The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2016

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Page 98 of 100

98  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2016 After taking an incredible trip through Oaxaca, Michael Martensen conceived the idea for Madrina, a French-Mexican fusion restaurant get- ting rave reviews in Dallas. Already accomplished in the beverage program arena, Martensen has acquired a stellar list of Armagnac, Cognac, mezcal and tequila for the Madrina bar. "We're talking about two countries that produce the best beverages in the world," explains Martensen. "The months I spent putting together this bar pro- gram, it's probably the best six months I've had." Martensen found his way in to the hospitality industry very naturally. At 21, he took a job at a yacht club and "I was hooked. It's the energy aspect, the people; it's almost theatrical." His thirst for knowledge led him to positions at repu- table establishments like The Little Nell in Aspen and Topper's at The Wauwinet in Nantucket, where his talent became focused on the bar. Since moving to Dallas to work at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Martensen has opened three res- taurants and a consulting company, establishing himself as a leader in the Dallas hospitality scene. The focus of the beverage program at Madrina: quality and simplicity. "I appreciate the science of manipulating drinks, but I do like simplic- ity. Right now, I like the idea of a clean, three- ingredient, fresh drink. It's focused." Martensen's affinity for hospitality is a certain thread during our conversation. He genuinely enjoys his job and continually learning and engaging guests. "We're constantly tweaking. We just want to con- stantly create a better experience within these four walls." TAKING INVENTORY WITH . . . Interaction with guests— it's all about touching people and creating relationships. Travel: eating and drinking in different markets with people recommended within this tight network of ours. Finding passionate people and helping them learn and hone their skills. I can't lie: I love drinking! Cooking. I don't eat or drink just to nourish myself; I want it to touch the soul. Lack of respect for the profession. I'm doing what I love! The unhealthy nature of the lifestyle that goes along with being in the business, and the hardship the business can have on personal relationships. I don't like to be seen as the bad guy for calling out an employee for doing something he or she clearly knows is wrong. Cocktail menus with too much branding. Qualifying value: Value means something different to everyone. It's hard when a guest doesn't see the perceived value that I am hoping I am giving them. THE "5" LIST MICHAEL MARTENSEN'S TOP FIVE FAVES MICHAEL MARTENSEN'S TOP PET PEEVES MICHAEL MARTENSEN CO-FOUNDER, MADRINA, DALLAS by Allyson Gorsuch PHOTO COURTESY OF MADRINA

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