Restaurant: Kali Dining [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
Location: 13488 W Maxella Ave Marina del Rey, CA 90292 Apt #559
Date: August 16, 2013
Cuisine: New American
Rating: Uni Awesome
Independent chef Kevin Meehan of Kali Dining is a friend of mine from my Hedonist group and even cooked up that same group’s start of summer blast. Kali Dining is his concept for hosted “dinner party,” where you sign up for a special meal and join him at a big communal table in Marina del Rey.
This is about half the table. Finding it is the challenge, as the location is hidden within the gargantuan Stella apartment building right in the center of the Marina. Alcohol is BYOB, which is great by me. The below wines were “paired” and brought by moi and and fellow Foodie Club co-president Erick.
1990 Robert Ampeau & Fils Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. Burghound 93. A truly wonderful nose of simply knockout complexity features notes of yeast and baked bread along with now fully mature aromas of a variety of floral notes and spice hints that gives way to mineral-suffused round intense and detailed medium full flavors that also offer outstanding depth on the sappy and mouth coating finish. This is drinking perfectly now. A beautiful effort of real style and grace.
These are three main hosts, on the left foreground Keven Meehan, and on the right guest chef Octavio Olivas from the Ceviche Project and on the far left his wife. Kevin has worked in the kitchens of Mirabelle, L’Orangerie, Bastide, Patina, and more, having lead the kitchen at Cafe Pinot for several years.
Octavio serving up some of tonight’s special ingredient.
The them tonight is everyone’s favorite spiny fellow: Uni! This is all fresh from Santa Barbara.
2009 Jean-Max Roger Sancerre Cuvée C.M. A rare artisanal Sancerre from one of its top producers this had a striking minerality and crispness that paired brilliantly with the oysters below.
Oysters with champagne mignonette, uni, and caviar. Really fantastic, three kinds of briny notes that balanced perfectly.
Baby heirloom salad with burrata.
2006 Cantine Lento Lamezia Greco. Another unusual white I thought would go well with Uni. This Southern Italian had a strong oxidized quality, but still plenty of fruit. Really quite nice.
Hamachi cerviche with uni. Leche con tigre, corn nuts, bits of seaweed, tomato, and a slice of orange. The leche was much more subdued here than in typical preparations and that actually allowed us to taste the subtlety of the hamachi and uni. Really nice blend.
A very nice bit of rosemary bread.
2012 Collestefano Verdicchio di Matelica. IWC 94. Pale straw-green. Knockout aromas of quince, pear, white peach and white flowers are complicated by lemony minerality on the vibrant, captivating nose. Rich and broad on entry, then explosive in the middle palate, saturating the mouth with bright, lively floral and fresh citrus flavors that are intensified by penetrating acidity. Finishes extremely long and creamy-rich, expanding to coat the palate and teeth with lingering white peach and floral flavors. The bright acidity conveys an almost weightless mouthfeel to this seamless, rich, extremely concentrated wine. You can tell that owner Fabio Marchionni studied white wine in Germany. This is but one of many outstanding vintages for this wine. Let me be clear: I think it is probably Italy’s single greatest white wine buy.
Uni risotto with pork rinds and a bit of pesto. Yum! This was a fabulous rice full of richness and flavor. The pork rinds also gave it a bit of crunch which was spectacular.
A different, vegetarian, version.
1993 Louis Jadot Clos Vougeot. Burghound 93. This has finally reached its full maturity with an earthy and beautifully complex nose that is backed by big¡ dense and very intense flavors that possess solid underlying material all underpinned by largely if not completely resolved dusty tannins and a long finish that offers excellent richness. This has only just reached its maturity and there would be no risk in allowing this to age for up to another decade as it will last for a lot longer than that. Multiple¡ and largely consistent¡ notes.
Top end blue fin tuna with pesto, onion, and potato. My wife declared this one of the best tunas she has ever had.
1996 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. IWC 89-92. Deep ruby-red. Spicy aromas of cassis, black plum, black cherry, roasted nuts and shoe polish. Fat and sweet, with good depth of flavor and harmonious acidity. Thick but ripe tannins coat the tongue.
Beef rib eye cap with uni hollandaise, potato, onion, pesto, and squid ink onion marmalade. The combo of the beef, marmalade, and uni sauce was spectacular. Possibly the pesto was superfluous, but it was a lovely dish.
2009 Castello Ducale Falanghina. Another coastal seafood Italian. Crisp and fresh with a bit of sapidity.
Uni, avocado mousse, cookie crisps, and I can’t remember what the white thing was. Good, but the weakest of the dishes. Probably uni isn’t really made for desserts. Haha.
Overall, a lovely dinner. This is a fun format allowing for lots of conversation. The food was fantastic, as I’ve come to expect from chef Meehan, with each dish flavorful and well balanced. I love the freedom to pair wines ahead of time too. Great fun.
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