A Californian visit is not without a special look at a beef restaurant – and there are several around the place established in the 1920s, 50s and more recently just last month. The talk of the town amongst concierges currently is Lark Creek Steak, smack under the dome in the new Westfield Shopping Centre in downtown in Market Street. And with Fleet Week on, and lots of hungry sailors milling around, seats at this place were at a premium.

With red meat in mind why not seek out two west coast reds; Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (AUD 13.20 glass) was superlative Washington State cabernet. The beguiling moments were its nose concentration without oak interference and terrific tight, minty, juicy highly-toned tannins of a polished cool region red, 95% cabernet, 5% merlot (94), 14.5%. www.ste-michelle.com This wine stood up to a 28 day dry-aged prime rib eye, bone in, 450g served with horseradish (AUD 54). The beef was not overly large, the rib had been cut in two, but served with absolute top flavour. Many US meat halls now pointing customers to their beef cuts which are dry-aging in a special display section. It’s worth the experience and my personal butcher is now drying a whole rump.

With a 170g petite fillet-eye (AUD 33.30) was Audelssa Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (AUD 16.70) on the Western slopes of the Mayacamus Mountains in Somoma Valley, 14.6%. This is powerful, ripe, dusty, earthy style cabernet with moderated oak and moderated tannin, but more in the bruiser mould than with elegance (90). www.audelssa.com Served with the beef was green tomatoes which turned out to be deep fried, not sautéed, which were consequently a bit out of kilter for the style of this restaurant. Say no to deep fried!

The third red wine did not work – Jayson Napa Valley Red 2005-turned out to be merlot (73%), cabernet, franc, petit verdot and malbec. It’s one of those reds on steroids-a bang of oak to smell, then just so much of everything. The unfortunate thing is when these type of wines breathe the high oak level comes to the fore, and the nose goes oak-oily, and a hot palate does not assist, 15.3% makes flavour matching with a beef a difficult pastime. www.pahlmeyer.com/wine-jayson

Lake Creek Steak, 845 Market Street San Francisco is very good value, 14.5/20; AUD 86 px; a new restaurant which will appease red meat people in the heart of downtown San Francisco.

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