Hurricane Irma has left a trail of destruction from the Caribbean to Florida and beyond. For restaurants, these days have been about making sure staff members are safe, assessing damage and helping feed the community. Read Wine Spectator's full news report on this developing story.
In honor of its 180th anniversary, Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winner and New York institution Delmonico's will offer a special menu showcasing creations from the city's top chefs. The menu debuts today and will be available through Oct. 14.
The participating chefs and restaurateurs make up a long list of big names: Thomas Keller, Danny Meyer, Daniel Boulud, Michael Lomonaco, Michael White, Lidia Bastianich, Harry and Peter Poulakakos, Sirio Maccioni, Paul Liebrandt and Dominique Ansel.
Since opening in 1837, Delmonico's has played a transformative role in the industry. Elements that are now deeply engrained in the dining experience originated at the restaurant, such as printed menus. Delmonico's is famous for now-staple American dishes like eggs benedict, lobster Newburg and baked Alaska. The restaurant has also inspired many chefs in New York and beyond. "There are so many guys that have worked here or in the city, we thought it would be cool to ask all the chefs what Delmonico's means to them," executive chef Billy Oliva said.
Two special items are available each day during lunch and dinner service, and Dominique Ansel's Paris-Brest profiteroles will be served daily. Maccioni, owner of Best of Award of Excellence winner Le Cirque, got his start as a waiter at Delmonico's; his featured dish is a spaghetti primavera. Also on the menu is a nine-herb ravioli by chef Boulud, the owner of multiple Restaurant Award winners, who took his first job as a chef when Maccioni hired him at Delmonico's.
The restaurant's own special anniversary item, a 180-day dry-aged bone-in rib eye, will be available throughout the week for $380. The entrée price includes a commemorative plate designed by Lenox Dinnerware and illustrated by former New Yorker cartoonist John Donohue. Chef Oliva says it will remain on the menu through the end of the year. He plans to adapt some of the special dishes to stay through December as well.
Wine director David Suric told Wine Spectator he is looking forward to offering guests less-familiar pairings for the rib eye, such as super Tuscans and Lebanese wines. Suric does have a favorite, more traditional, match for the steak special: the Hilary Goldschmidt Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Charming Creek 2014.
Suric started working at Delmonico's 18 years ago, and took over the wine program five years ago. The list has grown since then, from around 10 pages to more than 30, now offering stronger verticals and more large-format and by-the-glass options. Bordeaux and Champagne are among the regions he has sought to improve.
"Longevity in this business, you don't see it that often," said Suric of Delmonico's enduring role in the city. "It's a great tradition of American culinary history, and you're trying to preserve some of that history and trying to make a better future. It's a wonderful thing to be a part of."—J.H.
Grand Award winner Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn., will open a new hotel in late 2018. Blackberry Mountain will be a 20-minute drive from the original property, in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains.
The hotel will be at the center of a 5,200-acre property, which includes 2,800 acres of protected park land that will be open to guests. "The ultimate goal has always been to protect the land for our community and future generations," owner Mary Celeste Beall said in a press release. "But Sam [Beall] and I also dreamed about taking all that we learned from Blackberry Farm and creating something from scratch." Her husband, Sam, died in a skiing accident in February 2016.
The resort will house two restaurants: the Firetower, a casual eatery offering panoramic mountain views, and Three Sisters, a fine-dining concept showcasing local ingredients. The restaurants will be led by Blackberry Farm's wine and culinary team, who over the years have turned the Tennessee property into a world-class wine destination.—J.H.
One of Chicago's longstanding fine-dining institutions is shutting its doors next month. Since opening in 1999, Tru has been the recipient of many accolades, including Wine Spectator's Grand Award, which the restaurant first received in 2004. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, the Chicago-based restaurant group that owns Tru, declined to comment on why the upscale dining stalwart is closing, but did announce plans to open a new concept in the space at a later date.
"Tru will be closing, serving its last service on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017," a representative of the company told Wine Spectator via email. "Lettuce Entertain You is working on the plan to re-concept the space and we look forward to sharing this with our guests."—L.W.
New Orleans Best of Award of Excellence winner Galatoire's is holding a pop-up in the Beaumont Hotel in London, from Sept. 27 to 30. Some of executive chef Michael Sichel's most popular dishes will be available à la carte for lunch and dinner in the hotel's Colony Grill Room, including classics like seafood gumbo, crabmeat Sardou and bread pudding with bananas Foster sauce.
Bill Kearney, co-owner and wine director of Galatoire's, told Wine Spectator his restaurant has had a relationship with the owners of the Beaumont for years. When an NFL game was announced to be held in London—the Miami Dolphins versus the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 1—Kearney's team brought up the idea for a pop-up.
"As the food world grows and the wine world grows, people want to experience different cultures and different cuisines," Kearney said. Three nightly prix-fixe wine dinners will also be available in the hotel's Lotos Room, each featuring different menus and focusing on pairings from a particular producer. A Louis Jadot dinner will take place on Thursday, Sept. 28, followed by Veuve Clicquot and Daou on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Tickets are priced at $134 and are available for purchase on the Beaumont's website.—J.H.