Master Sommelier George Miliotes will open a concept of his own, Wine Bar George, in fall 2017 at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort. Miliotes, who served since 2002 as the company wine director for Darden restaurants—including 112 Restaurant Award winners in 2016 from the Capital Grille, Seasons 52 and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood chains—departed from the group earlier this year. The list at Wine Bar George will offer more than 100 selections by both the bottle and glass, and encompass domestic and global choices. “With an international wine list that’s both approachable and adventurous, my hope is that Wine Bar George will cater to wine connoisseurs and novices alike,” Miliotes said in a statement. When it comes to the menu, cheese, charcuterie and other small plates highlighting local and seasonal products will be available for pairing with the wines.
On Sept. 26, the two Michelin-starred, Best of Award of Excellence–winning Ciel Bleu Restaurant reopened on the 23rd floor of the Hotel Okura Amsterdam after a redesign of its interior and menu. Changes to the space from architect Bert Verwey include an extended lounge area for the restaurant and a sky-blue ceiling.
Chef Onno Kokmeijer now channels the restaurant’s international cuisine into set menus of small courses, starting with a series of “bites”—including corn and lovage, grass cheese and piccalilli, tomato and cantaloupe—before moving into up to 9 courses. “We want our signature to be recognizable in three mouthfuls,” said Kokmeijer in a statement. “Larger portions get boring, so what we are doing instead is constantly looking for dishes that pique curiosity visually and give the guest an appetite for more.” The wine program, managed by Master Sommelier Noël Vanwittenbergh, remains the same: Guests can still choose from the list’s 415 selections, offering particular strength in Bordeaux and Burgundy.
On Sept. 28, Rouge Tomate Chelsea opened at 126 W. 18th St. in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. A less-formal version of the now-closed original Michelin-starred Rouge Tomate restaurant on the Upper East Side, the Chelsea location will be led by the same team, with executive chef Andy Bennett in the kitchen and beverage director and Master Sommelier Pascaline Lepetier in the cellar. As with the original restaurant’s health-focused cuisine, plants take center stage, rounded out with fish, meat and poultry. Signature menu items include amberjack crudo with pineapple green Thai consommé and miso-glazed zucchini, quinoa and baby bok choy with smoked onion broth. The wine list offers more than 1,600 selections—the majority of which come from organically or biodynamically grown grapes—and features regional bottlings from New York and Vermont alongside wines from around the world. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner, as well as for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
From Oct. 21–Nov. 4, Napa Valley Vintners’ Somms & Sliders promotion will return to New York for the second time. The program, in which restaurants around the city create pairings of gourmet burgers with Napa Valley wines, debuted in 2015 with 18 participating restaurants; this year, 29 restaurants are joining in, including eight Restaurant Award winners: Bowery Meat Company, City Winery, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Delmonico’s Restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, North End Grill, The Lambs Club and Untitled at the Whitney. Pairings to keep an eye on include Bowery Meat Company’s 40-day dry-aged burger with Raclette cheese and Darms Lane ‘Fortune 1621’ 2013 and Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House’s lamb sliders with Hess Allomi Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013.
At the end of September, the Polo Club Lounge at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans’ Central Business District reopened after two months of renovations. Roughly 930 square feet have been added to the venue to allow for more seating and performance space for the lounge’s live local jazz acts, which appear Tuesday through Saturday nights. The lounge, adjacent to Best of Award of Excellence winner the Grill Room, serves the restaurant’s 750-selection list, which is strong in choices from Burgundy, Rhône, France, Germany, Austria and Italy. In addition, the lounge now features a new menu of elevated pub fare from the Grill Room chef Gabriel Charpentier, including dishes such as oxtail ragout poutine, steak tartare and a crab and crawfish croquette.