Monday, December 04, 2006

Eastcoast Wines Make Big Splash at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain

Last month I had a fabulous dinner at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain. We had a series of wonderful plates. Each platter was more exceptional than the one before it. And with it we tasted some great wines. One of the most exceptional was the Strawberry Hill Chardonnay from Connecticut. But more than anything else I was shocked by the number of New York state wines on the wine list. I spoke with Laurence Kretchmer, Mr. Flay's partner, and Bar Americain Sommelier, Adam Rieger. Kretchmer and Rieger we adamant that they could not put together a comprehensive American wine list for an American Bistro without including some east coast wines. Both Reiger and Kretchmer extolled the virtues of the Connecticut wine, the first true cult wine of the eastcoast.

"I simply have the task of picking wines for the list that make sense with the theme of the restaurant (American Brasserie - i.e. US and French wine focused) a long with wines that work with Bobby's food. Aside from the flavor profiles of the menu, it also offers a medley of dishes from all the geographic/cultural areas of the US. With this in mind it is important for us to represent good wines from as many geographic areas in the US as possible," said Reiger.

Bobby fell into cooking at the age of 17 when he took a job at New York's Joe Allen restaurant. Eventually, he so impressed the management that Joe Allen paid his tuition to the prestigious French Culinary Institute. But French cuisine was not to be Bobby's destiny. After restaurateur Jonathan Waxman introduced him to southwestern ingredients, Bobby — instantly drawn to indigenous American foods such as black and white beans, chiles and avocados — was determined to explore the possibilities of southwestern cuisine as an important and distinct culinary style for America. From 1988 to 1990, Bobby experimented with his new culinary passion at New York's Miracle Grill, where his colorful southwestern creations earned him something of a cult following. When Bobby's own Mesa Grill opened its doors in 1991, his reputation as a major New York chef was sealed. He continued to soar with Bolo, his second New York restaurant, which Bobby (Bo) and partner Laurence Kretchmer (Lo) opened in November 1993. Dedicated to exploring Spanish cuisine, Bobby's innovative menu at Bolo dazzles adventurous palates daily. In 2004, Bobby opened the Mesa Grill Las Vegas in Caesar's Palace. His newest American Brasserie, Bar Americain, opened in New York in the spring of 2005, and his new steak restaurant opened in the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City this year. Bar Americain is an American Bistro that features a taste sensation filled menu, with zest and imagination. And their wine list matches Flay's bold flavors.

This is yet another sign that New York state wines have arrived. They appeared alongside their more well known California cousins. Obviously California wines were well represented. "While California still dominates the US market, I feel that our local culture and local products are important. For this reason, I want to support and highlight some great wines from New York State as our focus for the east coast," added Reiger.

According to the restaurant's website, "Bar Americain, Bobby Flay’s ode to regional American cooking, comes to life in a bright, lively brasserie setting in mid-town Manhattan. Guests can enjoy a rack of pork with peach-ginger chutney, or visit the Northwest for wild salmon with a pinot noir reduction. The raw bar features fish and shellfish from both coasts, paired with flavors like tomatillo, coconut and habanero. Weekend brunch offerings include artisanal ham with biscuits and cream gravy or steel-cut oatmeal with stone fruits. With its soaring ceilings, marble floors and warm lights, David Rockwell’s design creates the perfect backdrop for a wedding reception, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs or lunch meetings."

Bar Americain is one of Manhattanites' favorite food destinations, and is one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the city and is the brain child of one of the most famous culinary lights of the food world. Mr. Flay and Mr. Kretchmer and Mr. Reiger have obviously made a statement wiht this wine list, and it is a great nod to both the wine makers of the eastcoast as well as creating an extreme food and wine taste sensation possible for patrons of this wonderful and excting restaurant.

Hats off the the management team at this exciting Restaurant and Adam Reiger.


PAUMANOK RIESLING 2005 North Fork of Long Island, NY

PELLEGRINI VINEYARDS 2004 North Fork of Long Island, NY
PECONIC BAY WINERY "LA BARRIQUE" 2002 North Fork of Long Island, NY (375ml)

PELLEGRINI VINEYARDS 2004 North Fork of Long Island, NY
PECONIC BAY WINERY 2001 North Fork of Long Island, NY

MILLBROOK 2005 New York State

LATE HARVEST CHARDONNAY, WOLFER 2003 (375ml) The Hamptons, Long Island