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Mark Sommelier

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  1. Mark Sommelier

    Ordering wine

    David, You will find a dramatic difference between top tier restaurants in Manhattan and causual restaurants in New Jersey in terms of advice from servers. I work in a fine restaurant. Our wine by the glass goes from $6 - $19. All are fine wines. Our restaurant has 2 sommeliers. Most restaurants don't have anyone familiar with wine. The easiest solution for many restaurateurs is to let one distributor manage their winelist. They get the winelist printed for free (I update my winelist daily, myself) and don't have to worry about ordering more wine because the one salesman is there all the time. What disturbs me as a wine professional of more than 20 years is the constant corporate dominance and presence in the market place. LVMH, as well as Constellation, Diageo, Mondavi, Kendall-Jackson Estates, Gallo and Canandaigua are huge players in the market. Google any one of those companies and you will see that they are billion + $ companies. 95% or more of Americans who go out to restaurants and drink wine, drink the wine from those companies.
  2. Fascinating? I think its downright hilarious.
  3. Nicely written article, Monica. Thanks
  4. All the dishes were on the menu. Being force fed foie gras isn't bad. I was really craving the frogs legs that they have at dinner, but that didn't happen. There weren't more than 20 people there at lunch. I'm sure everyone had the same food that I had. I want everyone to think about this: Quality and Quiet. What is that worth to you? Lots, I think.
  5. That may be true, but few if any chain hotels have a 3 star Michelin chef (Antoine Westermann) overseeing their restaurant operation and training their chefs.
  6. I had a marvelous lunch yesterday at Cafe 15 in the Sofitel Hotel at 15th and H. The many times I've been there it is always quiet. The food was very good. The chef sent us a 4 course lunch. The amuse of lobster was tasty. The first course was the foie gras terrine with freshly made apricot confiture. Beautiful clean foie gras terrine. Next was pan roasted rockfish on a bed of leeks and potato cubes. The firs was cooked perfectly: crusty outside, pearly white-almost translucent inside. Main course of stuffed guinea hen breast was very satisfying. The dessert of brioche pain perdu with beer flavored ice cream was over the top. The service was discrete and flawless. Why don't more people know about this place?
  7. O Minister! I envy you. The Vier Jahrzeiten hat the best breakfast in town. Jaleo is always fun. A Cowboy steak to finish it off. Enjoy it, you'll be eating Gerbers strained carrots next week.
  8. Bill, The main reason for your complaint and the fact that few people here have been there is because The Inn at Little Wasington is in Little Washington,Virginia, not Washington, DC. Also, because it is really expensive. A question: why doesn't Middleburg have a thread?
  9. Melrose at the Park Hyatt Hotel. Full appetizer buffet + menu selections for entree. Good pianist, too.
  10. The plantain chips on our table were gone in a nanosecond, prompting Mr. Rockwell to observe "giving the 4 of us one basket of plantains is like giving a man in the desert a thimble full of water".
  11. No, his mom calls the restaurant and orders egg rolls. She takes them home and freezes them before she mails them. I laughed my ass off when I heard about this last year.
  12. Michael, I was raised for a time in Levittown, NY. To this very day, my brother-in-law, Norman, judges every Chinese restaurant on the planet against Kwong Ming, a restaurant in in Cherrywood Plaza, Wantagh NY. His mother still sends 2 dozen frozen egg rolls to him in California from there every month! We have some damn good ones here in Washington. Screw egg rolls when there are live shrimp and dungeness crabs in the tanks.
  13. This restaurant will need its own thread very soon. Bart is a friend of mine and he is very talented.
  14. Very nice bar. We had the house margarita, which was tasty. There was a decent selection of tequila. The winelist is not completed and is very short. We had a pleasant cabernet from Baja in Mexico.
  15. I had dinner there last night. The crab ceviche, the tacos and the desserts were the stand out dishes. Service was attentive and friendly. The space is quite attractive, like Zaytinya in warm colors. This is also a tapas-style menu.
  16. Let's all flashmob Al Tiramisu and watch JU eat!
  17. Can't beat the Fried Oyster Po Boy at Johnnie's.
  18. Derek has already joined us here on line (he said cryptically) DEREK IS SO DREAMY!!
  19. I greatly admire the "Philly" Cheesesteaks at George's Townhouse "The King of Falafel" in Georgetown at 29th and M. Order the Super and ask for extra cheese and some tahini. It is MOST certainly the best sandwich you can get in DC till 4AM on Friday and Saturday.
  20. Having been, myself, a waiter, Captain, Maitre d', restaurant owner and sommelier, my question is this: What do all of you conisder great service?? Is it crumbing the table 16 times during a meal? How many places even bother to crumb the table? My fondest remembrance of warm service was from 1980 at the Sheraton Carleton Hotel. At the time, I was the Maitre d' at the Hay Adams Hotel. I would cruise into the Carleton at 10AM. As I walked in the door, Patty, my regular waitress, would already be pouring the coffee at my table. The other waitress (dang, I can't remember her name!) would be in the kitchen ordering my special omelette. Both women had worked at the hotel since the 50's. After one visit they knew which jam I liked, my favorite newspaper, when I wanted the check, hey! this was breakfast! Both women were in their 70's at the time. The finest service that I have encountered recently was in Paris at the Hotel Le Bristol. Note perfect service from beginning to end. But are we talking about fine dining establishments or service in general? I get great service at my local 7-11, too.
  21. Citronelle is using Artisanal Cheese Center in New York for cheese, as well. Sit in the bar and have a cheese plate and a glass of Marquis-Philips Shiraz "9". That and some Epoisses.......... mmmmmmm (Homer Simpson voice)
  22. Here's a thought: Go to the movies first, then go to Ray's around 8:30. Much more civilized time to eat, much easier to get in.
  23. Dang, I feel old. I remember eating at Galileo when it was in the Tiramisu space, and Bob Kinkead's first restaurant 21 Federal when it was in the Spezie space.
  24. No no no. You can move next door to PESCE. Fish Fish Fish!!
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