Last Month, I sent out a S.O.S. distress signal in wanting to dine at the steakhouse of the other Wolfgang. Mr. Zwenier's Wolfgang Steakhouse on Canon Dr. wasn't that bad as the decor and ambiance of the place was stellar, but the food did not quite live up to the beautiful standard of the place.
Immediately my bat signal was able to reach to Burumun of Gourmet Pigs, Kevin from kevinEats, and Tangbro1 of Only Eat What Feed Your Soul. With some nifty date searching, I was able to get a 6pm dining reservation on a Saturday. Too bad that the daylight savings didn't start until the following day as we did not get too much natural lighting in a dimly lit room. This restaurant is very practical for a place to impress your clients or a natural place for a romantic dinner. Either way you'll score major points for taking your most important person to this much buzzed restaurant, which gather One Star from the popular Michelin Guide.
Our service was excellent throughout the night. They were at our table at the precise moment when we needed them, but yet not too overbearing as they give you a room to breath. Our server for the night was a lovely young lady who was fantastic for the handling of our table, even at to face of four tourists busting out their cameras (kidding guys!). There was another server assisting in our table that had a slight resemblance to Adrian Grenier of TV's "Entourage". He was a total dead ringer to the young TV star and the young man even admits that he gets mistaken for Vincent Chase.
Before anything comes out, our server brings a tray of various types of meat for display of demonstration. She was showing us the difference in the cut for Sirloin, Filet Mignon, Rib Eye, and Bone In steaks. It was fascinating to see the inside of the meat and at the same time I was just salivating by looking it.
We were also quickly served with our choice from their baked pantry for starters while we get to take in the atmosphere before we wait for our meal to begin.
Our first dish to come out of the kitchen was the Kobe Steak Sashimi with Spicy Radishes. I felt this dish had a nice spicy flavor to it without overwhelming the rare beef. It was beautifully presented and I think it was good start to our meal.
The next four dishes required a little bit of imagination as I was awestruck by the how beautifully the plates were laid out. Luckily, I'm not jaded yet as I don't see too often on how wonderful a dish can look, but taste delicious at the same time.
In the past, I did described on how I love the blue fin toro at Hama Sushi. It was beautifully cut with the fat maintaining its beautiful appearance and flavor signified by its wonderful streak. Even though my photo does injustice as the low lighting started to kick in big time (as they dimmed down the light even more), I felt lost by blue fin toro at this place. I think the blue fin toro at a sushi place that is handled by the right sushi chef can display the fatty part of fish with its original intent. The other components in this tartare dish destroyed what I liked about the raw fish. The ginger was overwhelming, but nonetheless I thought it's still a very composed dish. I got the impression my table mates liked this blue fin toro dish much more than I did.
The Prime Sirloin tartare did played wonderfully on the satire of a steak and egg. As we stirred the aioli on the ground beef tartare, I was briefly trying to imagine a dish of spam coming right out of the can. Thankfully, it tasted nothing like the fake product as the flavor was fresh and the small amount of quail egg provided more tangy texture to the beef. Wonderfully played on the presentation of this dish.
Prime Sirloin Tartare with Herb Aioli & Mustard ($22)
The next two starters will complete our appetizers before our meal. The Warm Veal Tongue was my favorite of the night for the starters. I appreciate the complexity of the tongue mixed in with other flavor profiles such as sweet and tangy. Obviously playing fusion and while maintaining the tenderness, I was satisfy in that the sauces didn't masked the taste of the veal tongue. I was looking at this dish with so many things going on the plate, luckily the tongue still stood out.
The maple glazed pork belly was an odd choice for me because the name already sounded as if this dish still needed sweetness. In fact, I was right, it was too sweet. This dish badly needed to be more tender and slow cooked more like the short beef ribs we're about to be served. Best part of the night, we had a champagne of 2002 Jose Dhondt Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Mes Vieilles Vignes, which set us back about $122. The champagne ran out about now, but I was able to save it and wash down the pork belly and the blue fin toro tartare with no regrets.
Maple Glazed Pork Belly with Asian Spices, Watercress, Sesame-Orange Dressing, Rhubarb Compote ($16)
The two non-prime steak dishes were the 8-hour slow cooked Short Beef Ribs and the Tuna steak were a hit in my eyes. The chef took the liberty of evenly distribute the main courses into 6 pieces for each of us. Very thrilled about that so that we can get evenly cut meat and presented with no fuss.
The tuna steak I thought it was nicely cooked. In the menu, it stated that it qualify as a sashimi quality, which explains the rare feature on the inside. I felt mellow about the short ribs, but it all changes with the sweet pea puree surrounding the beef along with a touch of garam masala (mixture of spices) that gave it a hot, but not quite spicy taste. I felt a little pepper on the hotness as worked pretty well into dish.
8 Hrs Slow cooked Kobe Beef Short Ribs "Indian Spiced" w/ Curry Sweet Pea Puree, Garam Masala (R) - $39
Sashimi Quality Big Eye Tuna Steak (L) - $42
The moment of the night came when our steaks have arrived. We decided to take all four versions of the medium rare New York Sirloin steaks in the menu. There was a tasting sampler listed, but Kevin advised against it as he calculated based on his last visit that the value is not worth it with that order. The fact that we have six people gave us a chance to order variety of items and also drive down the per cost in the steak dishes. The four dishes of steak we ordered was a much better saving and value than if we had ordered the steak sampler.
Let me preface before we start on the steak, I love all four steaks we have that night. The New York Sirloin is part of the many names for the cut of top loin steak. Think of it like a porterhouse steak that has being stripped of choice portion of the tenderloin. Because of the balance in flavor and tenderness, the top loin can be very expensive of a cut.
My two favorite cut of the night were Bone-In New York Sirloin and the 35 Days Dry Aged New York Sirloin. Throw in a little controversy, those two were the least expensive than the wagyu beef. Was there's a big bruhah? Let's break it down:
All of the steak were grilled over hard wood & charcoal before finished in a 1200 degree broiler. The bone-in steak was fantastic with the bone in to add in more flavor than without a bone. One of my dining mate asked me why I thought a cheaper priced steak like bone-in was better. Most people don't realized that bone-in steak or chicken tends to be cheaper and taste better with the bone kept in tact. Plus it aged well at 21 days than without. The Illinois corn-fed bone in steak was probably my 2nd favorite of the night.
The 35 Days Dry Aged Steak was my favorite of the night. Out of the four cuts, it was the most rich and distinguished flavor out of the bunch. As the picture showed below against the bone-in steak, it has some marble patterns. Not quite as much as the wagyu obviously, but a distinguished feel that separated from its Midwest counterpart. The dry aged sirloin melted in my mouth with its juicy medium rare meat. No way of describing it as it hit the height of ecstasy in my mouth.
We are now heading towards the Wagyu territory and it really become the testament on whether or not wagyu at its price was worth it. Keep in mind of all the stories you might have heard of the cow being fed with beer and beer mush while being massaged with sake. This type of beef is often refer to as the "foie gois beef". It's often the most expensive steak to purchase and it's not easily cooked as many have tried to imported and cook it themselves at home. Failure will be theme of that story.
I do think both of the meat comes off very gamey. As you can see the texture of the meat, both of them are incredibly marbled and very high amount in unsaturated fat. The American "Kobe Style" which uses similar method as their Japanese counterpart. Because of the fact it's not raised in Kobe Japan, it's not considered a Kobe beef.
The Japanese Wagyu was the 100% real McCoy as it was very fatty. The rich aroma gave off a strong smell, while the steak may had been known for its marbling appearance, it's often times very gave out a dull color (compare it to the bone-in steak on the top picture). The juiciness and the strong rich flavor was very evident. For some, it's an acquire taste and I can see a lot of doggy bag taking the Wagyu beef home in that fancy "The Cut bag" I have noticed popping in every table that has the Wagyu beef.
The American version of Wagyu is not as rich or bold in flavor like their Japanese counterpart. Even though it's not my favorite, I still enjoyed the subtle tone of its rich flavor profile, but it lack the juiciness I thought it would had. Some of our dining mates thought this was the best, so it can be the sheer difference in the cut as I missed my luck.
American Wagyu/Angus "Kobe Style" Beef from Snake River Farms, Idaho
New York Sirloin (8 oz $75) *1/6
Seeing on how overall we enjoyed our meal, we tempted our faith in desserts as at this point I was getting full. Since we all wanted to share the desserts, we decided to cut in half and go ahead to order three desserts. Our Vince Chase look-alike server made an educated guess that we all wanted the Soufflé and crumble. Somehow someone in our table thought we should get the "donuts". For $14, that better be an orgasmic donuts.
Brooke Cherry Toasted Almond Crumble, Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream ($14)
It was a sweet surprise to see how much I enjoyed all three of the desserts, especially the crumble. With Ice cream mixing with the cherry toasted almond crumble, it was a delightful dessert. As in for the donut? Somebody mentioned it was better than French Laundry. I'm going to keep that in mind and skipped that when I decided to make my visit to Yountville.
Warm Brioche Doughnuts, Huckleberry Compote, Butter Pecan Ice Cream ($14)
For the souffle? Someone need to tell Notorious P.I.G. to mix in the ice cream first before crumbling the souffle. I might need to revoke her dessert credentials before she destroyed another dessert.
Overall, we were treated to a very good service and a very excellent courses. Not all of them were a hit, but was a winner in my book. Two wines, six starters, six main courses, and three desserts added up to a grand total of $185 for each foodie. Definitely not cheap and more of a luxury. I can safely say that I'll never look at Ruth Chris's or Outback the same way again.
I'll definitely will be back there soon. However, only for that real special occasion!
9500 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212