Miami welcomes a new restaurant this month from Brad Kilgore, the chef-owner behind Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner Alter. Ember will serve classic American fare with a focus on wood-fired cooking, with dishes like grilled lasagna and fire-roasted stone crabs with garlic sauce.
Wine director Michael Gonzalez's opening list features about 100 wines, 15 of which are available by the glass, including diverse selections from Spain, New Zealand, Austria, Napa Valley and more. Gonzalez sought wines to match the food's smoky profile, through picks with high acidity or complementing flavors. He is also aiming for value, keeping most selections under $100.
"Chef Brad has really put a lot of focus on the beverage side of the experience," Gonzalez told Wine Spectator. "I really feel like this is a very strong representation of him and of the restaurant."—J.H.
Owners Ronnie and Deanna Killen have expanded their Houston-based empire: Best of Award of Excellence winner Killen's Steakhouse in Pearland, Texas, now has a second location in the Woodlands. The restaurateurs also own Killen's Barbecue, Killen's STQ, Killen's TMX and Killen's Burgers.
The new Steakhouse outpost serves a similar menu of steak-house staples. Deanna, the wine director, offers about 175 selections on the opening list, with 19 available by the glass, but she plans to grow that to about 500 over the next few months.
Deanna says that like the Pearland location, the list will highlight classic regions such as California, Bordeaux and Italy, but she's looking forward to including more small-production wines as the program progresses.—J.H.
A multilevel French destination, One65, will debut in San Francisco over the next several weeks. The ground-floor patisserie opens May 16, followed by the remaining concepts early June. These include the Bistro at One65; a fine-dining restaurant, O' by Claude Le Tohic; and a bar and lounge, Elements.
The project is a collaboration between chef Claude Le Tohic and the team behind Alexander's Steakhouse, which has two Best of Award of Excellence–winning locations in the Bay Area.
Vincent Morrow is spearheading the wine program for the entire venue, which features two central lists for the Bistro and O' by Claude Le Tohic. The latter will offer about 900 selections exclusively from the United States and France, with a focus on California, Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône, as well as picks from lesser-known French regions like Provence and Savoie. The Bistro will showcase a diverse international list of about 75 wines, with 22 available by the glass. For this program, Morrow told Wine Spectator via email that he aimed for "fun, energetic and easy-to-drink wines."
The Elements wine list will mostly include wines from the Bistro, in addition to some selections from O' by Claude Le Tohic. The fine-dining concept is the final phase of the opening, which is slated for June 6.—J.H.
San Ysidro Ranch, the historic Santa Barbara, Calif., resort and home of Grand Award winner the Stonehouse, reopened last month after a 15-month closure for renovation due to damage from the January 2018 mudslides.
"It feels great to be back," said wine director Todd Smith. "Our guests are very happy to be back to where they have been visiting us for such a long time. The support from the local community has been overwhelming."
In an effort to "retain the 'Old World' charm" of San Ysidro, Smith says the resort and restaurant were rebuilt to match how they looked before the mudslides, but the restaurant's redesigned cellar has a higher capacity, particularly for large-format wines. New offerings from Italy, France and Austria have been added to the 2,000-plus-selection wine list.—B.G.
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