uni for scale or it didn’t happen
Angler’s corkage fee for LA (and I believe the exact same for SF)
$50 for each of the first two 750mL bottles of wine, $100 per 750mL bottle thereafter
Problem with a large and deep wine list is unless you have something so niche you know they won’t carry it or don’t have that particular vintage, you run the risk of bringing something they already have. But likely not an issue with the geekiest oenophiles who are probably way more prepared and have already figured it out.
The part that will always kill me, is that some of the best sake or wine pairings are with cheaper bottles that generally cost less than corkage, and not the fancy expensive ones, yet the pairing with the food is truly excellent (just speaking in general, though not always the case). Did that before, of course don’t let the restaurant know or some will think you are taking the piss. Although nothing wrong with baller bottles, sometimes you just have to spoil yourself and your friends rotten if you can afford to (or frequently if you can really afford to).
If Bruce Lee were a sommelier: Be wine or sake, my friend.
The web site says “sample wine list,” but the PDF is generated by BinWise, which suggests that it’s real-time inventory, or close to it.
Some of the markups aren’t high. E.g. Picariello Fiano is $45, undiscounted retail in California is $22.
Went Sunday night, it was about 1/3 full during the time we were there. It was a bit jarring to leave behind the bright, hard, concrete parking structure with its sad fountain and walk into an expansive space bathed in warmth and fire on one side in the open kitchen, and cooly lit in blue on the side with the tanks. Fake shark on that wall was a little corny, but whatever - you can choose to look at the “1 comma crab” underneath it. (Definitely helped to distract from the fact that I was at the mall where I worked my first job during high school. ) Hachiya persimmons, various post-fillet fish carcasses, and aromatics hung over the prep areas, presumably to dry/age.
Service is unobtrusive and more fine dining style - condiments and dishes brought and thoroughly explained, plates and silverware changed as necessary, glasses kept filled, manager-looking type checking in, great pacing. One notable detail was that whether you were a post-shopping party of two sharing just a few small dishes, or a large party ordering large-format (cough more expensive cough) dishes and drinks, you were treated with the same professional courtesy and not an ounce of the condescension I’ve seen at some other popular restaurants.
Another plus? There is PLENTY of space between tables; nobody is sliding their ass across your plate as they squeeze into the seat next to you. Volume on the “shitty 80s music” (per the Saveur article @robert posted) is loud enough to hear the song but not so loud as to drown out conversation.
On to the food.
Daisy - tequila, passionfruit, pisco.
Oysters (Kusshi, Shigoku, and Pacific Gold) - very good. The seaweed vinegar > cocktail sauce.
Radicchio - ridiculous. Would go back for this alone. Our server described the radicchio “XO” as a radicchio reduction with a touch of sherry vinegar topped with crunchy fried onions, garlic, and shallots.
Sea bream ceviche - A very good rendition of ceviche with a hint of lemongrass(?). Not mind-blowingly good, but fun to eat, like cracking the top of creme brulee and trying to get a good ratio of sweet crunchy stuff to soft stuff underneath.
Live spot prawns - cooked perfectly, sauce was redolent with shrimp-essence and so nice sopped up with the parker house rolls. (Thanks for the pro-tip, @PorkyBelly!)
Potatoes. Crunchy at first bite, tender in the middle, just really nice texturally. Cheese was fine.
Box crab - served with drawn butter and cocktail sauce. Sweet, delicate flesh, perfectly cooked, difficult to eat because of the spines, even though the legs were pre-cut. (Spoon some of the custardy innards onto a roll, sprinkle with the bbq salt - yum.) Parker house rolls with cultured seaweed butter in the background - a must get for all the dipping opportunities, and that butter tho.
No dessert because two of us were stuffed after all this. Didn’t think it was prohibitively expensive, especially given the quality of the ingredients and the amount of work that goes into dishes like the radicchio. (Per a FB post - “The outer leaves and aromatics are cooked slowly over the embers, and then aged above the fire for a few days. Those aromatics are gently simmered into a radicchio XO sauce, and seasoned with a dressing of radicchio vinegar and XO.”) It’s not hard to spend this much or more at a lot of places around town. Sure, they aren’t located on the basement level of a second-tier mall, but easy, free parking has to count for something in this town, no?
On the enormous wine book. Is that ridiculously showoff-y or a wine connoisseur’s dream? I don’t get it. Some prankster (with time on their hands) should go over there and make the staff wait while they go over the entire book. I mean, that’s what it’s made for, right?
after-dinner bang after a few amuse bouches at kato.
angler reserve caviar
combine this with the warm, soft, slightly sweet, buttery banana pancake and banana butter for a perfectly balanced, decadent, and delicious baby fish taco @TheCookie, @Chowseeker1999, @Bookwich, @attran99
kusshi (vancouver island, bc), shigoku (willapa bay, wa), pacific gold (morro bay, ca), grassy bar (morro bay, ca)
excellent oysters and the smoky, sweet embered tomato cocktail sauce was the best i’ve ever had.
soft serve sundae
frozen chocolate bar
like a frozen snickers bar with hazelnuts
No way?!? That all looks so amazing!
I know! I can’t even imagine the flavor profile of caviar & banana. And that Snicker Bar!
It’s an impressive wine list. Helps them with Michelin and Pellegrino.Page count is bumped up by a lot of white space, e.g. page 73 has only three wines on it. Anyone who’s daunted by the selection can talk with one of their highly trained somms.
The first time I went I was by myself so looked through the whole book out of curiosity. Typically with a big list I’ll skim some sections that interest me looking for the best values.
Okay. About how many wines do you think are in the book?
There are around 1500 wines in the sample PDF.
Bananas and caviar?! That’s craziness right there, lol. Be honest, did it taste good?
So not my world I guess.
Nice wine list. Lots of empty space on pages though. I did not get far past the whites section.
Trimbach Clos Ste. Hune 2007 for $275 is either a typo or a steal because it retails for about that much.
Didier Dagueneau 2010 for $225 - strange listing as they produce 3 or 4 different Pouilly Fume wines and the price can vary depending on the cuvee.
The list appears broad but not very deep, hence lots of blank space on nearly every page. Some nice white burgundy options as well as a few sub-$100 bottles that I would imagine work well with their food.
Hope the have a helpful somm there to navigate.
I think Mark Bright likes to put a few special values on the list for people savvy enough to recognize them. Could be they got a good deal from a distributor closing out that vintage.
I think they always have at least one somm on the floor and more on busy nights.
Had it twice now
IMHO caviar really needs nothing to be enjoyed immensely, and many of the things (the collective) “we” do are not really of any help to it (raw onion for example totally mystifies me)
But this works really well
Ditto for oysters
it was delicious and i would order it again #worthit
I knew it was going to be good at “cut into the shapes of dolphins”