The SOMM Journal

December 2014/January 2015

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54 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2014/2015 { real somm stories } "IT'S A PRETTY BUSY SEASON," SAYS FABIEN JACOB, Sommelier for Bohanan's Prime Steaks & Seafood in San Antonio. "We're putting up big numbers these days. The holi - days are upon us and convention season is well underway." Located across the street from the historic Majestic Theater, Bohanan's is a long-standing downtown destination. And, since it's regularly on the short list of best restaurants in town, Jacob eventually concedes, "Actually, we're pretty busy all the time." Along with praising its cuisine, Jacob applauds Bohanan's approach to service; while the restaurant is a classic, pol - ished Texas steakhouse, the service feels more European. It's an ideal set-up for Jacob, a native of Lyon, France, who grew up in a restaurant family, trained in Paris and elsewhere in Europe, and retains a fondness for Old World standards. "Coming from the French side of the restaurant industry, it's very different. Over there, the service is like a ghost: 'I'm here when you need me, but I don't want to intrude,'" Jacob explains. "Service here in this country is closer to, 'Hey, let's be friends!' Both have their advantages, but I like how Bohanan's is a bit gentler in the approach." Jacob's wine list is large and broad in global representa - tion, varietal diversity and producer name-recognition. While strong on New World Cabs, it's also built to adapt to the food, customer expectations and these modern times. "There's a new style of Bordeaux coming out; it's oaky, not traditional," Jacob says. "I prefer Old World Bordeaux, but this style could have a place on our list because my customers lean toward the oakiness. If that fits in with their expectations then why not have it on the list? The list is for the customer, not for me." What is for Jacob these days? Slovenian Pinot Noir ("Old World–style and herbaceous") Franciacorta ("this Italian spar - kling wine is made in the méthode champenoise") and Walla Walla, Washington ("many well-balanced and elegant wines"). "Whatever it is," he insists, "the grape needs to be true to the area and the wine needs to be true to the grape." Whether he's dealing with Old World service or New World wines (or vice versa), there is one constant in Jacob's life: "It just gets busier here. We just added another 95 seats to the restaurant." Fabien Jacob SOMMELIER, BOHANAN'S PRIME STEAKS & SEAFOOD, SAN ANTONIO, TX by Anthony Head / photo by Kirk Weddle Fabien Jacob balances the Old World with the New at Bohanan's.

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