The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Bad form, or totally reasonable?

by Bob Ross » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:45 pm

JC, a number of restaurants have similar nights in this area. And, Daniel Johannes runs an upscale version every 18 months or so -- Burgundies, primarily. People bring some exceptional wines.

Have fun -- I suggest you bring a backup bottle in case your first choice is corked or otherwise spoiled. You'll avoid that unwarranted but still real feeling of guilt that you brought a loser to a nice event.
no avatar
User

JC (NC)

Rank

Lifelong Learner

Posts

6094

Joined

Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:23 pm

Location

Fayetteville, NC

Re: Bad form, or totally reasonable?

by JC (NC) » Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:00 pm

Good suggestion about the second bottle, Bob. Thank you. (I may bring a dessert wine as the second bottle).

The restaurant owner says that he wants to be one of the first in North Carolina to have such an event.
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Bad form, or totally reasonable?

by Bob Ross » Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:30 pm

Good for him. One thing he should do is prepare a nice version of his regular wine list together with a list of future "special events". Maybe a map of the location of his restaurant and some human interest stuff about the history of the restaurant, the staff, whatever.

He should make copies freely available at the event as a carry away. It's a great reminder for patrons that he runs a wine friendly restaurant.

As wine lovers we should all give folks like him encouragement.

Regards, Bob
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Bad form, or totally reasonable?

by Bob Ross » Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:17 pm

Walt, I'm thinking through the wine cultures and how they affect, or would affect, my behaviour. The St. Louis model of $15 corkage/good wine lists is very different from the NYC model of almost no BYOB or the Northern New Jersey model of lots of BYOB and almost no corkage [as a practical matter]. As a traveller, I've encountered a number of other models as well, and my checklist of do's and don'ts, and I might modify my suggested checklist after I think through the differences. More anon.

But, to your second point:

"To me food and wine are one in the same and I cannot think of enjoying a good meal without good wine. Luckily most good restaurants in St Louis are $15 BYOs and some have well thought out wine lists. If you have neither, regardless of your food, I will not go."

We have very different attitudes. For me, dining out is basically entertainment; wine is one of several elements, but certainly not determinative of how entertaining the entire experience is and whether to return to a restaurant. Here are a few examples of my approach:

1. Eating at home. This is our preferred course of action -- at least 60%, probably 75%, of our dinners are at home. The CIA and FLDG folks have made me an excellent cook for what we like to eat, and we serve the wines we want, if any, with each meal. I think you and I agree 100% on this point.

2. Eating in connection with events; here the equation gets more complicated: food, wine, hours, distances, parking costs, companions, all come into play. Some examples.

a. Yankee games. The Club House has an outstanding buffet -- lots of superb food, easy to pick and choose, all you can eat, very good ambience, reasonable prices, close to parking, miserable wine list -- Sutter Home levels, 5 to 6 times retail, probably higher -- I can't bear to think about it. There are other places in the Bronx to eat before a game -- but this is so convenient we eat there six to ten times a year whenever we go to a game.

b. Theater. We go to events in NYC about twice a month. My main squeeze prefers [read "demands"] to munch in advance and dine afterwards, say between 10:30 and 11:00. Take three of our favorite choices:

Babbo -- great food, expensive prices, great wine, great ambience, free parking, an additional hour to get down town and then uptown on the way home. Wine costs about three times retail, although prices can vary. Closes at 11:00 and if "Heat" is to be believed you shouldn't arrive after 10:30. We have great luck getting tables here, but sometimes cancel if the show runs long.

Balthazar -- great food, fairly good prices, great ambience, free parking but for $10 to a fellow who watches the car, an additional hour and a half driving time, short but select and well matched wine list, three plus times retail. Closes after 1:00 p.m.

Fiorellos -- great food, great variety, reasonable prices, very good ambience, $25 additional parking, on the way home so no additional commuting tme, miserable wine list, four times retail, perhaps more. Closes after 1:00.

If it's Janet and me, we go about the same number of times to each of these restaurants depending on the time the show ends, how tired we are, what food we are thinking of. Wine really doesn't come into the equation unless I'm making the decision. And, if we go with our friends, it's almost always Fiorellos -- he's a Francophobe and eats only about six things -- pizza being one of them. (The rest of us can order a wide range of Italian dishes.)

Papermill -- this is a sometimes excellent off-Broadway house in New Jersey with an attached restaurant -- good albeit limited menu, reasonable prices, very convenient, limited wine list, priced three plus times retail. There really isn't an option, except to go home and eat.

It's worth noting that one can't BYOB in any of the four New York venues; and it's possible but not very easy at the Papermill.

c. Dining as entertainment. We like trying new restaurants, and although Janet allows me to choose "wine friendly" restaurants, we go back to the restaurants with great food, ambience and service without regard to the wine list and pricing. A favorite in New Jersey: Scalini Fidelli -- great food, miserable wine list, three plus retail pricing, PITA to negotiate corkage -- primarily because it's often the number one New Jersey restaurant according to Zagat's and other reviewers.

In restaurants like these, I tend to depend heavily on the sommelier if I'm picking the wine. I give the sommelier a price point and describe the sort of wine my companions like -- since I'm willing to try anything, this is never a personal problem. Good sommeliers know the wines in their cellars and how they are currently drinking, and more importantly how the wines and foods will probably pair up.

I know that I'm "over paying" for the wine in all of these cases by many people's standards. But my goal is to have a great time and to do the best I can to ensure that my companions and guests have a great time. Worrying about the price of the wine is counter productive to those objectives.

After all, I can always make up for over spending at Firellos by making a great pizza the next day, and pair it with a Bordeaux with some age on it. :-)

Regards, Bob
no avatar
User

JC (NC)

Rank

Lifelong Learner

Posts

6094

Joined

Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:23 pm

Location

Fayetteville, NC

Re: Bad form, or totally reasonable?

by JC (NC) » Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:35 pm

Bob,
You probably already know about this restaurant but here goes. I enjoy Le Madeleine Bistro at 403 West 43rd St. near the theaters. The drawback: it closes at 11:00 (ll:30 on Friday and Saturday which might be late enough for after theater, especially since it's close by). Nice selection of fairly priced wines by the glass. Good bistro food. (I've had the wild mushroom pasta and the organic chicken with ratatouille--the chicken used to come with applewood smoked bacon but I think they have changed the presentation now).
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Bad form, or totally reasonable?

by Bob Ross » Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:48 pm

"Le Madeleine Bistro"

A really good choice -- we like it very much, so much so that we often eat there during regular dining hours. We especially like it after shopping at the stores in NYC that close at 9:00. We can park nearby, and avoid the pre- and post- theater crowds. The garden is a delight.

It's a problem for after theater dining for us, though, since it's west of Ninth Avenue, and about a mile and a half round trip walking from the parking garages near the theaters. Janet gets very nervous walking in the area so late at night -- since she is a New Yorker and street smart, I follow her lead. [As in so many things! :-)]

Thanks, it's a great suggestion: "Le Madeleine Bistro"

The wine prices don't bother me, but they do run two and a half to three times retail. This is a perfect example of a lovely restaurant with a hefty markup on wine, a restaurant that is a delight to enjoy anyway.

Regards, Bob
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Bad form, or totally reasonable?

by Bob Ross » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:07 pm

BTW, please consider signing the petition to prevent demolition of the restaurant: http://www.lemadeleine.com/petitioninfo.htm

Regards, Bob
no avatar
User

JC (NC)

Rank

Lifelong Learner

Posts

6094

Joined

Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:23 pm

Location

Fayetteville, NC

Re: Bad form, or totally reasonable?

by JC (NC) » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:46 pm

Done.
We should encourage WLDG forum members from all over the country (or world) to also sign the petition.

JC
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Bad form, or totally reasonable?

by Bob Ross » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:54 pm

Great idea. I'll post thread asking for help. Regards, Bob
User avatar
User

Ian Sutton

Rank

Spanna in the works

Posts

3652

Joined

Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:10 pm

Location

Norwich, UK

Re: Bad form, or totally reasonable?

by Ian Sutton » Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:44 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Walt, a couple of folks have taken me to task on my post, and I'm re-thinking several points. I'll post a more comprehensive reply in due course -- thanks for the feedback.

On this point, however, I'm baffled, frankly: "I will only go to BYO or restaurants with a well thought out and properly priced wine list."

Would you really boycott a restaurant with great food, great service, great ambience, reasonably prices for food ... and an over-priced wine, beer and drinks list?

Regards, Bob

I'll jump in on this one. Tatlers was my favourite restaurant in Norwich, but after reviewing the 4 to 5 x retail wine list (included in this were ever so rare :wink: Jackson Estate and Wither Hills Sauvignon Blancs), I resolved never to return. That was about 5 years ago and I'm happy with the replacement restaurants.

I may moan about mark-ups, but I do vote with my feet as well.

regards

Ian
User avatar
User

Bob Ross

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

5862

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:39 pm

Location

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Re: Bad form, or totally reasonable?

by Bob Ross » Fri Jan 05, 2007 5:26 pm

I'm not arguing, Ian, that you shouldn't vote with your feet if you find equally fine restaurants with more reasonable wine prices -- not at all.

I've read about Tatlers and would love to try it -- the new chef seems to have given it a new lease on life. It's something of an institution in foodie circles, and in this incarnation seems to be thriving brilliantly, especially at lunch time.

The wine list does look pricey, but the wines by the glass are interesting.

I'd certainly try it, despite the wine prices, as just another of the adventures in fine dining. But, perhaps, not return on a regular basis, just as I wouldn't return on a regular basis to the French Laundry in Napa.

I understood Walt's point to be that one shouldn't even try such a restaurant, but I may have gotten that wrong.

Regards, Bob
Previous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign