Location: 555-3 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90013. (213) 799-4628
Date: February 8, 2023
Cuisine: Modern American
Rating: Very tasty, some service “issues” with large parties (no private space)
This is my second time here. Food is really good, but generally when Yarom returns he opens a bunch of SQN — blech. However, tonight as a top flight Rhone dinner, which is perfect with goat and more my style.
They are located in a fairly cute offshoot area of downtown I don’t think I have been to.
Our table — not quite large enough.
Super-fun night was a great crew, great wines, and great food! We certainly had a LOT of it too.
Jeffrey and I collaborated on the menu which turned out to be perfect. Not listed is the epic Goat Shoulder. They initially tried to get us to take their standard large party menu which had almost every other dish on the paper menu — all the lame carby ones — and NO GOAT!?!
2008 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Cuvée Rare. 93 points.
1989 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc. 92 points. Actually great!
2017 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc. VM 96. Translucent yellow. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe pear, yellow plum, orange zest, smoky minerals and jasmine, along with a deeper suggestion of honey. Honeysuckle, energetic, sharply delineated citrus, orchard fruit flavors stain the palate and become weightier with aeration. The mineral note expands as the wine opens up and drives an impressively long, chewy finish that features lingering floral, brioche and saffron notes. (Drink between 2027-2036)
roasted oysters. clam baguette . sausage butter . oyster sauce mayo . finger lime. I just ate the oyster (skipping the bread) but it was pretty good with bright flavors and richness — and I don’t usually love cooked oysters.
1983 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. JG 96. I have been a huge fan of the 1983 Chave in all of its various guises, and this most recent bottle was the finest I have yet had the pleasure to taste. The wine was at its absolute apogee, as it soared from the glass in a classic blend of black raspberries, black olives, grilled venison, a bit of bacon fat, ground pepper, great stony soil tones, espresso, and a bit of violet in the upper register. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, deep, pure and very transparent down to its stony soil, with a rock solid core of pure, black raspberry fruit, great complexity, melting tannins, bright acids and stunning length and grip on the pure and profound finish. Unlike the more recent vintages of Chave Hermitage, which seem to have all of their quality on the surface, this wine wells up from the depths of the glass and is clearly a wine of bottomless beauty. The best bottle yet of the 1983 that I have had the pleasure to taste, and I drink this vintage with some regularity! (Drink between 2008-2025)
1985 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. JG 95. I finished up my last bottles of 1985 Chave Hermitage a few years back, after having been very happy with the case I bought many, many years ago, but always having the feeling that with each bottle I drunk that the wine had not yet reached its absolute apogee of peak maturity. This is also a vintage of Chave where there is quite a bit of bottle variation, as reportedly, there were three slightly different “blends” produced by Gérard Chave in this year, to match the wishes of his various importers. In any case, this most recent bottle was the finest example of the 1985 that I have ever tasted and fully open and singing, offering up a very complex and red fruity nose of raspberries, spiced meats, pepper, a touch of cocoa powder, bonfires, incipient notes of forest floor, lavender and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and gorgeously transparent, with a great core of fruit, stunning complexity, melted tannins and a very long, tangy and beautifully balanced finish. Makes me wish I was only just starting in on my own case of the 1985! (Drink between 2019-2060)
1991 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. VM 96. The same is true of the 1991 Hermitage. A few months ago, I had a bottle of the Cuvée Cathelin, one of my favorite wines on the planet, so I was curious to check in on the Hermitage. Here it is the wine’s suppleness and silkiness that are utterly captivating. Expressive floral notes linger on the open, caressing finish.
duck tartare. gochujang mayo . cape gooseberries . sesame . fried brussels. This was eaten all mixed up and it was quite delicious with the gochujang mayo dominating and adding a mustardy slightly spicy zing. Great texture too.
goat liver mousse. crumpets . biscuit crackers . pickled manquats . persimmon-apple jam . craisin relish. First of all the crumpets, vaguely like Chinese fried bread that they were, were hot and delicious. Then the liver itself was much like chicken liver, very smooth and rich. It was nicely offset by the pickles and/or jam — particularly on on one of the bread options.
shrimp & crispy greens. avocado . satsuma mandarin . pepita crunch . limey-herby dressing. Great crispy texture and a nice bright acidic sweet salad.
2000 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. VM 92-95. Full ruby. Raw red berries, leather and pepper on the nose. Thick and silky but bright; youthful and primary. Boasts good power for the vintage. Peleat: Bright deep ruby. Complex, stony aromas of tobacco, mocha, brown spices, pepper and iris. Smooth and vinous, with terrific class and delicacy more than power. Already offers lovely detail. Finishes firmly tannic and persistent. Very expressive of the vintage. L’Hermite: Saturated ruby. Explosive, quintessential Hermitage aromas of raw currant, leather, game, minerals and cedary spice. Supple and silky but quite unevolved. Here the tannins come off as a bit tough. Bessards: Deeper, more medicinal aromas of black fruits, cassis leaf and leather. Quite powerfully constituted but not yet sweet. A very serious, tannic lot that will provide the spine for the ultimate blend. Bessards from a new barrique: Sexy aromas of black raspberry, licorice, espresso and bitter chocolate. Sweeter in the middle than the last sample, then tough on the back end, with strong oak tannins showing. Bessards yet again: Aroma of raw crushed currant. Sauvage and minerally in the mouth; supple texture nicely framed by integrated acidity. A lovely blend of sweetness and tannic structure. Peppery on the back end. Very much a wine from granite soil. Meal: Sappy aromas of redcurrant, minerals and brown spices. Less fresh in the middle than the Bessards, with tannins a bit tough. Meal again: Roasted redcurrant, smoke, minerals and game on the nose. Silkier and more pliant in the mouth; this offers much better balance and more finesse than the last mouthful. Here the tannins are less rigid. The tougher sample was from a parcel that yielded just 25 hectoliters per hectare, while this parcel produced 35, noted Jean-Louis. Should make a lovely drink, though it’s hard to believe this wine will equal the ’99.
2003 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. VM 98. “Now we take the monster out of his cage,” Jean-Louis warned me before pouring this. Inky, almost black in color. Elemental, hugely concentrated and powerful on the nose, which slowly unveils aromas of dark cherry liqueur, blackberry, cassis, espresso and a deep note of sweet tobacco. Impossibly rich and dense on the palate (the yields in 2003 were off by two-thirds), showing myriad dark fruit and bitter chocolate flavors, with a suggestion of tapenade and an intense licorice quality. Remarkably, this takes on a mineral tone on the finish, which has the effect of further drawing out the amazingly powerful finish.
2007 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. VM 95-96. A real fruit bomb, with sexy aromas of red berries, cherry and cassis. Lithe and precise on the palate, with tangy mineral lift and very good cut. From Beaume: Exotic, intensely floral aromas of violet, lavender and magnolia. Sweet red fruits and spices on the palate, with the floral quality repeating. Again from Beaume: Spicy and mineral-driven, with sappy red berry flavors and gentle tannins. Less wild than the previous barrel. From L’Hermite: Musky cherry and dark berry aromas are complicated by minerals and underbrush. Fleshy dark berry and cherry pit flavors cling nicely to the palate. From Meal: A very rich sample, offering powerful cherry and cassis scents and a suavely smoky mineral note. Sappy and broad on the palate, displaying sweet kirsch and smoked meat qualities. From Bessards: Deep, strongly perfumed bouquet evokes cherry, cassis, cured meat and licorice. Firm and chewy, with deep dark berry flavors and slow-building tannins. “This will provide the spine of the final wine,” Chave told me. Again from Bessards: Hypnotic aromas of raspberry, candied cherry and incense, with a fresh lashing of minerals. Brisk and focused, with wonderfully pure red fruit flavors and silky texture. Impossibly pure and long on the finish. The final wine will be a riot of red and darker berry fruits, with excellent freshness and clarity.
pork belly noodles. chili crunch . black eyed peas . pickled veggies. Great noodle dish with a very bright light flavor with crunchy bits of rich pork belly. Vague Thai vibe like many dishes here.
braised crispy lamb. kabocha squash stew . pumpkin seed . locust bean yogurt. This was the weakest dish of the night. Some of the lamb was overcooked and dry and I don’t really like squash at all. But still it wasn’t bad.
grilled corn. spiced coconut caramel . cotija . tajin. Definately a hint of Thai going on here but this was some seriously delicious corn on the cobb with a kind of sweet and spicy vibe.
sautéed green beans. fish sauce vinaigrette . cashews. Interesting. Nicely cooked, still very crispy, with a richess from both the mayo-like-dressing and the cashews.
grilled whole branzino. thai style sweet n’ sour . mung bean apple pomelo salad . pickled vegetables. Very strong Thai flavor pattern with coconut and a light curry flavor. Delicious with a nice textural interplay between the soft fish and the crispy fruits and veggies (vaguely like a papaya salad).
2008 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. VM 91-93. Highly floral bouquet of raspberry, blackberry, violet and Asian spices. Silky in texture, with sweet, fleshy, vibrant red fruit flavors joined by a late note of tangy minerals. From Peleat: Spicy cherry and dark fruit aromas give way to a deeper plum quality with air. Weighty blackberry and kirsch flavors are framed by dusty tannins and pack a solid punch. Surprisingly ripe for this vintage. From L’Hermite: Intensely mineral scents of strawberry, cherry and herbs. Dry and tightly wound, with bitter cherry and tangy red berry flavors. Firm but not tannic, with good finishing cut. From Meal: Ripe cherry and blackcurrant on the nose, plus a hint of cracked pepper. Full, chewy and gently sweet dark fruit flavors are braced by tangy minerals and close on a smoky note. From Bessards: Impressively fresh red berry aromas, with notes of Asian spices, minerals and potpourri. Very elegant in style, with pinot-like clarity and red fruit drive. Finishes with excellent vivacity and spicy persistence. The ultimate wine should be attractive early but looks balanced to age.
2009 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. VM 96. Drop-dead, highly aromatic bouquet of red berries, incense and potpourri, with concentrated spiciness. From Beaume: Deeper and riper (15.5% alcohol, according to Chave), with intense cassis and blueberry character and hints of licorice and bitter chocolate. From L’Ermite: Heady aromas of red and dark berry preserves, licorice and violet, with a strong note of fruitcake. From Meal: Mineral-driven dark berry and cherry aromas and flavors, with silky tannins that gain strength with air. Really expands on the back end. From La Mortine, in L’Hermite: Powerful, pungent scents of dried red fruits, cherry-cola and licorice. More floral with air. Finishes with gentle grip and dusty minerality. From Bessards, a granite and clay parcel: Distinctly smoky and rich, offering deep blackberry and bitter cherry flavors that become sweeter with air. From Bessards, all granite: Sexy red fruits and minerals on the spicy, perfumed nose. Sweet and penetrating, repeating the red fruit note emphatically. Chave says that this might be the base for Cuvee Cathelin if it develops on the trajectory he anticipates. The final 2009 wine should be a lively, precise and attractively floral-accented wine, with excellent fruit intensity and strong minerality.
goat curry. masa chips . radish . pickled veggies. The goat curry version of Heuvos Rancheros? Interesting with the meaty curry and a lot of really crunchy and flavor-infused chips mixed in. Delicious and addictive.
sticky glazed pork shank. shiitake . asian pear . hoisin mayo . hot mustard . naan . lettuce cups. The first of our two big meat plates this fatty delectable but also sweet and crunchy meat could be arranged into various taco-like configurations or eaten by itself. A little like Chinese pork hock.
The pork itself and lettuce wrap options.
Sauces for the pork.
My lettuce taco.
2011 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. VM 94-95. Tough to read initially, displaying scents of dried cherry, cassis and smoked meat. Chewy and deeply pitched, with sneaky spice and mineral notes coming up with air. #2, from Peleat: Fresher and more red-fruity, with intense spiciness and a hint of candied violet. Shows an appealing silkiness. #3, from L’Hermite: Explosively perfumed bouquet evokes candied red fruits, fresh flowers and minerals, with a hint of Asian spices. Juicy and precise, with strong finishing cut and focus. #4, from Meal: Exotic, floral accented red berry preserve and spicecake aromas and flavors. Sappy and precise, with excellent finishing lift and cut. #5, from Bessards: The wildest of this set, with deep cherry and dark berry character and impressive power. Finishes smoky and long, with resonating spiciness. The bottled wine should be surprisingly dense and dark-fruited for the year, with solid structure and the capacity to age.
2015 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. VM 97. Youthful purple color. Mineral-accented dark berries, star anise, cola, olive and pungent flowers on the explosively perfumed nose. Offers impressively concentrated, expansive flavors of black raspberry, spicecake, smoked meat and candied flowers that are complicated by licorice candy and dark chocolate notes that sneak in on the back half. Sweet, sappy and precise on the floral- and dark fruit-driven finish, which shows outstanding clarity and round, harmonious tannins that build smoothly and steadily. (Drink between 2028-2040)
The second of our big plates was the pre-order house special Goat Shoulder. It came with pickles, various breads, lettuce wraps, and many sauces.
The crunchy fried tortilla-like breads were incredible.
So I couldn’t resist using a diet-busting “bread” for my goat wrap.
almond & citrus. almond buttercake . citrus ice cream . kumquats . blood orange gastrique . brown butter fun crunch. Very pleasant citrus, almost passionfruit-like flavors and texture texture variation (which is a theme at GATG).
The Chaves were incredible tonight. Every bottle was in perfect shape. The 1989 white was super complex, mellow, and “young.” The 85, 00, and 03 were particular standouts of the reds — but they were all very nice. Even the young ones were very approachable. Superb wine and paired very well with the zesty flavors here.
Food here is really good. Almost all of the dishes were really tasty. Very savory, fatty, salty and all that, but full of zest and punch. Chef Izzard was in the house on the night we went.