The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 134 of 136

134  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2015 S ome people seem destined to be in the restaurant business, and Micah Clark is one of them. The Kansas native began working in food concessions at the University of Kansas in Lawrence when he was just 15, moving on to his first restaurant job at 17. He dreamed of opening his own restaurant and a local chef mentor told him he should check out the hospitality program at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. Clark shipped off to Upstate New York and earned a B.S. at Cornell, concentrating on restaurant operations; stints at Ithaca's Statler Hotel and New York City's Tribeca Grill followed. A position with restaurant software and consulting firm Avero took him from New York to Las Vegas and then to Dallas. When a friend mentioned a position at Steak & Whisky, a sleek new steakhouse in the upscale Los Angeles seaside enclave of Hermosa Beach, he jumped at the opportunity. Not a bad trajectory for a seasoned industry veteran who is just 27. As GM and Sommelier, Clark's goal for Steak & Whisky's wine list is to educate patrons of the burgeoning local restaurant scene on classic regions and styles. He's a huge fan of Bordeaux, but the reality of "being in California, where Cabernet is king" means that a substantial portion of his list of 200-plus wines is dedicated to California Cabs, from classic selections to more obscure discoveries, such as Napa Valley's Bremer Family Winery, Odette and Favia Cerro Sur. Already a Certified Sommelier, Micah plans to pursue certification as an Advanced Sommelier with The Court of Master Sommeliers, and as an avid home brewer, he is also a student with the Cicerone Society. Whisk(e)y, of course, is prominent at a restaurant called Steak & Whisky. "Whisk(e)y is underrated in terms of its ability to pair with food," Clark says, "but bourbon is also extremely popular as an after-dinner drink, along with smoky Scotches." The restaurant's clientele is appreciative of Clark's after- dinner wine offerings, too. "I've been blown away by the quantity of dessert wine we sell, including Sherry and tons of Madeira. And a lot of icewine as well." From single malts to local craft brews to Rioja Gran Reservas and Willamette Pinots, it's all in a day's work for Micah Clark. And then he's got that special bottle of sparkling wine waiting in the fridge at home. THE "5" LIST Micah Clark's Top Five Faves Passionate staff. Having a team who genuinely enjoys coming to work to learn and make people happy makes my job easier and improves my experience when I'm out dining. Getting out of your "comfort zone." Sometimes you have to be pushed; it doesn't always work well, but it's the best way to find hidden gems. High-acid wines. Whether white or red, they make every- thing taste fresher and keep you coming back for more. The crazy growth in the world of whisk(e)y. Kentucky and Scotland are still kings but there's a whole lot more to that iceberg! The increased level of wine and spirits knowledge among our guests, creating more great tableside conversations and being pushed to learn more every day. Micah Clark's Top Five Pet Peeves Not minding your details. If the team is only focused on the big picture during service, you're missing out on creating a truly memorable experience. No-showing or late can- cellations for restaurant reservations. Being rude to restaurant staff. Big, flabby, jammy wines. Under-trained staff who don't know the essentials of the beverage program. 3 4 5 1 2 1 2 3 4 5 Micah Clark Taking Inventory with. . . GENERAL MANAGER AND SOMMELIER, STEAK & WHISKY, HERMOSA BEACH, CA by David Gadd PHOTO: LANEWOOD STUDIO At just 27, Micah Clark is already a seasoned hospitality veteran.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - July 2015