Location: 9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035. (424) 500-9575
Date: April 1, 2022
Cuisine: Modern American French
Rating: Really good
There is no question that Walter Manzke is one of LA’s most influential chefs of the last decade or so. His Republique is iconic and I’ve eaten dozens of meals there.
Manzke is his new “tasting menu only” spot located in the former Picca space above Water’s Bicyclette. Manzke is sort of a full restaurant version of the kind of special Walter tasting menu meal I’ve been getting for years at special events in the Republique private room.
The build out is lavish, two leveled, and features a big open kitchen.
There is a full bar of course.
One of us got an Old Fashioned.
The four of us had one of the larger tables upstairs on the balcony — which is the place to be — and they are made of lovely wood. The whole restaurant isn’t that loud (unlike Republique which is super loud) but the balcony is nice and calm.
Our menu for the night.
Jacques Selosse Initial. 93 points. A lovely drop. This smelt a bit fresher, less oxidative than usual – perhaps because it was fairly newly disgorged, with a very chalky, stony mineral tones to the nose, along with some stone fruit – think yellow peach – apples, and a touch of kumquat, all ringed with a little bit of spice. A really entrancing nose. The palate too felt really fresh and linear, with a spine of lemon acidity and beautiful stony mineral strecthing its way through bright expressions of green apples and limes. As always, there was plenty of power and depth to the chapmpagnem but this was wed to lovely freshness and purity. Together with a nicely fine mousse, the wine presented itself both with a delicious open, generous fullness, as well as having at the same time a really nice sense of cut and definition, with that deep mineral structure to it. Absolutely lovely – it dissapeared from the bottle very quickly.
Potato Chips with smoked Trout Roe & Tzatziki. Lovely tangy quality to the yogurt. A bit of a take on Taramasalata.
Baja Tuna Tostada. Yummy, if tiny.
Served along side it was the “Salsa Fresca” which was a “extract” clear liquid version of the salsa which was pretty awesome and tasted exactly like said salsa.
Japanese Hamachi, Kaluga Caviar, NV, Bolieu, Fleur de Craie, Champagne. Really awesome tiny bite. Could have eaten 6.
2011 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Narvaux. 92 points. Open-knit aromatics show pretty lemon, mixed flowers, and crushed stone. As with my last bottle, I’m surprised to see this shows a bit more weight than the usual lithe Roulot, given the lighter vintage. Very good.
2005 Henri Boillot Corton-Charlemagne. VM 98+. Wonderfully ripe, deep aromas of lime, minerals and crushed stone. An incredible mouthful of stones and minerals, with uncanny intensity, juiciness and lift. At this point in my marathon tasting with Boillot, my handwriting was degenerating and I was using exclamation marks rather than adjectives. Flat-out great white Burgundy. Incidentally, Boillot changed his supplier of Corton-Charlemagne as of this vintage; he now works with vines in Aloxe-Corton that face full south.
Mantou. Santa Barbara Uni. A bit too much bread to the uni. I was hoping for one of those delicate Western Chinese soup dumplings.
This little base has soup poured into it.
Dungeness Crab. Green Thai Curry. Delicious with a quite authentic curry flavor. Little bits of crab shell though.
Laminated Brioche. Rodolphe le meunier butter. Insanely good croissant-like bread. Butter took it up to 11.
The awesome Normandy butter.
Table-side grilled prawns.
Santa Barbara Prawn, brown butter, meyer lemon (and roe). Very tender.
European White Asparagus, Kaluga Caviar, Roasted Almond Beurre Blanc. Very much (the start of) the season for White Asparagus. The Beurre Blanc (and Caviar) are the perfect classic accompaniment.
Maine Sea Scallop, Abalone, Maine Lobster, Black Truffle, Cauliflower Royale. Awesome dish. Very rich, like a Lobster Newburg or something, but incredible. Had to get more bread to wipe up the sauce.
1998 Château La Mission Haut-Brion. VM 96. The 1998 La Mission Haut-Brion is the standout of the Nineties. It shows more purity and exuberance than the 1996, featuring sumptuous scents of black cherries, black olive, freshly rolled tobacco and hints of gravel, all wonderfully defined and quite precocious. The palate is likewise sweet and ripe, offering pliant tannins and layers of blackberry, blood orange, blueberry and tobacco. It tightens up toward the finish, as if to say, I’m in for the long haul. Give it a couple of hours’ decanting, or cellar it for longer if you wish. Tasted at dinner at Chez Bruce. (Drink between 2021-2042)
Dover Sole with Morel Mushroom and “smoked bacon reduction”. The smokey (tasted like bacon without having bacon) sauce really made this a red wine friendly dish — and a delicious one.
Japanese and American Wagyu Beef, potato mousseline, sauce bordelaise. Really some awesome beef. Melt in the mouth smooth. Sauce was potent but great (I love Bordelaise sauce).
1986 Château Raymond-Lafon. 92 points. Golden colored in the glass, in the bottle in appears a decade+ lighter than the vintage would suggest. Honey dipped peaches and orange on the palate with moderate sweetness and enough acidity to keep things lively. No botrytis. Drinks much younger than 34 years — it would not surprise me if this could go another 34.
Mango, Passion Fruit, Kaffir Lime Panna Cotta, and Macadamia Nuts. Great dessert. Very refreshing. Interesting textures. The kaffir lime leaf infusion in the panna cotta gave it a refreshing bitterness.
Hazelnut Hot Chocolate. Super delicious and rich.
Cassis and Kumquat Chocolates and Chocolate Chewy Cookie.
Mint Infusion. Refreshing.
Manzke is a great addition to LA’s anemic tasting menu scene. Overall the food was extremely good, very “butter forward” in that he cooks with a lot of butter. As I mentioned before it’s somewhat similar to custom dinners Walter has cooked at Republique. I’ll be very curious to see how often the menu changes. The space itself is lovely and they even have a nice (quiet) private room with a gorgeous large table. Plus the location is good. So I look forward to returning.
It should also be noted that service was spectacular. Walter really knows how to run a very good crew. I’m sure it would be an awesome place for a very high end birthday party or similar too. We even ran into one of our good friends hosting a (wine related) work dinner.