Restaurant: Barrel & Ashes
Location: 11801 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604. (818) 623-8883
Date: March 16, 2015
Cuisine: American BBQ
Rating: Amazing Meats
My Hedonist group will eat anything — well anything good. It can be fancy or casual, but there’s (almost) always wine.
Barrel and Ashes is a collaboration between restaurateur Bill Chait, Chef Timothy Hollingsworth, Chef Rory Hermann and mixologist Julian Cox riffing on the classical pairing of bourbon and barbecue.
The menu focuses on family style service with daily specials from both executive chefs Timothy and Rory, and Chef de Cuisine, Michael Kahikina.
Barrel and Ashes features picnic style seating on the front patio, communal and traditional seating inside, and additional seating on the rear patio that showcases a Texas style food trailer.
2005 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Coeur de Cuvée. Vinous 93. Bright yellow. Sexy, smoke-tinged aromas of ripe citrus fruits, poached pear and candied ginger. Spicy, penetrating and pure, offering intense Meyer lemon and bitter pear skin flavors plus hints of honeysuckle and chamomile. Shows impressive urgency and focus on the finish, with the floral note echoing.
agavin: awesome champy
Pear & Endive Salad. Goat Cheese, Walnut, Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette.
2010 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc. VM 94. Pale straw-yellow. Lemon, chamomile, vanilla, ginger and a faint lactic nuance on the restrained, minerally nose. Pliant and sweet in the mouth, offering good concentration and fat to the vinous lemon, guava and grapefruit flavors. Very minerally on the long finish, showing lingering notes of peach, vanilla and coconut. This should age splendidly and will probably be at its best between 2020 and 2035.
agavin: Dave had opened this a couple days before to get it to open up. Quite nice with a lot of minerality.
Caesar Salad. Tuscan Kale, Romaine, Crouton. A nice cheesy salad.
From my cellar: 1998 Domaine du Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée. Parker 95. The 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reserve showed the warmth and richness of the vintage, with knockout kirsch and blackberry fruit, garrigue, game and leather aromas and flavors that literally come jumping from the glass. Full-bodied, rich, textured and beautifully focused, if not still structured, it’s a rock-star to drink through 2020 or so.
Frito pie. Fritos smothered in chili, beans, cheese, sour cream etc.
agavin: This is oh so easy to digest! (but tasty)
1994 Bodegas Alejandro Fernández Ribera del Duero Tinto Pesquera Reserva Especial. 93 points. Fabulous, mature tempranillo from a top estate in Ribero. This was packed with red cherry flavours, gentle tannins and perfect acidic balance.
Spicy Pork rinds. Malt Vinegar Mayonnaise.
agavin: actually, some of the best pork rinds I’ve had.
2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine. Parker 98-99. Still a young wine at age 12, the 2001 Insignia exhibits a dense purple color along with a sweet bouquet of camphor, blackberries, cassis, incense and spring flowers. Full-bodied, rich and heady with sweet tannin, stunning concentration and a fabulous finish, this remarkable Insignia has 25 or more years of life ahead of it.
Smoked Chicken Wings. Shaved vegetables, blue cheese sauce.
agavin: really great wings, although hardly good wine pairing with that blue cheese sauce!
Grilled Blue Prawns. Chili, cilantro, lime.
agavin: These were actually a freebee, given to us at the end of the dinner, but properly they are an appetizer.
2006 Booker Vineyard Fracture. Parker 91. The 2006 Fracture is the most backward of the 2006s, yet it is well-endowed, muscular, and dense as well as promising. Forget it for several years, and drink it over the next decade.
agavin: soft and tender.
2005 Saxum Rocket Block James Berry Vineyard. Parker 96. Another superb southern Rhone-like blend (Chateauneuf du Pape-like actually) that comes from a single block of James Berry Vineyard, the 2005 Rocket Block James Berry Vineyard offers off-the-hook levels of sweet blackcurrants, black raspberries, exotic spices, crushed flowers and hints of incense on the nose. Full-bodied, super-concentrated and sweetly fruited, with a voluptuous and rounded texture, this beauty is drinking perfectly now, and should continue to thrill for another 4-5 years.
Sausage – Electric City Butchers. O.G. and Jalapeno cheddar.
agavin: the cheesy ones were insane!
2004 Alban Vineyards Pandora. Parker 96-97. The 2004 Pandora (80% Grenache and 20% Syrah), is deeper in color and completely opaque. Slightly more voluptuous and rich, with the Syrah giving some heft to the mid-palate, it offers up layers of black raspberry, black currants, cured meats, iodine and crushed rock-like minerality on the nose. This flows to a full-bodied, beautifully textured and seamless wine that has no hard edges, thrilling richness and a blockbuster finish. Gaining a tad more richness with time in the glass, it still has only hints of maturity and has a long life ahead of it. Enjoy bottles anytime over the coming decade (or more).
Spare Ribs – Salmon Creek Farms.
agavin: really great tender ribs with lots of flavor.
2006 Pax Cellars Syrah Kobler Family Vineyard. Parker 91. From a cool Green Valley site, the deep ruby/purple-tinged 2006 Syrah Kobler Family Vineyard exhibits hints of lard, blackberries, asphalt, and smoke, medium to full body, sweet tannin, and a spicy finish. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.
Pork Short Rib. Heritage Berkshire Pork.
agavin: a table favorite, totally fell off the bone.
2004 Hundred Acre Vineyard Shiraz Summer’s Block Ancient Way. VM 92. Dark ruby. Deeply pitched aromas of cassis, dried cherry and singed plum, with a smoky overtone and a suggestion of cured tobacco. Lush, sweet and smoky on the palate, offering superripe dark fruit flavors with suggestions of cola, chewing tobacco and mocha. Extremely rich and verging on thick, in the style of this bottling, but showing surprising vivacity, especially at a decade of age. A peppery note adds lift and bite to the long, smoky, gently tannic finish.
Brisket – Greater Omaha C.A.B.
agavin: the #1 favorite at the table. Hands down the best brisket I’ve had. If only I knew how to make it like this at home!
2007 Sine Qua Non Grenache Pictures. VM 95. Deep, bright ruby. Wild aromas of black raspberry compote, mocha, Asian spices and incense. Expansive and deeply concentrated, with obvious sweetness to its very intense red fruit, floral and spicecake flavors. Shows real spine and outstanding finesse for a rich wine. Finishes vibrant and extremely long, with great spicy perfume.
Parker 97. 2007 Pictures Grenache: A blend of 87% Grenache, 11.5% Syrah, and 1.5% Viognier, this wine has wonderful floral notes intermixed with black raspberries, black cherries, licorice, graphite and some camphor. In the mouth, more white chocolate notes appear, along with meatiness and some silky tannins. Its great purity, density and richness make me think this wine could even improve a few points and flirt with perfection. This stunning wine should drink nicely for another 10-15 years.
agavin: I’m not that into this kind of potato.
agavin: nice to have some “greens.” haha
agavin: insanely good too, like cornbread deep fried in butter.
agavin: mac and cheese, but a good one.
agavin: I love baked beans, even if they don’t love me, and this was a fabulous one with tones of bacony pork.
agavin: not bad for fried corn balls.
agavin: I skipped this. Too healthy!
Turtle Ice Cream Cake. Pecans, Salted Caramel, Chocolate.
With the caramel. Awesome stuff. Nice textural play between the cold, warm, crunchy, and soft.
Cobbler. Spiced apples, Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.
agavin: great apple cobbler.
Banana Pudding. Toasted meringue and ‘nilla wafers.
agavin: I don’t like bananas but this had a nice texture and slightly “spicy” (nutmeg?) flavor.
Lemon Pudding Cake. Thyme, White Chocolate.
Barrel & Ashes was some pretty awesome BBQ. First of all, we sat outside on this lovely warm night. Second, the service was first rate. As usual, they weren’t really equipped to deal with our kind of group (not very many wine glasses etc), but they really went out of their way to pull it off. The pacing started out great with slow apps, then we got all the entrees in one giant wave. Our fault, as we didn’t specify. Next time we need to stage out the entrees two at a time or something to give us more runway on the wine. Didn’t matter though, because it was awesome fun and totally delicious.
The meats and sides were pretty off the chart delicious — particularly the meats. The brisket, links, pork short rib. Wow!
The giant wines worked for once too 🙂
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