Location: 8479 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069. (323) 297-9500
Date: June 6, 2018
Cuisine: Modern Peruvian
Rating: Good, but I liked his punchier places better
I’ve very much enjoyed chef Ricardo Zarate’s previous offerings, notably Picca and Paiche — unfortunately now closed. So I was excited to good with the Foodie Club guys to his latest, Rosaline on Melrose.
His own website says of Ricardo:
Born in Lima, Peru, ‘the godfather of Peruvian cuisine’ Ricardo Zarate is synonymous with indigenous South American foods. Immaculately executed and fused with his underlying passion, drive and kitchen ingenuity, Zarate’s cuisine has earned him widespread critical acclaim and praise from media and consumers alike.
The newest is in a hip section of the Melrose drag, in the space previously occupied by Comme Ca, Chef David Myer’s bistro concept.
The menu is MUCH shorter than at his old places.
The build out, however is the best yet. Really pretty space. Foodie member Larry is friends with the architect, you joined us for dinner — stunning makeover.
Lots of seating with a chic look.
And a cool “garden” space.
Paul brought: 2002 Dom Perignon Champagne. VM 98. The 2002 Dom Pérignon speaks to opulence and intensity. Rich, layered and voluptuous in the glass, the 2002 shows off its flamboyant personality with flair. Butter, cooked apple and tropically-leaning fruits mesh together effortlessly. Interestingly, with time in the glass the 2002 gains in freshness and energy without losing its essential opulence. The elevated ripeness of the year gives the 2002 Dom Pérignon distinctly Puligny-Montrachet leaning inflections. Chef de Caves Richard Geoffroy adds that August that year was hot and very dry. Rain towards the end of the month and into early September freshened the vines and accelerated the final phase of ripening. This is yet another fabulous showing from the 2002, which continues to cement its reputation as a truly epic Dom Pérignon.
agavin: 2002 champs rule, this was a sexy beast.
ensalada de beterraga. beets 3-ways, ricotta spread, burrata, candied pecans, blood orange vinaigrette. Richardo’s take on the classic beet salad.
pimentones. padron peppers, ciruela amarillo miso, bonito flakes.
ceviche crocante. halibut, crispy baby calamari, yuzu kosho marinated, aji amarillo leche de tigre. Fried calamari and super zesty sauce.
tiradito de concha con erizo. live scallops, sea urchin, uni leche de tigre, crispy garlic. Love me some uni!
kampachi ceviche. baja california amberjack, aji pesto, charcoal oven roasted sweet potato, aji limo lime dressing.
From my cellar: 2010 Raul Pérez Bierzo Ultreia La Claudina. VM 93. Light, bright gold. Assertive aromas of fresh pear, iodine, marzipan and chamomile, with a suggestion of dried fig. Big, palate-staining and densely packed but energetic too, showing intense orchard and citrus fruit flavors and notes of smoky minerals and anise. Displays outstanding intensity on the smoky finish, which leaves zesty mineral and bitter quinine notes behind.
agavin: great food wine
chicharron de paiche. popped kiwicha, fried amazonian paiche, yuzu aioli sauce. Not as exciting as the BBQ versions of this fish we used to get at Paiche.
causa jar. eggplant terrine, potato mousse, avocado, botija olive aioli.
corazon anticucho. beef heart skewers, rustic rocoto pepper, feta cheese, walnut sauce. Loved these. Chewy, but great flavor. Feed your inner Khaleesi.
Fred brought: 2004 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese. VM 92. Aromas of baked apple, cinnamon and vanilla. The creamy, rich papaya fruit is still covered in baby fat, with the result that the wine’s underlying acidity is still almost completely masked. A full-blown auslese that is not yet showing the elegant spiciness that Muller’s wines generally develop.
arroz con mariscos. sea urchin, diver scallops, tiger prawns, manila clams, seafood rice. I’m such a rice fiend — and an uni fiend.
Fred brought: 1993 Louis Jadot Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Domaine Louis Jadot. BH 92. In stark contrast to the Chambertin, this is wonderfully expressive and complex with abundant earth and spice notes followed by big, structured, still sappy if slightly austere flavors that offer excellent density and plenty of character. Impressively scaled and finishes with striking length. A clear step up from the Chambertin.
Larry brought: 2003 Louis Jadot Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Domaine Louis Jadot. VM 94+. Bright, deep red. Superripe yet vibrant and perfumed aromas of black raspberry, rose petal and minerals. Very ripe and highly concentrated; creamy yet firm, thanks to powerful underlying structure. A wine of great energy, density and soil character, and an infant today. Finishes with outstanding palate-staining persistence and a slightly saline quality. This should evolve spectacularly for at least 15 to 20 years. A great wine in the making.
arroz con pollo. mary’s organic chicken breast, cilantro beer rice, huancaina feta sauce.
chaufa paella. peruvian fried rice paella-style, pancetta, la chang sausage, bagoong, prawns.
Mixed up. This was probably my favorite dish — a bit like Peruvian Chinese fried rice.
juane de chancho. pork ossobuco, adobo, garbanzo soft tamale, hardboiled egg, wrapped in banana leaf.
On the left: Limoncello Zabaione Gelato, an eggy frozen zabaione made with Sorento Limoncello
On the right: Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Cloud, Valrhona chocolate base, Valrhona cream cheese fudge, and gluten free oreo substitutes
Plated (by me).
coffee flan // custard. pisco, banana creme fraiche cream, chocolate sauce, candied hazelnuts, banana chips. Other than the banana chips — amazing.
chancay con leche // peruvian cake. goat’s milk manjar blanco, coconut milk, maracuya guava frozen yogurt, torched meringue, harry’s berries strawberries.
bon bon bons! // ice cream. lucuma ice cream, lucuma, waffle crunch, popped quinoa // all dipped in peruvian illanka chocolate.
Overall, it was a great evening with great company, amazing service, and really good food — but somehow I found things a bit less adventurous than at either Picca or Paiche, like he had cherry picked the most approachable dishes for a tamer hipster American audience. Now, given that he’s had a string of GOOD restaurants go under, that might be a good business move, but to a more out-there eater like myself it felt a little dialed back. Execution itself was spot on though and the whole thing did feel “easier”, slightly less Peruvian. I had really enjoyed Paiche, partially because it was fairly convenient and one of the only new style restaurants (briefly) in the Marina. But as there isn’t much of this style of food in LA, and it’s very tasty, it’s good to have him back on the scene doing great stuff.