The famed Sunset Marquis is a beautiful Mediterranean-style all-suite hotel in the heart of West Hollywood. It’s known as a favorite for musicians, record execs, and celebs alike for it’s first class amenities and secluded nature. Musicians can go directly from laying down some vocal tracks in the recording studio located in the basement, to downing some Jack Daniels at the bar.
I had only previously been to the Sunset Marquis one time in the late nineties. In typical Hollywood fashion, I met with some music friends who where there to meet up with a possible record investor at the Whiskey Bar (now called Bar 1200). And like a true Hollywood story, he died of a cocaine overdose several years later, but that’s another story. I had never made it any further than the bar, until this past weekend, when I attended a Bordeaux dinner at the Restaurant inside the hotel.
I got the invite from a friend and Sommelier at Regency Wines for the dinner. Regency Wines is an importer and distributor of fine wines here in Los Angeles. They also host events occasionally, and this one was a special one indeed. A five-course meal, each course paired with Bordeaux from Chateau Lagrange, Chateau Rauzen-Segla, and Chateau Canon, prepared for us by Chef Guillaume Burlion.
The Restaurant is beautiful, a garden oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle. The outdoor bar is perfect for a pre-dinner cocktail, and most everyone is eating outside on this warm spring evening. We’ve got the entire indoor seating area to ourselves, but the large glass doors in the dining room opened up to the patio, letting a cool breeze into the room as we’re served our first course. To start off, a glass of white Bordeaux 07 Les Arums de Lagrange. It’s served with a sautéed langoustine with foie gras over a petite herb salad. I’ve never had a white Bordeaux before and it’s really quite nice. The wine was light and refreshing, not too sweet or dry. The langoustine and foie gras were delicious and paired well with the wine.
The second course, and my favorite, was the morel crusted sea bass with a roasted garlic confit. The delicious mushrooms and mild garlic confit were simply heavenly on the tender sea bass. Paired with the fish were a 03 and 05 Chateau Rauzan Segla Bordeaux. That’s right, you heard correct, when we hit our second course they were pairing each dish with two different vintages of the same wine. We were able to taste and compare the different nuances of the different vintages.
Lucky for us, the wineries were there to help talk us through the complex differences of the wines. Some with mellower tannins due to extra years in the bottle, some more fruit forward because of weather the year the grapes were harvested. Or second course came with a Chateau Lagrange 95 and 01. It was paired with crispy suckling pig in potato crust in a fresh sage fumet. As good as this sounds, the dish itself was bland, a little mushy, and not crispy at all. It was too complicated, and I couldn’t’ tell what exactly I was eating.
The next dish, a filet of Canadian Elk was apparently hunted from a Helicopter. Unfairness aside, I guess it’s better than our typical slaughter houses where we buy most of our store bought beef from. It was paired with a 98 and 05 Chateau Canon. The elk was similar to buffalo, almost no marbled fat, slightly tough, but decadent and flavorful with the sea pike quenelles and a Bordeaux reduction sauce.
For dessert, a cannele de Bordeaux with crème anglaise served with a Tariquet Bas Armagnac dessert wine. The cannele was delicious, but not being much a dessert wine fan, and after consuming 7 other, very generous tastings, we opted out of the final glass of wine.