Location: 239 S Beverly Dr Suite 100, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. (424) 317-5031
Date: October 5, 2021
Cuisine: Wagyu Steakhouse
Rating: Tasty and share-plates format an upgrade over steakhouse
Matu is one of the first “new” (aka post lockdown) restaurants I’ve tried since the “before days.”
They describe themselves as a “different take on what a steak restaurant can be” which is pretty fair.
It’s located in the heart of Beverly Hills, on Beverly.
The buildout is very contemporary. Neither large nor small inside. A lot of brick.
We started by getting the “Wagyu Dinner”, the specifics of which varies by day. Of course then we supplemented by adding about double that amount of extra al a carte dishes.
Georges Laval Champagne Premier Cru Brut Nature Cumières.
1989 Château Lynch-Bages. VM 96. The 1989 Lynch-Bages is one of Jean-Michel Cazes’s triumphs. At three decades, it shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. Blackberry and cedar soar from the glass just as they did from the bottle last year, and touches of graphite develop, all beautifully defined and focused. As I’ve proclaimed before, there is such energy and vigor here! The palate is medium-bodied with a fresh, minty opening. The cedar element is a little stronger than the previous bottles that I have tasted, yet there is still that symmetry and focus. This particular bottle shows a touch more development on the finish compared to others encountered over the years, with great structure and grip, notes of tobacco and just a hint of morels surfacing on the aftertaste. A remarkable Lynch-Bages that is at its peak. As an aside, Jean-Michel Cazes mentioned that there are few bottles of the 1989 remaining in their reserves. A break-in during the 1990s saw robbers of good taste steal much of their stock. Tasted from an ex-cellar bottle at the château. (Drink between 2019-2040)
From my cellar: 1996 Château Lynch-Bages. VM 91+. Dark ruby-red with a hint of garnet. Cabernet sauvignon-typical aromas of blackcurrant, violet, tobacco, dried herbs and minerals, complicated by a touch of smoky oak. In a distinctly firm, structured style, but with juicy acidity intensifying the dark berry and mineral flavors. Building flesh and sweetness on the back half counterbalances the wine’s firm spine, spreading out nicely on the lingering finish. Though currently a little clenched and austere, this wine offers excellent precision and wonderful balance.
1989 Château La Fleur de Gay. JG 93+. Out of the blocks the 1989 La Fleur de Gay was one of the most opulent and ostentatious wines to be found in the vintage, but a solid decade in the bottle has allowed the wine’s constituent components to be better heard through the blaze of fruit. In fact, the fruit bomb this wine was in its youth has been replaced now by a wine of impressive depth and complexity, with a reticence that augurs very well for the serious longevity of this vintage. The nose offers up a complex melange of dark berries, eucalyptus, coffee, strong herb tones and nutty, vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is medium-full, deep and tightly-knit, with a rock solid core of fruit, impressive intensity, and a very long and moderately tannic finish. The tannins here are very well-integrated into the body of the wine, making it drinkable now, but it is still so primary that I would strongly suggest burying it in a cool corner of the cellar for another half dozen years or so. (Drink between 2007-2035)
2008 Giuseppe Quintarelli Cabernet Alzero. 95 points. This wine is a blend of 20% Merlot with the 80% (split evenly) of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. This wine is produced in the same manner as Amarone, in the appassimento style. The wine is then aged in French barrels for three years, then racked into Slavonian oak barrels for four more years. In the glass this wine is deep with a stunning Tyrian purple hue. Aromas show amazing complexity with notes of chocolate, bruised mint, tobacco, spice cake, plum, candied fruits, balsamic and hints of floral pastilles. The wine is smooth and velvety across the palate and the acidity keeps it from being overweight. The high level ABV is nicely tucked in and not a burner. All the flavors come with intensity and linger through the extremely long and unforgettable finish. Absolutely stunning and unique.
NOTE: this was the bottle that a table neighbor gave us for free at Miyagi.
Beef broth made from simmering Wagyu bones for 24 hours. This was the first course of the “dinner.”
Braised Beef Croquetas served over celeriac puree. Sort of like a fried meatball?
Fazzoletti (fresh pasta from UOVO) with braised beef ragu and parmigiano. Very soft.
Hand-cut Tartare Piedmonte style – parmigiano and lemon.
Baby Iceberg lettuce with “Japanese” Caesar dressing and steak cooked on the plancha. I guess this is supposed to be a “wedge and steak” or something.
Maitake Mushrooms with butter and thume cooked over the wood fire. Very good.
Beef tallow french fries with parsley.
8-hour braised beef cheek over celeriac puree. The return of the celeraic puree!
I think this was the last course of the “wagyu dinner.” I can’t remember for sure. The rest was probably al a carte. We rolled backward a bit in menu progression.
Lobster Tails cooked over the wood fire with yuzu-kosho garlic butter.
Ribeye cooked over the wood fire.
Steak that began with a P.
Baby cauliflower (caultini) with garlic, red pepper flakes and fonduta. Awesome.
Hand-cut Tartare with a Japanese accent (vaguely like the Korean/Japanese type).
Tenderloin Carpaccio with parmigiano, arugula, and lemon.
Flourless chocolate cake with sea salt.
Arturo’s Panna Cotta with macerated strawberries. Scrumptious.
Matu was interesting. First of all, we had a great time, the service was great, and the food overall pretty delicious. Basically, they have many of the classic items from a steak house menu, but they have altered the style and format a bit. Fundamentally gone is the (annoying) steak house format of each person ordering a plain steak and adding a bunch of communal sides. Instead we have more of an adaption of the modern share plates formula — this I like much better and we struggle at steak houses to do this even when it’s not inherently in their nature. Secondly, they have focused the meat a bit more on wagyu — and this is subtle because it’s not the really decadent “real” Japanese wagyu, but a grass fed New Zealand variant. It’s good meat, full of taste, and more suited to western steak style, but just isn’t the same thing as “Kobe Beef” or “A5.” Totally different beast. hehe.
So overall I thought this was a great place. But being so beef focused, and with a pretty small menu, most of which is basically beef tartare and steaks, this doesn’t feel like a place one would repeat too often. You have to be down for the cow fest. But that’s fine and it certainly pairs well with a wide variety of red wines.