TN 070323 – Wilson’s Restaurant
While in L.A. for a legal conference, Lynn and I met some old friends and went to Wilson’s Restaurant – http://www.wilsonfoodandwine.com – in Culver City for dinner. “Youthful,” “hip,” and “trendy” are all words that could quite easily describe the décor. The chef is Michael Wilson, son of the late Dennis Wilson of Beach Boy-fame, and he is very talented indeed.
We began our meal with a couple of appetizers to share – a serving of tea-smoked whitefish, topped with a healthy dollop of tobiko that was pure, clean and oh-so-delicious, and an absolutely superb beef-stuffed calamari with horseradish aioli that almost takes on the character and quality of a marrow bone. With this, we shared a bottle of
2004 “Terre di Tufi,” Vino da Tavola, Terruzi & Puthod (Tuscany, Italy): Bright, clear, and wonderfully aromatic, with orange blossoms, apricots, peaches and more, accented by a light mineral note; in the mouth, it was crisp and clean, with firm acidity, silky texture and nice fruit, which lingers through the moderately long finish. Very fine indeed.
Moving into our main courses, we had a jidori chicken crusted in cilantro pesto & wasabi mashed potatoes that was just wonderful; a “slowww roasted” pork with African spices, maple grits, hominy & a cranberry barbeque sauce that was positively superb; and a “scallops” special that would have been sheer perfection if it wasn’t just a bit too salty. Instead, it was only delicious!
With these entrées, we decided to opt for a red. And here is where we ran into a serious problem.
All of the red wines in this restaurant – those not hidden away as “back stock” – are behind the bar, standing up, and on a shelf above the “pass through” where the food comes from the kitchen into the dining room. All the bottles, if ours is any indication, are sitting up there in what must be near-80° heat, at least. Our wine arrived, far too warm, and we needed an ice bucket for the bottle and ice cubes for our glasses. Once the wine was down to a proper temperature, the 2004 Nebbiolo di Langhe from the Produttori del Barbaresco was fine, but what would it/could it have been?
Additionally, while watching the staff re-stock some of the more popular wines during the course of our meal, it was clear they do not “rotate” the stock, meaning the new wines get placed in front of the ones already baking in the kitchen heat – thus insuring that if they aren’t damaged yet, they soon will be.
So what can you say about a restaurant with some truly excellent food and really poor wine service? Either stick with whites, or BYOB!
BTW, the espesso was pretty poor, too.