Daniel's Broiler is now open in the Hyatt Regency in downtown Seattle. It's the largest location of the Schwartz Brothers steak house, which has two Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winners in Washington, one in Bellevue and another in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood. Both wine lists offer strengths in Washington, California, Oregon and France.
Overseen by Schwartz corporate wine director and general manager Victoria Antilla, the wine list at the new location features 355 selections, including 22 available by the glass and two dozen half-bottles. It shares a focus on domestic and French labels with its two sister outposts, with plenty of big-name labels such as Screaming Eagle, Leonetti and Château Margaux. Antilla hopes to grow and expand the selections over time, which will be driven by guest demand. "I'm really hoping that we do sell a better representation of wines around the world so we can have more of an international balance to the list," she said. The restaurant serves classic steak-house fare, but like its other locations, there is a "plant-based menu" of meatless options.
Grand Award winner Ai Fiori in New York has a new wine director, Mariarosa Tartaglione, who came from inside the Altamarea Group family. She joined the Ai Fiori team Jan. 1 after serving as head sommelier at Marea, where she worked with the Best of Award of Excellence–winning program under wine director Francesco Grosso. She replaces Alessandro Piliego.
Born in south-central Italy, Tartaglione brings years of fine-dining experience and "immense" Italian wine knowledge to Ai Fiori, according to corporate beverage director Hristo Zisovski. Zisovski doesn't foresee any major changes to the list, though he expects Tartaglione to further bolster its Italian selections, which are already the program's biggest strength.
On Jan. 14, brothers and co-owners Brad and Brent Steven will open Vora in Wichita, Kan. The new concept is located just blocks from their Best of Award of Excellence winner Wine Dive, which has another Best of Award of Excellence–winning outpost in Manhattan, Kan.
Inspired by Brad's travels, Vora will have more of a European focus than the Wine Dive restaurants. The space is bright and airy, with a large patio and private dining spaces for up to 50 guests. Milan-born chef Giovanni D'Angelo will serve a diverse menu of Italian and French dishes, with some influence from countries like Germany, Spain and Austria. Items will range from wood-fired pizzas to classic steak au poivre with Cognac sauce.
The wine program, overseen by Brad, will be more focused than the eclectic Wine Dive lists, offering about 125 labels with 25 available by the glass. It will highlight Italy and France, especially regions like Piedmont and Burgundy, and feature plenty of refreshing, high-acid wines. "Not so much the over-the-top, ripe, high-alcohol wines," Brad told Wine Spectator. "We want these wines to really complement the food."
BLT Prime's New York location closed Dec. 21 after 13 years in business. The outpost held a Best of Award of Excellence for its 500-selection wine list with strengths in California, France (especially Burgundy) and Italy. A statement from ESquared Hospitality cites "ongoing construction" nearby and "the prohibitive costs of rising New York City rent" as reasons for the closure.
ESquared Hospitality owns 11 Restaurant Award winners across the country, including the Award of Excellence–winning BLT Prime in Doral, Fla.
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