautifully focused, layered wine. Hints of violet and lavender add the closing shades of nuance. Silky tannins give the Pavie-Decesse plenty of early appeal, but there is also more than enough depth for the 2012 to drink well for a number of years. The 2012 is 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, from vines that are 50 years old on average.
2005 Château Pontet-Canet. VM 95. Good full ruby-red. Complex, enticing aromas of black raspberry, licorice, minerals, bitter chocolate, lead pencil and pungent cedar; just this side of exotic. Wonderfully silky, sweet and thick, with a powerful minerality framing the currant, graphite and spice flavors. This boasts superb inner-mouth energy and great length, with the full, ripe tannins totally enrobed by the wine’s mid-palate richness. (My sample of the 2006 was old and tired, so I’ll wait until next year to report on the finished wine; this was a star in the early going.)
2006 Château Pontet-Canet. VM 94. Saturated medium ruby. Inky cassis, black raspberry, graphite and pungent minerality on the very ripe nose. Dense, rich and silky, with a brooding inky minerality and an almost liqueur-like dark fruit sweetness leavened by a savory peppery element. This very ripe, deep and concentrated wine boasts wonderful lushness without any undue weight thanks to its sheer energy. Like its neighbor Mouton-Rothschild, Pontet-Canet’s 2006 conveys a powerful impression of soil character. Finishes with serious dusty tannins and superb lingering sweetness. Should be long-lived.
2007 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova. VM 92. Medium red. Very rich aromas of plum, mocha, dried flowers, underbrush and leather, along with a liqueur-like suggestion of marc de Chateauneuf. Supple, plush and highly concentrated, with superripe fruit flavors slightly leavened by harmonious acidity. A distinctly viscous, fruit-driven wine that could use a bit more class and definition but will please fans of outsized Brunello. Finishes with a bit of youthful aggressiveness.
2015 Ipso Facto Syrah.
Fortunate Son Cabernet Sauvignon. If a wine wants to be written about, it can stick the vintage on the bottle.
2003 Merus Cabernet Sauvignon. VM 92. Deep ruby-red. Aromas of cassis, black cherry, sweet butter and loam. Sweet, lush and sappy, with black cherry and graphite flavors offering very good definition and lift. Offers compelling sweetness and an almost liqueur-like ripeness, but this is more than simply a fruit bomb. Finishes with substantial ripe, broad tannins. “The 2002 version is more muscular and long-aging but the 2003 is flashier,” notes Herold.
2013 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red. VM 94. A real knock-out, the 2013 Proprietary Red is just as impressive from bottle as it was from barrel. A wine of tension, energy and opulence, the 2013 has all the signatures of the vintage in spades. Red cherry jam, smoke, licorice, spices and white pepper are some of the notes that meld into the super-expressive, delineated finish. The 2013 is the first vintage of the Proprietary Red that is more than 50% estate, while the rest of fruit was sourced from Stagecoach and Rancho Chimiles.
10 oz. prime 28 day dry-aged New York Steak.
2002 Pride Mountain Vineyards Reserve Claret. VM 94. Good deep ruby. Knockout nose combines currant, cedar, licorice and tobacco. Large-scaled, thick and rich, with compelling density and sweetness. This has superb depth and an intriguing minerality. Finishes with horizontal tannins and superb vinosity and persistence.
Sweet cream panna cotta. I don’t know what was in this other than strawberries, but it had a weird flavor (maybe in the “ice”) and was amazing. By weird i mean something like St Germain. Herbal, or floral. Really unique and nice.
Overall a total blast with the gang (half pictured) here, great food, and way too much wine.