Danny Meyer’s Maialino Mare Debuts in Washington, D.C.

The seafood-and-pasta spot is Union Square Hospitality Group’s first fine-dining venture in the capital. Plus, Major Food Group’s the Grill and the Pool merge, Quality Branded adds a French bistro, and more

Danny Meyer’s Maialino Mare Debuts in Washington, D.C.
Maialino Mare's seafood-centric menu includes pastas like bucatini all'amatriciana and trenette alle vongole. (Courtesy of Union Square Hospitality Group)
Jan 30, 2020

Union Square Hospitality Group’s Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence–winning Maialino in New York gained a seafood-focused outpost Jan. 8 in Washington, D.C.’s Thompson hotel. Maialino Mare is the first fine-dining restaurant in D.C. from restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), which holds six Restaurant Awards including a Grand Award for the Modern in New York.

Beverage director David Metz’s already-growing wine list has reached 155 selections and counting, showcasing Champagne and Piedmont, while offering coastal Italian options from small producers around the country. “A lot of our wines are mono-varietal,” Metz said. “And they tend to gravitate toward minimal-intervention winemaking practices so that you have a truer expression of not only a grape, but also a sense of where that grape comes from.”

The authentic Roman cuisine by executive chef Rose Noel echoes the restaurant’s New York sister with plenty of house-made pastas, but with more emphasis on seafood and coastal produce. Menu items include spaghetti con bottarga, trenette alle vongole and slow-roasted suckling pig for two.—Natalie Crooks

Major Food Group Merges Two Powerhouse Restaurants

Chef Rich Torrisi, Aby Rosen, Jeff Zalaznick and chef Mario Carbone standing by the Pool’s bar holding glasses of red wine
Matt Furman
Chef Rich Torrisi, Aby Rosen, Jeff Zalaznick and chef Mario Carbone in the Pool Lounge

Grand Award winner the Pool merged with another Major Food Group concept in New York’s historic Seagram Building, Best of Award of Excellence winner the Grill. Though the design of both spaces remains the same, they will now collectively be known as the Grill and will feature the Grill’s indulgent meat-focused menu rather than the Pool’s seafood offerings.

The restaurant still offers the 3,600-selection wine program run by beverage director Brad Nugent that boasts numerous strengths including California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Italy and Champagne. Also unchanged is the other piece of the group’s Seagram Building venture, the Japanese inspired Lobster Club, which offers the full wine list as well.

Though the Pool’s chef, Rich Torrisi, no longer oversees the kitchen, he remains a co-owner along with Major Food Group partners Jeff Zalaznick and chef Mario Carbone, and real-estate developer Aby Rosen. The company also owns Restaurant Award–winning outposts of Carbone in New York, Las Vegas and Hong Kong.—Julie Harans

New York Welcomes French Bistro from Quality Branded

Steak tartare and bone marrow brûlée
Christian Harder
Steak tartare and bone marrow brûlée at Quality Bistro

Quality Branded debuted a French restaurant, Quality Bistro, Jan. 28 in New York’s Midtown neighborhood. The group has five Restaurant Award winners (Park Avenue, Quality Meats, two Quality Italians and a Smith & Wollensky), and its new bistro features 450 wine selections selected by corporate wine director Scott Woltz. “It’s French cuisine in the style of bistro, but with a modern American take,” Woltz said. “We took that and moved it over into the wine list so it’s all French and American, and within America, it’s only French varietals.”

Classic French regions like Burgundy and Bordeaux are well-represented, as well as smaller ones like Alsace, the Loire Valley and the Jura. The list also includes a selection of “Rhône Rangers,” which refers to winemakers in the United States, particularly California, who specialize in Rhône varieties. Woltz plans to continue growing the list with the French and American concept in mind.—N.C.

RPM Family Adds Seafood Concept in Chicago

RPM Seafood dining room
RPM Seafood
RPM Seafood occupies a coveted waterfront space, with an interior designed by Rockwell Group.

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises' RPM brand, which includes Best of Award of Excellence–winning locations of RPM Italian and RPM Steak, unveiled its first RPM Seafood Jan. 23 in the group’s home base of Chicago.

The restaurant opened with a 1,200-selection wine list overseen by RPM wine director Richard Hanauer, whose program complements the fish-focused menu from executive chef Bob Broskey. “It was about celebrating all of the wines that are super important to eating coastaly,” Hanauer said. “To me, that’s having the biggest and best Burgundy collection that we can have … and then of course going big in the Loire Valley, going big in Alsace, going really big in Austria and Germany.”

Though the reds are far from an afterthought, offerings lean more toward white wines, with the Burgundy section boasting noteworthy verticals from producers such as François Raveneau and Vincent Dauvissat. New World regions such as Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa are also represented.

The list will continually evolve and expand in an effort to cater to all diners and price points. “We’re feeling really good that we can really capture some great guest emotions, from the most experienced Burgundy [collector] to someone that is new to wine,” Hanauer said.

Highlights of the space include sprawling windows showcasing panoramic views of the Chicago River, and a U-shaped sommelier’s credenza with seating for up to four guests. The multi-level building houses two other recently opened LEYE ventures: An event space called RPM on the Water, and Pizzeria Portofino, which opened in July.—J.H.


Keep up with the latest restaurant news from our award winners: Subscribe to our free Private Guide to Dining newsletter, and follow us on Twitter at WSRestoAwards and on Instagram at wsrestaurantawards.

News Chicago New York City Restaurant Awards

You Might Also Like

New York Star Sommelier Arrested and Accused of Arson

New York Star Sommelier Arrested and Accused of Arson

Caleb Ganzer, wine director and co-owner of La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, allegedly …

Jul 29, 2021
José Andrés Enters Chicago Restaurant Scene

José Andrés Enters Chicago Restaurant Scene

The chef’s ThinkFoodGroup makes its Windy City debut with an all-day café and another …

Jul 29, 2021
Fires? Drought? Heat? California Wineries' Biggest Challenge Might Be Getting Insurance

Fires? Drought? Heat? California Wineries' Biggest Challenge Might Be Getting Insurance

After multiple years of wildfires, Napa and Sonoma vintners are struggling to obtain …

Jul 28, 2021
Cheval-Blanc and Ausone Say Adieu to St.-Emilion Classification. Does It Matter?

Cheval-Blanc and Ausone Say Adieu to St.-Emilion Classification. Does It Matter?

Owners of two storied Bordeaux estates say that the rankings should focus more on wine …

Jul 23, 2021
New York City’s Restaurant Week Returns as Dining Rooms Reopen

New York City’s Restaurant Week Returns as Dining Rooms Reopen

Summer event features new menu options, award-winning wine lists and more

Jul 21, 2021
Exclusive: Randall Grahm Joins Forces with Gallo for a New Wine Project

Exclusive: Randall Grahm Joins Forces with Gallo for a New Wine Project

The new brand—The Language of Yes—combines Grahm’s penchant for Rhône grape varieties with …

Jul 21, 2021