Location: 631 N Robertson Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069. (310) 734-7764
Date: June 16 & September 15, 2022
Cuisine: Spanish Tapa Fusion
Rating: Hit and miss
I adore Spanish food in general and Tapas in particular so I was excited to hear about a new “modern tapas” place in Hollywood. This report combines a normal 6/16/22 dinner with friends and a big set menu Chateauneuf du Pape dinner partially hosted by LVHM. It represents most of the menu and most of the key dishes sampled twice so I consider it a pretty solid review of the kitchen.
The normal menu and specials on 6/16/22.
Our special menu on 9/15/22.
Jeridan brought this huge bottle of 08 Dom courtesy of LVHM to start.
HALF DOZEN OYSTERS / PINEAPPLE CAVIAR, TAMARIND FOAM. Nice bright flavors, particularly the pineapple. Offset the briney oyster flavor.
EGGPLANT HUMMUS / SESAME SEEDS, CILANTRO OIL , MARKET VEGETABLE CRUDITÉ (6/16/22). Nice crunchy veggies, but a touch boring. The ladies however loved it and ordered a second one!
HOUSEMADE FLATBREAD for the dip.
SALMON CRUDO / AJI AMARILLO, PINEAPPLE PONZU, BROWN BUTTER, JALAPEÑO (6/16/22). A tiny bit of spice. Lots of flavor. Not really too Spanish — more modern Japanese Peruvian influenced — but hey!
JAMÓN IBÉRICO DE BELLOTA & PAN CON TOMATE / MONTARAZ, AGED 48 MONTHS (6/16/22). Really nice balance.
2008 Dom Pérignon Champagne. VM 98. The 2008 Dom Pérignon is a huge, powerful Champagne and also clearly one of the wines of the vintage. This is one of the most reticent bottles I have tasted. So much so that I am thinking about holding off opening any more bottles! The 2008 has always offered a striking interplay of fruit and structure. Today, the richness of the fruit is especially evident. Readers who own the 2008 should be thrilled, but patience is a must. (Originally published in May 2021) (Drink between 2028-2058)
Bonus from my cellar: 2008 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne. BH 94. An upper register and highly complex nose of green apples, white pear and citrus notes introduces almost painfully intense, pure and impressively powerful big-bodied and overtly muscular flavors that possess an almost aggressive minerality on the palate staining, tension-filled and driving finish. This is really a striking wine that is built to age as there is an abundance of dry extract. Gorgeous. (Drink starting 2016)
agavin: I brought this because having ALL CDP for a Spanish dinner is a little crazy.
SPICY PAELLA BITES / BIG EYE TUNA , CRISPY SEAFOOD RICE, CHILI AIOLI. Weird. A bit spicy and basically just tuna toast like you get at “trendy” Japanese places. Not sure what in the world is paella about them (I guess the type of rice?).
SANTA BARBARA UNI TOAST. ROCK SHRIMP, BUTIFARA SAUSAGE, CHILI HONEY, PIQUILLO PEPPER AIOLI. Tasty, but also a bit spicy and strong pepper flavors. Can’t really tell what is going on with the different elements.
LOBSTER ROLLS / MAINE LOBSTER TAIL , BRIOCHE BUNS, CELERY, CRÈME FRAÎCHE, GARLIC & CHILI AIOLI. These mini versions were “bun forward.” Fairly yummy although not Spanish at all.
BUŇUELOS DE PATATA / POTATO FRITTERS, QUINCE, PARMESAN CHEESE, BLACK TRUFFLE SAUCE. These were gross, like potato hush puppies. Worst item we had.
CROQUETAS DE POLLO / GARLIC AIOLI, BRAVA SAUCE. Way too temperature hot, but otherwise ok.
FIRE ROASTED SHISHITO AND SWEET PEPPERS / CILANTRO, LIME, GREEN ONION. Just peppers.
CRISPY EGGPLANT / QUINOA SALAD, CHARRED EGGPLANT PURÈE (6/16/22). Hehe, look at that “eggplant,” Beavis.
WOOD FIRED OCTOPUS / CHARRED ROMESCO SAUCE, NEW POTATO, PICKLED FRESNO CHILE. Ok, but not that crispy.
OVEN ROASTED STRIPED BASS / SWISS CHARD, TABBOULEH, AVOCADO PURÈE, HERB BUTTER (6/16/22). Very much a parsley/mint type flavor.
GAMBAS AL AJILLO / WILD BLUE SHRIMP, ROASTED GARLIC PUREE, CHILE DE ARBOL (6/16/22 and 9/15/22). This was one of the best dishes, maybe because how wrong can you go with melted fat and garlic?
ROASTED PORK BELLY / BRIOCHE BUNS, MOJO VERDE, GARLIC AIOLI, CHICHARRON. Another pretty yummy dish, but lots of bun. Not exactly something I’ve seen in Spain either.
SOULMATE PAELLA / SHRIMP, CALAMARI, CLAMS, BOMBA RICE, SAFFRON, CHORIZO, AIOLI, MARKET VEGETABLES (6/16/22 and 9/15/22). Very middling paella. Or more precisely a bad paella, but a middling pan of rice with stuff. Also, I chocked on one of those watermelon radishes thrown in there for effect and it was stuck in my throat for 5 minutes. I eventually hacked it out.
Here is the offending radish. This was actually moderately traumatic. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to “choking” — except maybe that time in Sicily when a fish bone stuck in my throat. I wasn’t actually in any danger of not breathing, but it was just stuck there for a long time and by the time I coughed it out my throat was sore for 24 hours.
LOBSTER ROSSEJAT / VERMICELLI PASTA , SQUID INK & SEA URCHIN SAUCE, MAINE LOBSTER, SEPIA , GARLIC AIOLI (6/16/22 and 9/15/22). This was better with the little briney/sweet pasta. The tiny lobster tails were overcooked though and so stuck in the shells.
16OZ AMERICAN WAGYU NY STRIP, TRUFFLE JUS. Just some steak. A bit overcooked. This sent Albert into a frenzy and he almost got into a fist fight with the server.
SPINACH SALAD. Boring.
SUMMER SALAD / BABY ARUGULA , BING CHERRIES, ASIAN PEAR, MANCHEGO CHEESE, ALMONDS, DATE VINAIGRETTE (6/16/22).
WHIPPED POTATOES. These were ok with the garlic butter from the shrimp poured on top.
CHURROS. SPANISH DARK CHOCOLATE SAUCE. These were actually pretty good, mostly because of the sauce.
CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO TART. COCOA NIB ICE CREAM, ESPRESSO CURD, CARAMEL CREAM, CHOCOLATE SHAVINGS. This was delicious. But I’m also a sucker for cream, custard, and coffee.
After dinner LVHM pimped out this elite super mega expensive cognac but one sip of it on my injured throat was like fire and I passed it off. I don’t really do the whole high alcohol drink thing anyway.
Now this dinner had a bit of a CF of great wine. We had the following big verticals of cuvee de capo and beaucastel hommage but they were served rapidly, willy nilly, in a random order. Total chaos. But all the wines were nice — but mostly way too big and way too young.
2007 Domaine du Pégau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo. VM 96. Inky ruby. Pungent, exotically perfumed aromas of dark berry compote, Asian spices and garrigue, with bright minerality adding vivacity. Powerful and deeply concentrated but also shockingly fresh and lithe, offering sweet red and dark berry flavors and notes of candied flowers and licorice. The finish is smooth, sappy and extremely persistent, with echoing floral and herb notes.
2010 Domaine du Pégau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo. VM 95-96. Inky purple. Heady, explosive aromas of black raspberry and blueberry preserves, garrigue and incense, with smoky mineral and anise accents. Lush and palate-coating, offering deeply concentrated black and blue fruit flavors that are enlivened by juicy acidity. Ridiculously rich but animated wine, with excellent finishing thrust and lingering spiciness. This wine had still not been bottled when I tasted it in mid-November.
From my cellar (only thing I had on hand): 2015 Domaine du Pégau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo. VM 97. Opaque ruby. A hugely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red/blue fruits, pungent flowers, garrigue, licorice and exotic spices. Stains the palate with deeply concentrated, spice-laced black raspberry, boysenberry, fruitcake and floral pastille flavors underscored by a vein of juicy acidity. Shows superb clarity and floral lift on a strikingly persistent finish that features reverberating florality and building tannins. (Drink between 2025-2035)
1998 Domaine du Pégau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo. VM 95. Saturated dark ruby. Nose like a fruit essence: blackberry and blueberry liqueur, licorice, pepper, Provencal herbs, and hints of more exotic fruits. A wine of extreme unctuousity, virtually too large for the mouth. Suggestion of marc, but with sappy fruits and great solid underlying structure. The tannins saturate the palate on the peppery finish. Very much in the style of Bonneau rarely made Cuvee Speciale. This wine took nearly two years to finish fermenting. Paul Feraud told me he feared that the alcohol would burn, that there would be too much residual sugar, and that the wine would show signs of premature oxidation. But in fact this headspinner (and I mean that in the purest, Linda Blair sense) boasts great surmaturite without quite descending into madness.
2007 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin. VM 97. Opaque ruby color. Remarkably complex bouquet of dark berry compote, potpourri, sandalwood, smoked meat and licorice, complemented by a smoky mineral overtone. Broad, palate-coating dark fruit flavors pick up notes of candied flowers and licorice with air and show a pungent Indian spice character. Becomes more floral with air and leaves sweet cherry and floral pastille notes behind. I’d buy all of this that I could afford.
2003 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin. JG92+. Given the mantra at the domaine that the Hommage à Jacques Perrin is only made in the finest vintages, I hardly expected to encounter a 2003 version, but the wine is really not bad at all and is now into its apogee. This is surprisingly low in octane for the vintage, coming in at the same 13.5 percent as the 2001 and 2004 iterations. The bouquet is really quite fine, wafting from the glass in a classy blend of dark berries, new leather, tree bark, woodsmoke, espresso and a lovely base of dark soil tones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and wide open on the attack, with a good core, impressive soil signature and just a bit of backend tannin perking up the long and complex finish. A very pleasant surprise! (Drink between 2016-2025)
2010 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin. VM 97. Bright ruby. A drop-dead, room-filling bouquet evokes black raspberry liqueur, incense, anise and lavender, with smoke and herb overtones. Sappy and penetrating, offering deeply pitched but lively dark berry and cherry flavors and an exotic touch of candied flowers. Fine-grained tannins come up with air and give grip to an endless, fruit- and mineral-dominated finish. This remarkable wine would be at the top of my Chateauneuf to-buy list this vintage if I had the resources to swim in such waters.
2009 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin. VM 96. Glass-staining purple. Hypnotic bouquet of black and blue fruits, potpourri and exotic spices. Broad, sappy and strikingly pure, with intense blackberry and boysenberry flavors that reach ever corner of the palate. Rich but lithe wine with a seamless texture and superb finishing clarity. This wine’s marriage of power and vivacity is something else.
1999 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Hommage à Jacques Perrin. VM 96+. Full ruby. Knockout nose of black raspberry, roasted nuts, road tar, licorice, leather and game; comes across as riper and more roasted than the regular cuvee Fat, dense and superconcentrated, with extraordinary precision of flavor and tactile strength. Has the firm backbone to support its compelling flesh. Very long, slow-mounting finish throws off notes of licorice, game, tar and brown spices. This will go on for decades. I may have marginally underrated this wine a year ago. This is consistently one of the great wines of Southern France: it will be a fascinating experience to taste the ’99 and ’98 side by side ten years from now.
Albert brought: 1975 Château Latour Grand Vin. JG 94. The 1975 Latour is a very good example of the vintage, which was nowhere near as successful in the Médoc as it was in the Right Bank and Graves. But, in this era, Latour always seemed to rise above the general level of the vintage in more difficult years, and this was certainly the case in 1975. The wine offers up a fine, classic bouquet of sweet cassis, cherries, Cuban cigar wrapper, black truffle, dark soil tones, cigar ash and just a hint of petroleum jelly in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and now very elegant in profile, with a solid core, excellent acids and still a bit of tannin perking up the long and complex finish. The 1975 vintage was the highest ever measured for tannins and acidity on the Left Bank, up until the 2010 vintage came along, so for the Latour ’75 to be so beautifully balanced forty years down the road is no small achievement! Fine juice and a sleeper vintage of Latour. (Drink between 2015-2050)
This was very contentious because it was totally off theme. Some people loved it and some people hated it.
Soulmate is a great concept with a great build out but the details of the menu and the execution are a little hit and miss. It’s also much better as a 2-4 person casual dinner spot than as a venue for larger wine dinners like or CDP dinner. It has no private space, is very loud, and they aren’t setup at all for large table service.
Food wise the menu is a list of classic Spanish dishes, somewhat faithfully executed, and vaguely Spanish “riffs” on popular dish types (like the Lobster Rolls), and “healthier” options like the eggplant on cous cous. A number of times there are too many ingredients. They are a bit stronger at the classic items or maybe it’s just that some dishes are much better than others. Like very nice gambas and lousy BUŇUELOS. Paella wasn’t that great. The black (squid ink) one was much better than the “Valencia”.
Our large event was a whole lot of fun, but it was also a total CF. The food service was a bit confused (polite for SS) because they aren’t used to large tables and the order was very weird, not following their menu at all. I fixed the order in post, but we had appetizers landing way late, one end of the table getting things and the other not and all that sort of stuff. But the staff did try hard. They just weren’t prepared for this.
The wines were really great, no flawed bottles, but too young and big as a general rule. But the “wine service” (done by us, not the staff) was a total zoo. There was some mystery order blending wines from both winemakers and new glasses were constantly being poured into our 2 glasses. It was so loud and dark that I never even heard what the wines were nor could I remember what was in the glasses. So it was just one random great gigantic CDP after another. Large red verticals suck anyway because they never pair with a meal but this was especially chaotic.
Plus I almost choked on a radish!