The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2014

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Page 107 of 136

december 2014  /  the tasting panel  /  107 And what a list it is! Coche Dury, Ramonet, the very best from all over the world. I will just come out and ask: Who is doing the pricing? Many of these items could be considered less than retail! You are correct. Rather than a standard percent- age, we decided to take everything and add a fair margin onto it. We don't have a lot of storage space and we want all the wines on the list to move. People don't expect us to have DRC, so we love to surprise them. Most of all, the menu and the wine list really complement each other. I've always felt that was the very best form of advertising. Put incredible wines on the list at more than fair prices. There is no better way to get wine lovers in the door. And back again. It has worked that way so far. We always have a fair number of reservations, but the walk-in business is amazing. This location is perfect for just taking a stroll and eating something fantastic with an awesome wine. Your waitstaff must be really busy pulling corks! With these great wines at these prices, I see a lot of bottle versus glass sales. I've been saving this one just for you: Our waitstaff doesn't pour wine. We have two sommeliers that pour every glass and open every bottle: Andrew Cox and myself. Whether it's 50 covers or 200 covers, that's how we do it. Ah, the rebirth of the sommelier in the modern world. I love it. Does that mean that the staff isn't involved? Absolutely not! Every Saturday we have staff training and tasting of both wines and cocktails. We recently featured three styles of Rioja: no oak, American oak and French oak. My favorite is when we were studying Chablis. Afterward we sat down and served lunch to the team with all the best crus and producers. It was incredible. I see you feature bar seating and a communal table. Does that work for you here? I've heard pros and cons. It really does. We don't have a huge space and because of the walk-in trade, everyone is happy to just to find a place to sit. I think it has to be the right neighborhood, and this is definitely it. I know you love Champagne. And you just gave me a glance at a long list of very small growers listed with some of the best of the larger houses. Something special going on here? There sure is. You'd better show up for Champagne Monday! We feature all these incredible Champagnes at a 20-percent discount. It started when some friends in the trade started showing up on Monday and grew into a regular event. We triple the number of bottles of Champagne sold. I'm looking at the menu and I don't see a hamburger? What is that all about? That was a conscious decision. Instead, we feature a fried duck sandwich made from confit de canard. Look at our beef tartare: It's nothing like the traditional recipe. Not even an egg. Let's have a glass of wine. You'll love this; I brought a Chianti, the Cecchi 2008 Riserva di Famiglia Chianti Classico. A great family and a great wine. When you visit there and see the villages, the elevations and the microclimates you realize what incredible wine can be made. If I got this, I'd be very happy; it's what Chianti should taste like: dark fruit, classic flavors, well-made. I would love this with the fried duck sandwich! And with your history, where is the pasta? I don't see a lot. For pasta, go see my dad and Suzette at Acquerello! We feature three dishes that are unique to our concept and chef. Well, I won't have far to walk. So what do you want to change about the world of wine? I love the mix of wine and cocktails. Christopher Longoria is my Bar Manager and he is an artist. There is no reason we can't always have a great selection of both and room for more. We list all the cocktails here by flavor and style, just like a wine list. Gianpaolo and Fred tasted the 2008 Cecchi Riserva di Famiglia Chianti Classico. "Our waitstaff doesn't pour wine. We have two sommeliers that pour every glass and open every bottle."

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