Restaurant: Lawry’s The Prime Rib
Location: 100 La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. (310) 652-2827
Date: February 20, 2020
Rating: Surprisingly excellent — great service too
The blind tasting sub group of the hedonists, the Dirty Dozen, moves around. Tonight’s theme was Bordeaux 2000 and older and we chose:
Lawry’s The Prime Rib. Look at this “they don’t make ’em like they used to” dining room. I hadn’t been to Lawry’s in at least 20+ years. I think it might even have been at their previous location.
NV Delamotte Champagne Brut. VM 92. Light yellow. Mineral-tinged peach, melon and pear aromas display excellent clarity, picking up a subtle floral quality with aeration. Supple and seamless on the palate, offering vivid honeydew and pit fruit flavors accented by a vibrant lemon zest quality. Finishes very long, silky and precise, with an echo of juicy melon and strong mineral lift.
2017 Paul Pernot et ses Fils Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Garenne. BH 90. A more elegant and slightly fresher nose exhibits notes of citrus, quinine and green fruit nuances. The tighter and better focused flavors exude a subtle minerality that adds the impression of lift to the sappy and dry finish that offers reasonable but not special depth. Once again, this could be drunk young with pleasure.
2017 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé. VM 93. Pale peach skin color. Intensely perfumed, mineral- and spice-accented aromas of fresh red berries and citrus fruits are complemented by building peach and floral qualities. Silky, focused and dry, offering concentrated yet lithe pit fruit, strawberry and blood orange flavors that show outstanding clarity and tension. Expands steadily on a very long, focused finish that leaves a sexy floral note behind.
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail. Classic cocktail sauce.
2000 Château Péby Faugères. VM 90-91. Impressive saturated ruby. Roasted black cherry, dark chocolate, mocha and espresso on the nose. Lush and silky on the palate, with intense, nicely delineated dark berry and torrefaction flavors. Impressively concentrated and rich. Dense, vinous and solidly structured wine, with plenty of extract to support the firm tannins. Finishes with excellent length.
1998 Pavie Decesse. Parker 96. The 1998 Pavie Decesse is medium to deep garnet-brick in color and explodes with fabulous plum pudding, prunes, blackberry preserves and blueberry pie notes with hints of smoked meats, garrigue, dusty soil, cast iron pan and star anise with dried roses and cinnamon stick wafts. Full-bodied, concentrated and packed with rich exotic spice and black fruit preserves layers, it has loads of mineral and meat sparks and a very, very long, layered finish. Incredible! For cellaring potential, I give it 20+ more years.
2015 La Conseillante. Parker 96+. Composed of 81% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Franc and aged for 18 months in 70% new and 30% one-year-old French oak, the medium garnet-purple colored 2015 La Conseillante opens with reticent, earthy notes of dusty soil, garrigue, forest floor and iron ore with a core of warm plums, cassis, cigar boxes, star anise and dark chocolate plus a hint of violets. Medium to full-bodied with decadent fruit and a gorgeous plushness to the texture, the palate features impeccable poise and compelling depth, finishing on a lingering mineral note.
agavin: “someone” (not me :-)) “cheated” the rules as this clearly is younger than 2000
Cheesy Onion Fondue. Gruyere, Sherry Wine, Sourdough Toast. This was some delicious cheesy goo with just enough onion to add a bit of texture. I couldn’t stop myself from eating it.
Crab Cakes. Arugula Salad, Lemon. Not bad.
From my cellar: 1989 Troplong Mondot. Parker 95-96. A very youthful wine that probably will never hit the heights of the 1990 (but how many wines do?), this dense ruby/purple-colored wine has a very pure nose of roasted espresso, black cherry jam, blackberry, mineral, and even a hint of blueberry. Some smoke and high-quality toasty new oak are there, but now that seems to be fading into the background. Quite full-bodied, powerful, and concentrated, yet at the same time elegant, this wine still seems very young and unevolved. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2025. Last tasted, 11/02.
agavin: slightly weird bottle, and placed with the salad, so it didn’t test well
1990 La Conseillante. Parker 94-98. This deep ruby/garnet-hued 1990 reveals considerable amber at the edge as well as a knock-out bouquet of cedar, kirsch, licorice, roasted herbs, and spice box. An exuberant, atypically flamboyant effort, it possesses supple texture, medium to full body, sweet fruit, plenty of glycerin, and attractive melted tannin. This wine has been delicious since birth, but additional nuances continue to develop in the bottle. Drink it over the next decade.
Caesar salad with anchovies. An decent but not great caesar.
House Wedge. Nueske’s Bacon, Point Reyes Blue, Cherry Tomatoes, Scallions, Baby Iceberg, Egg, Blue Cheese, and Vintage Dressings. Very nice wedge actually as there was lots of good chunky bacon (lardons).
Lawry’s Famous Spinning Bowl Salad. Spinach, Romaine, Iceberg, Shoestring Beets, Croutons, Egg, Vintage Dressing, Prepared Table-side. The dressing is a sort of sherry vinaigrette.
The “spinning” part is just how they apply the dressing.
Prep for the lobster bisque.
Lobster Bisque. Lobster Meat, Chives.
1985 Ducru-Beaucaillou. Parker 92. A wine of extraordinary charm and elegance, the dark garnet-colored 1985 Ducru-Beaucaillou has a floral, cedary nose intermixed with red and black currants as well as flowers. The wine is fully mature and soft, with beautiful concentration and purity. It is not a blockbuster, and certainly not nearly as powerful and massive as the 1986, but it is certainly much more seductive. This wine should continue to drink well for at least another 10-15 years. Anticipated maturity: Now-2012. Last tasted, 5/02.
1994 Léoville Las Cases. Parker 92-94. Michel Delon, a great man, is the consummate proprietor, meticulously administering this vast estate spread out along the St.-Julien/Pauillac border, separated from Latour’s finest vineyard by a mere ten feet. The 1993-95 vintages from Delon are brilliant wines. Leoville-Las-Cases remains one of the irrefutable reference points for high class Bordeaux. One of the more massive Medocs of the vintage, this opaque purple-colored wine exhibits fabulous richness and volume in the mouth. Layers of pure black-cherry and cassis fruit are intermixed with stony, mineral-like scents, as well as high quality toasty oak. Medium to full-bodied, with a sweet, rich entry, this wine possesses plenty of tannin, yet fabulous extract and length. Leoville-Las-Cases is one of the half-dozen great wines of the Medoc in 1994. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2025. This lion never falls asleep on the job!
1999 Léoville Las Cases. Parker 90-92. The 1999 Leoville Las Cases possesses a dense purple color as well as classic aromas of vanilla, black cherries, and currants mixed with subtle toasty oak. The wine is medium-bodied with sweet tannin, yet it remains young, backward, and unevolved (unusual for a 1999). Its extraordinary purity and overall harmony give it a character all its own. This excellent Las Cases will be at its finest between 2006-2022.
Prime Porterhouse. 32oz.
Iron Skillet Mushrooms. Seasonal Mushrooms, Garlic, Fresh Herbs.
Truffled Mac & Cheese. Very “light” as it was heavier on the mac than the cheese. But tasty.
1989 Pichon-Longueville Baron. Parker 96. Both the 1989 and 1990 vintages exhibit opaque, dense purple colors that suggest massive wines of considerable extraction and richness. The dense, full-bodied 1989 is brilliantly made with huge, smoky, chocolatey, cassis aromas intermingled with scents of toasty oak. Well-layered, with a sweet inner-core of fruit, this awesomely endowed, backward, tannic, prodigious 1989 needs another 5-6 years of cellaring; it should last for three decades or more. It is unquestionably a great Pichon-Longueville-Baron.
1986 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Parker 94-96. Now at 30 years of age, there is a gulf between the two Pichons in this vintage that no longer exists. The 1986 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande has long been one of the best wines from the estate alongside the 1982 (even if the first bottle was a little oxidized). The second bottle was representative. It has a classic pencil-lead, cedar-infused nose that rockets from the glass, a subtle floral note developing with time. The palate is medium-bodied with supple red berry fruit, a pinch of white pepper and cedar, structured compared to coeval vintages and perhaps further along its drinking plateau than previous examples. Certainly à point, I would be reaching for bottles of this now if you cannot locate those 1982s, or alternatively seek out the superlative 1996. This still remains a fine, rather regal Pichon-Lalande. Tasted July 2016.
1970 Latour. Parker 89-98. One of the top two or three wines of the vintage (Petrus and Trotanoy are noteworthy rivals), this young, magnificent Latour is still 5-10 years away from full maturity. The opaque garnet color is followed by a huge, emerging nose of black fruits, truffles, walnuts, and subtle tobacco/Graves-like scents. Full-bodied, fabulously concentrated and intense, with a sweet inner-core of fruit (a rarity in most 1970 Medocs), and high but well-integrated tannin, this enormously endowed, massive Latour should hit its prime by the end of the century and last for 2-3 decades thereafter. This is will be the longest-lived and potentially most classic wine of the vintage. Cream always comes to the top.
The Lawry’s Prime Ribeye. 22oz bone in. Really great steak and way better than the porterhouse — not because that wasn’t a nice porterhouse but the ribeye is a tastier cut.
Brussels Sprouts. Brown butter, garlic, almonds. Quite good. They should have thrown some of those lardons in for good measure too!
The toppings for the baked potato.
Lawry’s Classic Baked Potato. Nueske’s Bacon, butter, chives, sour cream. I don’t like baked potatoes but this was damn good — all the sour cream, chives, and lardon factor.
1985 Palmer. Parker 90. Tasted at the Château Palmer vertical in London, the 1985 Château Palmer was clearly a favourite amongst the participants in the tasting, although here I actually concur with Robert Parker – it’s a pleasant Margaux, but not the most complex wine of the vintage. You get the feeling that it doesn’t fire on all cylinders. It has an appealing bacon fact and savory bouquet – a little smudged, but full of charm. The palate is fleshy on the entry, perhaps here with a touch of brettanomyces, the acidity nicely judged with expressive Merlot defining the finish. It does not “take off” as the greatest 1985s are wont to do, yet you would contentedly polish off a bottle, seduced by its easy-going nature. Tasted May 2015.
2000 La Mission Haut-Brion. Parker 100! One of the wines of the vintage, the 2000 has barely budged in its evolution since it was bottled and released in 2002. After ten years in bottle, it still reveals a dense opaque purple color along with a potentially sensational bouquet of blueberries, black currants, graphite, asphalt and background oak. Extremely powerful, full-bodied and superbly concentrated with good acidity and high but round tannins, this massive La Mission-Haut-Brion should take its place among this estate’s most hallowed vintages when it hits full maturity in another one to two decades. I was surprised by just how youthful this wine tasted at age 12. If tasted blind, I would have guessed it to be around 4 to 5 years old. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2050.
This deco style cart has apparently been in use for over 80 years! Wow!
Toppings for the Prime Rib — namely horseradish and Yorkshire Pudding.
Prime Rib inside the cart.
Cutting the rib.
Plating the rib.
Beef Bowl Double Cut Prime Rib. Celebratory Rose Bowl Cut. I’m not sure I “get” prime rib. This was a nice hunk of meat, but the slow cooking method leaves it moist but not very flavorful.
Regular Horseradish and Lawry’s Whipped Cream Horseradish.
Yorkshire Pudding. Basically a brioche like thing. I can’t say this did anything for me.
Cauliflower Gratin. Gruyere, Herb Brioche, Crumbs. This was pretty good.
They keep the mashed potatoes in the cart.
Buttery Mashed Potatoes with Gravy.
Cart Side: Creamed Corn.
Cart Side: Creamed Spinach. Served with bacon.
The dessert menu.
1998 Raymond-Lafon. Parker 93. Medium gold colored, the 1998 Raymond-Lafon has a very pretty, lifted citrus nose of candied orange peel, lime cordial and preserved kumquat plus wafts of lanolin and fungi. Rich, full-on decadent and seductive in the mouth, it has plenty of allspice and honeyed characters coming through on the long finish.
Snickerdoodle Snickerdoodle Gelato — An eggy cinnamon vanilla custard base with my house-made Snickerdoodle Cookie bits mixed in — 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 #snickerdoodle #cookie #cinnamon #vanilla
Warm Chocolate Fantasy Cake. Served with Fosselman’s Vanilla Ice Cream. The cake itself was too dry and there wasn’t enough icing.
Coconut Banana Cream Pie. Good except for the banana (which I hate).
Creme Brûlée. Served with fresh fruit. The custard was a bit soft.
The gang — plus a photobomb by Ron Jermey (who just happened to be eating at Lawry’s at the same time).
Overall, this was one of the best Dirty Dozen’s in a long while — if not the best Dirty Dozen Red. I was pleasantly surprised by Lawry’s. Nice atmosphere, and while we should have been in the private room (someone, not going to name any names, didn’t want to commit to the minimum), the service was impeccable. Our server was pretty incredible. This is a big group (14) and a complex 5-6 course order and she got it down absolutely perfectly. She checked on everything too. Really really professional. The food was generally great too. Not perfect, but most things were very good. I’m not sure I “get” Prime Rib, but I have the feeling it’s a great PR they serve here. Wines showed pretty well (except mine and one other) but it was a very fun night.