The SOMM Journal

February / March 2017

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114 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 closing time OF ALL THE ICONIC STEAKHOUSES in the U.S., none blends the mahogany and marble esthetic with Martinis and hometown camaraderie quite as well as the Metropolitan Grill in Seattle, WA. Here, it is not out of the realm of possibility that you could find yourself at the bar, tucking into a steak, flanked by Bill Gates on one side and Russell Wilson on the other. It would be easy to steer the wine list toward the well-fleshed-out yet perfunctory options that one often sees at steakhouses. However, with Aaron Wood-Snyderman at the helm of the Met's 2,600 item list, the selection is anything but banal. Snyderman joined the team in 2011, when one of the sommeliers on staff retired. "This is a restaurant that more often has people leave via retirement," explains Snyderman. "I was one of very few sommeliers hired from out- of-house. Normally we promote people onto the wine team from within our current ranks." So when the offer was made to work here, he jumped at the opportunity. "The Metropolitan Grill was always a go-to institution for me when I wanted great food and an amazing experience. As a guest, I always left The Met happy. The opportunity to be part of a team that excels at making people happy was impossible to pass up." Snyderman was appointed Wine Director in 2016 and quickly set his sights on Wine Spectator's Grand Award. The past year was spent extend - ing verticals, adding to their offerings in all formats and building what was already an amazing program into something just a little bit better. "Is it necessary for our wine list to carry Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulée de Serrant? No. We haven't in the past. But is it an amazing, iconic wine that should be on any truly great wine list? Yes. So now we have it." Even with Grand Award goal in the crosshairs (he is submitting the neces - sary materials as we go to print on this issue), Snyderman remains grounded in the experience of his guests and the over-arching goal of the restaurant. "Make People Happy" THE ONLY MANDATE FOR AARON WOOD-SNYDERMAN OF THE METROPOLITAN GRILL IN SEATTLE by Karen Moneymaker PHOTO COURTESY OF AARON WOOD-SNYDERMAN Aaron Wood-Snyderman Says . . . "The only mandate that I've been given by management is to make people happy. Not selling expensive wine, not wringing out peo- ples wallet . . . just to make people happy. That's what thrills me every day that I work." "I feel very strongly that a wine list based solely on my personal preferences would be a poorly built list. My job is to judge the wines I taste for quality using my palate, region, vin- tage, varietal and price point as my markers." "I love that if someone wants to come in and buy a 375 ml. bottle of Ornellaia, they can. If they want to buy Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, they can. If they want to buy a 6 liter bottle of Dominus, they can. If 1990 Pétrus is your thing, we have it. But . . . if a classic, minerally Chablis is your thing, we have it. If you love oxidative style Chenin Blanc, we have it. We work hard to offer as many different styles of wine at as many different price points as we can." "Wine should always be about pleasure, and we get the opportunity—not just at The Metropolitan Grill, but at every restaurant, every tasting room, every wine store—to make it exactly that, every day. We are privi- leged to get to work in this industry. I always have that thought in the back of my head." THE SIDE BAR

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