After the success from two summers of EMP Summer House in New York's Long Island, Wine Spectator Grand Award winner Eleven Madison Park is launching a second seasonal pop-up, EMP Winter House, in Aspen, Colo. The restaurant opened Dec. 15 in the St. Regis Hotel and will remain open through the first week of April 2019. "EMP Summer House and EMP Winter House are two totally different restaurants," said Eleven Madison Park wine director Cedric Nicaise. "The menu, decor and feel of the restaurant is different, but the amazing staff is the same."
The 250-selection wine list follows the same "ethos" as Eleven Madison Park's but on a smaller scale, said Nicaise, showing strengths in California, Burgundy, the Rhône and Piedmont. But the menu shakes things up, drawing inspiration from chef Daniel Humm's home country with classic Swiss dishes like Zurich-style chicken, as well as schnitzel and fondue. "One of the things that makes these pop-ups unique is that we are not replicating the same concept," said Nicaise. An après-ski menu includes the famed Humm dog and a Thermos of bone broth for the table.—B.G.
Chef and restaurateur Andrew Carmellini and his NoHo Hospitality Group, which is behind Best of Award of Excellence winner the Dutch in Miami, opened San Morello in Detroit's Shinola Hotel Dec. 18. "The amount of opportunity and creativity in Detroit is amazing right now," said NoHo beverage director Josh Nadel.
The 300-selection wine list offers mainly Italian wines from Piedmont and Tuscany, with a few selections from France and the U.S. To pair with the menu's southern Italian cuisine, there's also a large spotlight on the lesser-known Italian wines from regions like Campania, Basilicata and Sicily "that really are just meant to go with food," said Nadel.
"I think it's very important to have wine with which people are really comfortable, but one of my favorite things to do is bring a lot of those wines that are a lot less familiar to people," Nadel said. "Some of the wines I'm bringing here haven't even been into the state before."—B.G.
On Jan. 3, restaurateurs Piero Selvaggio and Ron Salisbury will open Louie's by the Bay in Newport Beach, Calif., days after Selvaggio closes his Santa Monica restaurant, Valentino, which was one of the first to earn a Grand Award in 1981 and maintained the title for 37 years. The restaurant will serve its final dinner Dec. 31.
"[We] want to really make this a wine-driven restaurant, and we have all of the tools to do that," Selvaggio said. "It's my first new challenge in a long time."
The opening list will have more than 150 mostly Italian selections, with plenty of classics like Barolo and Brunello, as well as picks from small producers in regions like Sicily and Sardinia. About 70 to 80 percent of the program will come from Valentino, especially old bottlings like Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1891 and Bertani Recioto della Valpolicella Amarone Classico Superiore 1968.
Like Valentino, Louie's by the Bay will serve a mix of classic and creative Italian dishes, from eggplant Parmigiana and veal Milanese to grilled octopus with squid-ink couscous, as well as various dry-aged meat cuts. The restaurant will source its pasta from an independent producer in Naples, Italy, and turn to Southern California for produce and cheeses.
Selvaggio is looking forward to bringing something new to Newport Beach, an area he feels is lacking a substantial fine-dining scene. Still, closing his historic restaurant and welcoming a new one has been bittersweet. "It's an emotional, painful passage, but it's time for the passage," Selvaggio said.—J.H.
On Dec. 12, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, whose Crafted Hospitality operates Best of Award of Excellence winners Craft and Craft Los Angeles, opened his newest farm-to-table restaurant, Small Batch, in Long Island's Roosevelt Field shopping mall.
"We've been looking for a while for something outside a major metropolitan area," Colicchio told Wine Spectator. "There's a tremendous food movement and spirit movement in Long Island, so we thought that this was a great opportunity."
Colicchio wanted to make Small Batch more casual and accessible than his other concepts. Beverage director Natalie Grindstaff kept this in mind when crafting the wine list, which has roughly 100 selections and focuses on Long Island wineries and other domestic regions. "I have a passion for American wine and I think with the style of food that we're doing, American wine really makes a lot of sense," said Grindstaff.
Roosevelt Field will also be home to Osteria Morini, an Italian concept by the Altamarea Group and chef Michael White, come next summer. Stay tuned for more details.—B.G.
On Dec. 28, Maximal Concepts' modern Chinese restaurant Mott 32 is opening its third location in the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas. The Vancouver, Canada, outpost has a Best of Award of Excellence.
"We're staying true to a lot of our traditional methods, but doing it in a fun, energetic, approachable and attractive way," Michael Main, senior group director of operations for Maximal Concepts, told Wine Spectator.
Managed by head sommelier Chloe Helfand, the nearly 600-selection wine list will have substantial Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy sections, as well as major California labels and big-name producers from around the world. There will also be 35 wines by the glass to accommodate guests in the large bar and lounge area.—J.H.
Best of Award of Excellence winner Wit & Wisdom in the Four Seasons Baltimore will close after dinner service Dec. 31. The restaurant is a concept from Michael Mina, who owns nine Restaurant Award winners including five Bourbon Steak concepts and two Michael Mina outposts.
According to a Four Seasons Baltimore representative, the hotel's contract with the Mina group ended, and the closure was a mutual decision. The Baltimore-based Atlas Restaurant Group will be taking over the space Jan. 1, 2019, which owns two Restaurant Award winners already located in the hotel, Azumi and Bygone, as well as Ouzo Bay and Tagliata. The new restaurant is slated to open early next summer. While details have not yet been released, the group's director of marketing Joe Sweeney told Wine Spectator via email: "You can be sure it will be another restaurant that continues to elevate Baltimore's dining scene.—J.H.
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