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Mark Sommelier

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Everything posted by Mark Sommelier

  1. Think of it this way: you are tipping on service, not wine. No one really expects 20% from the sale of a bottle of Petrus, but people still do it all the time, trust me. The sticky part here is that waiters/servers are assessed income tax based on their gross sales - that means food, liquor and wine. If no one tipped on wine, waiters would get a very raw deal.
  2. Had lunch there today. Gorgeous place, very moderne. Interesting lunch menu with many choices beside steak. Chilled Pea soup with crabmeat and lemon foam was good. It needed salt for my taste. I didn't care at all for the crab gratin. Too gummy with bread, not crabby enough. The steak was perfect. Nice size dry aged rib-eye for lunch (@10 oz.) - perfectly marbled, juicy, nutty flavor. All the sides were well prepared, too: fresh morels, great steak fries, jumbo asparagus. We tinkered with the eWineList for a while. Cool idea. Very easy to navigate. Its a tablet computer, although they have a printed version handy for those mystified by computers. The service was knowledgeable and gracious. Old time Washingtonians will recognize maitre d' Martin from the Jockey Club.
  3. Russ Parsons wrote: Russ, this reminds me what our friend Mark Furstenberg says: The customer may not always be right, but the customer is always the customer.
  4. Mark Sommelier

    white zinfandel

    Craig, I can see we are the same age. My first wine drunk was in high school on some concoction called Bali Hai. It could politely be described as tumescent Hawaiian Punch. In college, the traditional Friday night activity in our dorm freshman year was to collect $2 each from my suite mates and buy a case of Boone's Farm Apple Wine for $12. One night, one of my fellow waiter friends and I chipped in $12.50 a piece and split a bottle of 1970 Lafite Rothschild which we bought for the outrageous sum of $25. It has been downhill ever since....
  5. Mark Sommelier

    white zinfandel

    A few years ago some enterprising winemaker introduced White Merlot to cash in on the merlot craze. It seems to have fizzled.
  6. Here's what you do: Sit at the bar at Kinkeads, order the fried clams and lobster rolls. They have good wine by the glass. Hilton, the pianist is good, too. Then, walk across the street to Kaz Sushi Bistro. As far as Nectar goes: lunch or dinner, not breakfast.
  7. We are talking here about where to draw the line. My boss, Michel Richard told me a story a few years ago about his restaurant Citrus in LA. Famous Film director comes in and demands Peking Duck. Demands it! This is a French restaurant. What do you say? Obviously, they told him no.
  8. You do know that Kaz was the original chef at Sushi-Ko.
  9. Monkey say: I went to the bar after work one night recently with friends. This is not your father's Ritz Carlton. The bar was full of club kids. T-shirts, jeans, the occasional blazer. The service was genial but really pokey. Also, it ain't cheap. The unusual glassware screams "steal me, please". We got a tour of the place from the security guard. The dining room is handsome enough. We asked to see the "Chimney Room". They intend to use it as a private dining venue. While it is cool to look at, I couldn't imagine eating in there. Its a freakin' echo chamber!
  10. The spatlese was marvelous with the blue cheese. We had some pinot noirs and chardonnay on the table, also.
  11. I love going to Kaz's. He is a friend, too. Next time you go- sit at the sushi bar. Ask him for the toro with foie gras. We always have doubles of that one. (The foie gras is poached in plum wine). Sublime.
  12. The cheese plates we were served had 5 cheeses served with excellent nut bread. All the breads we had were wonderful, especially the taleggio. The cheeses were : goat cheese with ash, Reblochon, a very hard aged English cheddar, an English blue cheese and the stinky one. The stinker was served in a small dish because it was runny like Epoisses. This cheese was so pungent, I had visions of bacteria line dancing on my tongue. We washed this course down with a Dr. Pauly Bergweiler Spatlese 2002 from the Saar.
  13. I love it when a cool new restau opens in my neighborhood. 2 buddies of mine opened this about 3 months ago. It resides in the old Zuki Moon space, near the Watergate and Kennedy Center. They told the friends to stay away for a while. Being a good boy, I did what they asked. I had lunch there recently and was blown away. 42 seat place. A handful of tables. Very sophisticated food. A fun winelist. The staff was vey well trained. They work quietly and efficiently. Food was awesome: English pea soup with Austrian speck, tiny soft shell jimmies tempura fried with cucumber gazpacho and seaweed underneath, Scuba scallops with chorizo and snap peas. The stinkiest cheese I ever did put in my mouf (called Stinking Bishop or some such). The finale was a warm chocolate milkshake with Grand Marnier that was absolutely nap inducing. Lunch is serene. Dinner might require reservations after Tom's review on 6/22.
  14. Stick with the Washingtonian suggestions. Personally, I'm sorry you have to eat that cheap.
  15. I just passed on the 2000 Colgin single vineyards that were offered to me at $250 a bottle, wholesale. Why bother?
  16. Did you taste them yet? You tell us if it is a rip-off.
  17. This is how I use Opus, Shafer Hillside, Martha's on my winelist: These wines are all priced $250-$300. I tell people (its mostly guys who order this stuff), you can drink that if you want. For the same money I can sell you a mature Bordeaux. Think: '86 Lynch Bages, '85 Leoville Las Cases, '85 Brane Cantenac. Most of them choose the Bordeaux. Duh.
  18. Steve - Maybe Carole Greenwood could do a Q&A here to clear all this up for us.
  19. Tell that to Jess Jackson. Remember Verité? Remember Cardinale? When the wine dudes bring me first release wines at this price level, I remind them that I am buying Leoville Las Cases, Lynch Bages, Pichon Lalande, Tertre Roteboeuf for LESS. Why would I buy that? Same with boutique California Pinot Noirs. When you can buy Clos de Vougeot for less, why bother?
  20. One of the "rules" for using the word on the label is that the wine has to be the most expensive offering from the winery.
  21. The incident that caused Gillian to write her screed actually happened in a different restaurant (which shall remain nameless). A customer ordered an ice cream sundae. She asked if the kitchen could leave off the peanuts on top as she was highly allergic to peanuts. Word came back from the chef: Absolutely Not! The chef argued that the peanuts were integral to the dish and that is was a "signature dish" of hers. The discussion of this particular incident lead to the article. You can draw your own conclusions. Sounds silly to me.
  22. Very few of these wines actually seem to use the name on the label. At least among the better ones. "Red Table Wine" is less restrictive in terms of pricing and grape percentages. It also does not require membership in the Meritage Association.
  23. That is true, Craig. I went back to delete my post, but found it had been quoted too many times. Let me apologize to all for the stridency.
  24. That's exactly why I don't sell any Mondavi wines.
  25. Woo Hoo!! I have my conceits - we all do. To answer several questions: Yes, I sell pinot gris. For my taste, Alsatian pinot gris is more food oriented. Look for Josmeyer's "Le Fromenteau". Gorgeous wine. The problem I have with most pinot grigio is that it is cheap crap. Pardon me if that sounds snooty. I work in a French restaurant. I have a small selection of Italian wine. I had pinot grigio on the list before. I was appalled at how quickly it sold. With 600 selections, why would one wine sell so quickly? When I asked people, the answer was "that's what we drink at home". Its a default wine for people too lazy or too (sorry) ignorant to read a winelist, ask a question or try something new. I used Jermann's PG. People didn't like it because it doesn't taste like Santa Marguerita. I used Sciopetto's, but people were turned off by the screwcap for $55. ............ I can see I'm digging myself deeper in doodoo here.
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