Vegas Uncork’d Preview @ Bourbon Steak (Los Angeles, CA)
237 S Brand Blvd
Glendale, CA 91204
Dining date: 3/27/14
Bourbon Steak is Michael Mina’s return to the Los Angeles restaurant scene since the closure of XIV in 2011. This is Mina’s fifth location of the steakhouse, a restaurant blending a traditional steakhouse with modern touches, joining San Francisco, Scottsdale, Washington DC, and Miami. Located right next to ever-popular Din Tai Fung, the duo has created a dining hotspot at the Americana at Brand.
This meal served two purposes – to sample Bourbon Steak and to serve as a preview for Bon Appetit’s Vegas Uncork’d in May. I’m a huge fan of Vegas Uncork’d and thus was very excited for this one. The festival has turned into one of the largest of its kind in the nation and Mina, who has four restaurants in Vegas, is a big participant each year.
I’ve attended Vegas Uncork’d in three previous years and it’s become a bit of a family tradition, a dining highlight each year. Dozens of chefs nationwide (worldwide, really) converge on Vegas for one weekend over 30 or so events. See my recaps of the Grand Tasting event in both 2012 and 2013. This year’s lineup looks as strong as ever.
Duck Fat Fries ketchup, barbecue sauce, truffle aioli
The meal began with these fries fried in duck fat. These were delicious with a perfect crispy exterior and fluffy interior, sprinkled with fresh herbs. The trio of sauces were good too, but we didn’t even need them.
Heirloom Beet cypress grove goat cheese, black olive vinaigrette
Chateau Breze Saumur, Loire Valley, France 2012
Moving into the first course, we centered in on this sweet beet. Refreshing beet and citrus flavors were grounded by the goat cheese and olive; I really liked the pistachio crumble for texture.
Black Truffle Roll
This was delicious. Bread service consisted of this lone roll warm out of the kitchen. Flakes of black truffles hid within the folds yielding a strong earthy, buttery flavor in each bite.
Lamb’s Tongue & Morel Mushroom Risotto garbanzo, snap & english pea, meyer lemon
Domaine de Montille Beaune ‘Les Aigrots ler Cru, Burgundy 2012
A rich and creamy risotto was up next. The risotto was well done and I really liked the fresh pea and bright meyer lemon flavors to go along with the rich, flavorful lamb. I just wish there was a little more than two small pieces of the tongue.
Crispy Skin Red Snapper curried coconut, shrimp fried rice, daikon salad
Tatomer Riesling ‘Kick-On Ranch’ Santa Barbara 2011
As advertised, the snapper did have a good crispy skin and moist flesh. I found the spot prawn, however, to be less successful being mealy in texture. The fried rice, packed into a rice cake, was crispy and really picked up the curried coconut sauce well.
Ahead of our steak course, Mina and his Bourbon Steak chef de cuisine talked beef. Cuts are prepared sous vide in an aromatic clarified butter then finished on the wood grill.
Duo of American Wagyu prime rib eye and center-cut flat iron
Samsara Syrah ‘Turner,’ Santa Rita Hills 2010
I thought these were both excellent; the cap of the ribeye was separated from the eye to really draw out the differences. The luscious richness of the cap was evident, though the leaner eye was tasty in its own right. The flatiron perhaps displayed the beefiest flavor, yet still very tender. Each were cooked just right with an assortment of sides.
Baby Artichoke a la Grecque
Black Truffle Mac & Cheese
My favorite had to be the truffle mac and cheese. The pasta kept its chewy texture and the truffle really came through.
To finish, a sampling of desserts were offered.
Bourbon Caramel Cake
Lemon Chiffon Cake
Orange Creme Cake
I found each of these to be pretty solid options with my favorite being the lemon chiffon. Bright lemon flavors came through in the cake, complemented by fresh fruit. Not too sweet and not too heavy.
I had a very good meal at Bourbon Steak and thought it was a great preview to whet the appetite for Vegas Uncork’d. While I expected the steaks to be spot on, the meal showed off the rest of the restaurant’s menu which was pretty well-rounded. I need to return here and try more of the steaks before I can deem it in the pantheon of top LA steakhouses, but this first meal showed it deserves strong consideration.
Thanks to GastronomyBlog for the invite!
Note: This was a hosted meal.
I want to go back for cocktails at the piano bar and truffle rolls. Maybe a slice of cake too!
I’ll come too…and add on a steak!