Daniel: Wine pairing or not?
I will be dining at Daniel with two friends. We were planning on doing the tasting menu. I noticed that wine pairing is offered at $75 per person. I was going to do it but thought that we could probably do better for ourselves by ordering two bottles of wine. The wine pairing would total $225 for three people. Is anyone familiar enough with the wine list to recommend two bottles to go with the tasting menu that total less than $225 or comment on the wisdom of my strategy?
It depends what you want to spend. As I recall, their pairings (and the pairings at comparable places) will tend to lean toward whites and oddball selections, which is how they keep the price down. If you like whites and unusual varietals, that might not be a bad thing at all. I was very pleased with the wines they provided, but I was willing to accept that emphasis. If you want about that amount of wine per person, with a group of three, you'd need 2 bottles. Two bottles there, at the lower range of their list, will probably set you back about $150 per bottle, so you'd pay a little more, but maybe get selections you liked better. I find that pairing wines tends to add to the excitement (since everything is paired to the dish) and reduce the hassle of trying to navigate an extremely expensive list. It also allows you to try more wines than you could comfortably drink, or afford, if you bought a bottle with each course, for a group of 3.