HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >

Discussion

Please advise on restaurants where I will learn a lot about food/wine pairing

  • 20
  • Share

Manhattan Chowhounds:

I am coming to Manhattan for a five-dinner trip in a month and I'm trying to narrow my list of restaurants. I'm fairly sure I will be going to Keen's and Convivio. I also want to find one or two restaurants where I will be able to learn something about pairing wine with food, a subject I have been pursuing in recent years. I am looking for restaurants where the food is great, the wine is great and the sommelier and servers are knowlegeable about pairing food with wine and willing to educate an eager diner/drinker. In Manhattan I have had excellent food and wine pairing experiences at Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, and Jean-Georges. I prefer to try some new restaurants. Thank you for your assistance.

-----
Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

Gramercy Tavern
42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

Convivio
45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. The best sommelier in NYC (and very likely the country), Aldo Sohm, is the chef sommelier and wine director at Le Bernardin. Here's a rather esoteric clip of the blind tasting portion of the "Best Sommelier in the World" competition, which he won in 2008:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_ytuL...

    Way over my head, but the man knows what he's talking about.

    Veritas is another great choice as wine is a primary focus there.

    -----
    Veritas
    43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

    Le Bernardin
    155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

    12 Replies
    1. re: hcbk0702

      I assume that by "best" you mean very knowledgeable and able to impart effectively that knowledge to the less educated. Thanks for your recommendation and the video.

      1. re: ChemWork

        By best, the poster means it quite literally. He has won that title by many industry groups including 2009 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Wine Service.

        1. re: chow_gal

          I am very sensitive to what someone is being judged on. For instance, Nobel Prize winners in chemistry are not necessarily the best people to choose to educate someone about chemistry. Or, a great chef may not be able to educate people about food. When you write that he was the winner for Outstanding Wine Service it is more meaningful because of the word "service". I assume that the accepted definition of sommelier includes knowledge and service. Thanks for your input.

          1. re: ChemWork

            Also the Beard Awards are notoriously political.

            1. re: ChemWork

              So you believe it more trustworthy or statistically valid or whatever to solicit opinions from 6-7 strangers on a messageboard? Don't take it so seriously. You'll have a lovely time at many of the places suggested.

              1. re: chow_gal

                I think over time, one learns which posters' experiences and tastes align with one's own, and their opinions become worthwhile.

                1. re: chow_gal

                  I'm sorry, but I think you missed the point of my question and follow up comments. I am soliciting the opinions of non-experts because I feel that I have a lot to learn about food and wine. I would like to know of positive experiences with food and wine pairings that other people like me have had in restaurants. I don't know who votes for the awards and I don't know one what basis they are awarded. I assume that experts are voting for those awards and so they are coming at it from a completely different perspective than mine. The fact that a sommelier has won an award will be a factor in my decision-making process, but I am trying to get as much information as possible. The comment from gutsofsteel is correct in my case--I have noticed that some posters seem to have similar tastes. I have gotten great advice from this board in the past.

                2. re: ChemWork

                  I'll preface this by saying that I am a wine professional, so my experiences may not entirely match those of non-experts. Aldo is great, but the list at Le B is pretty pricy even by restaurant standards. Veritas has much better pricing, and the staff there is expert at pairing. Alto doesn't often get mentioned as a top-tier wine destination, but the list is one of the best in the city, especially for Italian wines, and also has absolutely first rate sommeliers.

                  Terroir has a fantastic list and very good food as well, but if you want a "magical" food and wine pairing night, that wouldn't be my choice just because I don't think you'll get the same level of expert advice on matching. It's worth the visit anyway.

                  -----
                  Veritas
                  43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

                  Terroir
                  413 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

                  1. re: craig_g

                    For this purpose/poster, I strongly second the recommendation of Veritas.

                    -----
                    Veritas
                    43 East 20th St., New York, NY 10003

                    1. re: craig_g

                      i second Terroir (EVil or Tribeca) - terrific wine list, knowledgeable servers. The Tangled Vine on UWS too - vast and interesting selection by the glass. Servers can rec' pairings, they also have suggested food pairings with their wine flights on the menu and many wine descriptions actually suggest best pairings. however, both are wine bars - very good food at both but if you are looking for a more typical restaurant meal, you might prefer Hearth (from the guys behind Terroir) . For upscale, Corton will likely fit the bill, although my experience was mixed in terms of wine recs. BLT Steak, not a place i eat at frequently at but they had some great recs as well. oh. and you might like Emilie, the somm at SHO in FiDi - this is another upscale option if that's what you're after

                      -----
                      BLT Steak
                      106 East 57th Street, New York, NY 10022

                      Terroir
                      413 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

                      Corton
                      239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                      Tangled Vine
                      434 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

                      1. re: crackpie

                        I like Terroir as much as the next guy, but folks it is a wine bar. It is not a place to learn about wine pairings. The menu is very limited....it just doesn't fit the OP's requirements.

                        -----
                        Terroir
                        413 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

                3. re: ChemWork

                  Yes, Aldo is the "best" in the sense you are asking. I've taken a wine tasting class with Aldo (a few years ago before he left Wallse), as well as dined at Wallse when he was sommelier. He is very approachable, and explains very well to someone like me who is a wine novice.

                  -----
                  Wallse
                  344 W. 11th St., New York, NY 10014

              2. Also Corton.

                -----
                Corton
                239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                1. Paul Grieco is one of the best in the city: owner of Terroir and Terroir Tribeca and owner/manager/sommelier of Hearth.

                  Also, wine service at Jean Georges is spectacular.

                  -----
                  Jean Georges
                  1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                  Terroir
                  413 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chow_gal

                    I second this idea. I had an amazing wine education from a bartender at Hearth one night eating dinner at the bar. Great experiences at Terroir also, but not as tight a food menu. Chef Marco Canora's work at Hearth is top notch.

                    http://underemployedinnyc.blogspot.com/

                    -----
                    Terroir
                    413 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009

                  2. I was really intimidated with the term sommelier and thought that it would mean $500 bottles of wine and a big burly guy in a suit with a little cup around his neck. I stumbled upon Vero in midtown one night and they have 40 something wines by the glass and a great menu. Kasi is the sommelier there and taught me a lot and explained the tastes and the pairings with the menu, and even had the chef whip up some items not on the menu to bring out certain flavors in the wines. They are reasonably priced and not stuffy with a great crowd. It's a fun place to learn about wine, and Kasi really gave us some great info!

                    -----
                    Vero
                    1004 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10022

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MaggieMcF

                      Thanks for all of the great suggestions and comments. I will be sure to write up my experiences with an emphasis on the interactions with the sommelier.

                    2. Depending on your budget, any Batali/Bastianiach restaurant. I worked for them for awhile and it was always focused on the complete dining experience, and educated all employees on pairings. I was thrilled when someone allowed me to make wine choices for them based on their preferences and even more thrilled when I was spot one with menu choices. "Something for every palette and pocketbook" we would say!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nypeaches

                        I'll second the Batali/Bastianich shops. A few years back my wife and I attended a wine course at Italian Wine Merchants, their place on Irving Place. Joe Bastianich and David Lynch hosted the evening. Anne Burrell may have prepared the food but I can't confirm that. Good times.
                        Spend some time at Otto, at the bar. Yogi Berra said, "You can observe a lot just by watching." Smart guy that Yogi.

                        -----
                        Italian Wine Merchants
                        108 E 16th St, New York, NY 10003