Restaurant: Ten Raku
Location: 4177 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90020. (213) 380-8382
Date: Oct 21, 2021
Rating: Solid old school KBBQ
The menu has a decent number of options. This is good, sometimes I feel that some Korean places are too focused.
1995 Perrier-Jouët Champagne Cuvée Fleur de Champagne. VM 88+. Strong mousse. Restrained aromas of lemon rind, lime, honeysuckle and chalk. Tightly wound, firm and quite refined; almost hard today and distinctly backward. Finishes long, brisk and dry, with bracing lemony acidity. (I also tasted a far less fresh bottle, which showed tired aromas of apple and pear.) There’s been a change of importer since last year, so ask your merchant for this fall’s shipment. (Allied Domecq Wines U.S.A., Healdsburg, CA)
From my cellar: 2018 Azienda Agricola Valentini Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. VM 92. Bright pink. Minerals, fava beans, pomegranate and violet on the bright nose. Then very harmonious in its acid-fruit-tannin profile, with lively balanced acidity nicely extending the flavors similar to the aromas on the long back end. Strikes me as a rather refined, sneakily concentrated Cerasuolo. (Drink between 2019-2025)
Typical “free” salad.
Spicy pickled cucumber.
My personal favorite the chewy fish cake.
Another spicy something.
Seafood pancake. Egg batter with flour, green onions, belly peppers and octopus served with a soy vinegar dipping sauce.
Fluffy egg soufflé.
Besides beef, Ten Raku specializes in octopus, so of course we had to get some. This is some kind of Jeon Gol, a Korean Stew with octopus and various vegetables and noodles.
It all gets cooked down and then…
Served up like this for some chili flavored deliciousness.
Then they dump a bunch of rice into the broth and fry it up into spicy fried rice (with a lot of flavor).
1994 Château Haut-Brion. VM 93-95. Fabulous smoky, roasted, black fruit and tobacco nose, with a sappy urgency. Like liquid velvet in the mouth; gives a saline impression of extract. Very fresh and bright, with uncanny sweetness. Explosive finishing fruit buries the uncommonly fine tannins. One of the very few ’94s that truly stains the palate.
1996 Château Cos d’Estournel. VM 93. The 1996 Cos d’Estournel has a fragrant, Pauillac-tinged bouquet with the melted tar and graphite leitmotifs that I remarked upon in previous encounters. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy-textured tannin. I feel that the 1996 shows a tad more maturity than a few months ago, with undergrowth and peat-like notes surfacing with aeration and then a dash of white pepper streaking across the finish. However, it evinces fine persistency and embraces the classic tropes of the 1996 vintages. Though not a top tier Cos d’Estournel, it remains an excellent Saint-Estèphe. Tasted at the Cos d’Estournel vertical at the property. (Drink between 2018-2035)
1997 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon. VM 94+. Bright deep ruby. Blackberry, violet, tar, shoe polish and game on the nose, plus a light floral note; at once vibrant and surmuri. Superconcentrated, remarkably intense flavors of crystallized black cherry, cassis and licorice. An extremely persistent wine of noteworthy finesse, yet also one with a powerful structure for aging. One of the standouts of the vintage.
1997 E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Landonne. VM 93-95. Full, saturated ruby, by a wide margin the darkest of these ’97s. Spicy, high-pitched aromas of cassis, black cherry, licorice, flint and tar. Densely packed but currently tightly wound and dominated by its structure. Shows a restrained sweetness and complicating hints of leather, flint and tar. More tannic than the Mouline or Turque but here, too, the tannins are quite fine. Very long on the palate. A lovely expression of syrah from a very ripe year.
1997 Joseph Phelps Insignia. VM 94. Full ruby. Supersweet aromas of blackberry, cassis, bitter chocolate, espresso and tobacco. Thick and seamless yet bright and sharply defined. Very long and spicy on the aftertaste, with excellent grip. Sweet tannins coat the teeth. Williams says the selection for Insignia is based on quality and concentration rather than on a particular flavor profile.
1995 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. VM 89. Healthy dark red. Plum, coffee and chicory on the nose. Savory redcurrant fruit is complemented by well-integrated oak notes of coffee and chocolate. With good salinity and energy, there’s nothing heavy about this Cabernet. Finishes with firm, fine-grained tannins that avoid dryness. No easy sweetness but nicely ripe and persistent. À point right now. (Drink between 2016-2020)
1997 Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino Vigna di Pianrosso. VM 94. What a treat it is to taste the 1997 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Pianrosso on this day. Medium-red in color, it offers an expressive, ethereal nose with notes of roses, tar and tobacco that float out of the glass along with soft, perfumed fruit in a delicate, captivating interplay of sensations and aromas. Although this bottle had been decanted for three hours prior to my visit to the estate it nevertheless appeared somewhat closed. Still fresh, it promises to provide memorable drinking for at least another decade although my guess is that the wine’s structure will ultimately outlast the fruit. Regardless, it is utterly irresistible right now. Anticipated maturity (Drink between 2013-2014)
Cold mustardy noodles with beef and veggies. They actually put ice in here that melts.to get it nice and chilled. They are both spicy, tangy, and mustardy.
Korean style beef tartare. Always a great take on beef tartare as it has bits of pear and a sweet and tangy marinate.
Our full spread of uncooked meat! This is the core KBBQ deal.
Spicy bean paste. You can add all the elements and some meat together to make a delicious Korean wrap.
Pork belly on the grill.
And more cooked.
Strawberries & Mascar-Creamy Gelato — A base infused with Mascarpone Cheese then blended with house-made Strawberry Curd — created by me for @sweetmilkgelato — my vain attempts to pipe a pretty decoration on top were uttery foiled by timing –#SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #cheesecake #mascarpone #cheese #strawberry #cream
This was a fun and solid meal. Some of the beef was a bit too “straight up” for me — aka not marinated — but there were a bunch of interesting extras like the noodles, pancake, and octopus stew. Quality was high. Service good. If you want the classic 80s/90s KBBQ style (ignoring AYCE which I always do as it’s pointless), this is a great place. There are newer glitzier places like Gwang Yang which have a much hipper vibe, but the actual meat isn’t much different.
Our wines were generally great even if there were a couple new worlds in there. Unfortunately one of mine was a bit corked. Sigh.