Location: 246 North Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, Ca 90210. 310-888-8782
Date: December 20, 2019
Cuisine: Steak House
Rating: A top LA Steak joint
For the fourth year (sort of) in a row, my friend Sebastian picked Mastros for his birthday dinner — no complaints here — so we all hauled out the wines and headed across town. Wine theme: First Growth Bordeaux.
We setup in the luxurious Penthouse!
From my cellar: 1990 Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon. BH 95. This is a wine that I know extremely well from 750 ml and it’s one that is beginning to tire though I hasten to point out that it’s still enjoyable and just beginning to show signs of fatigue. However there are no such concerns with the same wine from magnum that remains magnificently fresh and while it’s clear that the aromas are mature, that’s not at all the same thing as describing the yeasty and baked apple suffused nose as tiring. There is equally good depth and vibrancy to the beautifully delineated flavors that are supported by a fine and firm mousse that allows the texture of a well-aged Dom to be easily appreciated. For my taste this has arrived at its peak though note well that it should easily be capable of effortlessly holding for years to come. (Drink starting 2015)
2008 Dom Pérignon Champagne. VM 98. The 2008 Dom Pérignon is once again stunning. More than anything else, I am surprised by how well the 2008 drinks given all the tension and energy it holds. Then again, that is precisely what makes 2008 such a unique vintage – namely that the best wines are so chiseled and yet not at all austere. Lemon peel, almond, mint, smoke and crushed rocks are all finely sculpted, but it is the wine’s textural feel, drive and persistence that elevate it into the realm of the sublime. The 2008 will be even better with time in the cellar, but it is absolutely phenomenal even today, in the early going. Three recent bottles have all been nothing short of magnificent. (Drink between 2020-2048)
1995 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. BH 95. A knock out and still quite youthful nose that has everything that you could want in a luxury cuvée including notes of green apple, yeast, white pear and peach and very subtle spice hints merges into sophisticated and classy flavors presented on a base of firm but not aggressive effervescence and better acid support than many examples from ’95 have. A wonderful effort that is only just now beginning to unwind and for my preferences, it needs at least three more years in the cellar first before drinking well over the next two decades.
Mustard, cocktail sauce, atomic horseradish.
A seafood tower. The quality of the seafood here is impeccable! Amazing shrimp, claws, king crab (didn’t taste frozen), crab cocktail, and oysters. This year’s tower was well sized (last year was a bit skimpy).
Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio.
From my cellar: 2017 Maison Leroy Bourgogne Blanc. 91 points. A nose of stewed apple and poached pear. Sappy and full on the palate, with plenty of richness and a note of cotton candy on the finish in addition to the apple and pear.
From my cellar: 1993 Robert Ampeau & Fils Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. BH 92. A fully mature and expressive nose of elegant secondary fruit and floral aromas introduces intensely mineral-driven, pure and beautifully well-detailed middle weight flavors that possess excellent depth and fine length. This is drinking perfectly now and should continue to do so without effort for at least another decade. Tasted only once recently. (Drink starting 2012)
2016 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune 1er Cru Beaune du Château Blanc. BH 90. In contrast to the Pouilly-Fuissé, the reduction is sufficiently prominent that I would advise decanting this first. Otherwise there is excellent concentration to the sappy and palate coating flavors that possess a lovely texture that extends to the solidly complex and sneaky long finish. (Drink starting 2022)
Beef Carpaccio with capers, arugula, and parmesan. Awesome and a bit lighter.
Caesar salad. A bit too mild for my taste.
Spanish Octopus Carpaccio. WIth a lot of green sauce.
1983 Latour. Parker 88. Tasted from my cellar, this wine is fully mature, not terribly concentrated, and slightly herbaceous, exhibiting aromas of sweaty saddle leather, melted asphalt, tobacco, and red as well as black fruits. Notions of caramel and roasted nuts also emerge. A medium-bodied effort with soft tannin, but little persistence and length, it requires consumption over the next decade.
From my cellar: 1986 Château Margaux. Parker 98. A magnificent example of Chateau Margaux and one of the most tannic, backward Margauxs of the last 50 years, the 1986 continues to evolve at a glacial pace. The color is still a dense ruby/purple with just a hint of lightening at the rim. With several hours of aeration, the aromatics become striking, with notes of smoke, toast, creme de cassis, mineral, and white flowers. Very full-bodied, with high but sweet tannin, great purity, and a very masculine, full-bodied style, this wine should prove nearly immortal in terms of its aging potential. It is beginning to budge from its infantile stage and approach adolescence. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2050. Last tasted, 12/02.
Pretzel bread — gotta love it.
Escargot and pastry. One of my favorites of the aps.
Bone marrow and toast — have a bit of fat! Actually not my favorite as I don’t love the texture of bone marrow straight up.
1998 Mouton Rothschild. Parker 97. Composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, the 1998 Mouton Rothschild is deep garnet-brick in color with lovely crème de cassis, dried roses, hoisin and baking spice notes with underlying notions of dried cherries and mulberries plus touches of wood smoke, incense and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied and packed with rich fruit framed by firm, chewy tannins, it is stacked with complex, evolving flavors and finishes with incredibly long-lasting perfumed notes. According to winemaker Philippe Dhalluin, this needs about three hours of decanting at this stage. I simply love the place this wine is in right now, possessing plenty of mature, tertiary characters yet still sporting bags of fruit. It won’t be fading anytime soon either and should cellar nicely for 20-25+ more years.
1999 Lafite Rothschild. Parker 95. The 1999 Lafite Rothschild sports an engraved “1999” on the bottle along with an eclipse to mark that significant historical event of August, 1999. It is a quintessential offering from Lafite Rothschild. This prodigious wine is both elegant and intensely flavored, and almost diaphanous in its layers that unfold with no heaviness. An opaque ruby/purple color is accompanied by a complex bouquet of lead pencil, graphite, cedar, creme de cassis, toast, and vanilla. It is medium-bodied, with extravagant layers of richness yet little weight, and a finish that is all sweetness, ripeness, and harmony. This extraordinary Lafite increasingly appears to be a modern day clone of the majestic 1953. A mere one-third of the crop made it into the grand vin! Anticipated maturity: 2007-2030.
The empty plate.
Rack of lamb.
Roasted Vegetable Risotto, shaved black truffles.
Shoestring fries. I love these crispy fries.
Wild sautéed mushrooms.
2002 Latour. Parker 96-98. The wine of the vintage? There are only 10,000 cases of this extraordinarily rich, dense 2002 that is as powerful as the 2003 (even the alcohol levels are nearly the same, 12.85%) . It is dark ruby/purple to the rim, with notes of English walnuts, crushed rocks, black currants, and forest floor, dense, full-bodied, and opulent, yet classic with spectacular aromatics, marvelous purity, and a full-bodied finish that lasts just over 50+ seconds. Huge richness and the sweetness of the tannin are somewhat deceptive as this wine seems set for a long life. Administrator Frederic Engerer seems to be more pleased with what Latour achieved in 2002 than in any other recent vintage. Hats off to him for an extraordinary accomplishment in a vintage that wouldn’t have been expected to produce the raw materials to achieve something at this level of quality. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2045.
2003 Latour. Parker 100! 2003 was one of the hottest, earliest Bordeaux vintages ever. Some vines suffered from lack of moisture, but old vines and clay subsoil at Enclos saw this vineyard through. The Merlot harvest occurred between September 8 and 13, and the Cabernet Sauvignon was picked between September 22 and 30. The 2003 Latour is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Six percent of the press wine was added to the final blend. It has a medium to deep garnet-purple color, then wow—it explodes from the glass with bombastic black and blue fruits, followed up by meat, wood smoke, sandalwood and Indian spice accents with underlying floral wafts. The palate is full, rich, velvety, seductive and very long on the finish. There were only 10,800 cases made (rather than the normal 15,000-20,000).
Snake river farms American Wagyu 40oz.
Bone in filet — a bit overcooked.
Second one, more rare.
New York Strip.
Alaskan King Crab Black Truffle Gnocchi. One of my favorites.
Creamed corn. My wife loves this (and so do I).
2002 Alois Kracher Sämling Trockenbeerenauslese Auslese.
The all important Butter Cake. This is “Mastro’s signature warm butter cake ala mode.” Basically a pound cake with an extra four sticks of butter or something. It’s really sweet and really good. Goes well with the magic whipped cream (see below).
Real whipped cream.
And fresh berries.
Moose Avenue Gelato — Ice cream fans should get the joke — pure Tahitian Vanilla gelato base layered with Valrhona Milk Chocolate Ganache and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups –created 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 #vanilla #valrhona #chocolate #ganache #Reeses #PeanutButterCups
Mango Coconut Cheesecake Gelato — this one is serious — Mango Cheesecake base layered with house-made Graham Crackers and house-made Coconut Cream- Ceese Icing and sprinkled with Candied Mango –created 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 #mango #cheesecake #creamcheese #coconut #icing #GrahamCracker #CandiedFruit
Seb’s girlfriend brought a special wine themed birthday cake.
Mastro’s, while a zoo, and expensive, is a spectacular steak house experience. You can really feel your heart palpitating as you roll out of here! Food is very good, but the steaks themselves are the weakest point — particularly as they seem to have a consistent problem cooking them right. This doesn’t bother me hugely, as I don’t actually really like steak, and steakhouses are always about the other for me, but Mastro’s best dishes are things like the seafood tower, buttercake, and starchy sides. Service is good, but we encountered some slightly funny interactions between the staff and our quirky party members — haha — it happens.
Overall, another great steakhouse birthday!
In terms of organizing for the “steakhouse wine problem” for this dinner I came into it with the same kind of plan I used the week before at BOA, with a seafood course, white apps, red wine apps, then three sets of steak/side courses. This worked out much better than the “all at once” style we used recently at The Royce but was a bit subverted mid dinner when the the birthday boy merged my 2nd and 3rd meat courses — this would have been better as separate courses. But he also (correctly) tamed down my admittedly overzealous carby side and dessert plan into a more manageable (but still totally gluttonous) volume. I had planned 4 butter cakes! We barely managed to kill 2 (because we also had gelato and the giant wine cake. haha).