Updated Dec. 22
Celebrity chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay has debuted a second location of his Gordon Ramsay Steak, in the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore.
According to sommelier Nathan Templeton, Ramsay sees Baltimore as an up-and-coming city in the culinary world and wanted to be a part of that. "The food scene is ready for a concept like Gordon Ramsay [Steak]," Templeton told Wine Spectator. "Even though we are heavily focused on fine dining and providing this level of service that Baltimore hasn't seen, we want the guests to have fun."
The restaurant will offer cuts that are dry-aged in house. The 90-selection wine list is dominated by California, with Argentina, France and Italy also represented. More than 25 wines are available by the glass.
The first Gordon Ramsay Steak, which holds Wine Spectator's Best of Award of Excellence, is located in the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and offers 600 wine selections with strengths in California, France, Spain and Italy.—J.H.
Celebrity chef and restaurateur Mario Batali has stepped down from his restaurant group after multiple women, most of whom worked for Batali at some point in their career, accused him of sexual misconduct.
In a statement to Eater, which broke the story Dec. 11, Batali said: "I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses."
Batali's restaurant empire, Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, which he co-owns with Lidia Bastianich and her son Joe, includes heralded New York City restaurants such as Restaurant Award winners Del Posto, Casa Mono and Babbo, as well as venues in Los Angeles, with Nancy Silverton, and Las Vegas.
On Dec. 22, the restaurant group released the following statement: "Nancy Silverton and Lidia Bastianich will now take on leadership roles and responsibilities in the company to help ensure everyone has a safe and positive workplace and to steer our culinary direction." The future of Batali's ownership stake is still unclear.
In addition to stepping away from day-to-day operations at his restaurants, ABC removed Batali from The Chew, Food Network halted the airing of his Molto Mario remake, and Eataly removed Mario Batali products and books from all locations.
Batali further apologized for his behavior in an online newsletter Dec. 17, stating: "I have made many mistakes and I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans and my team … I take full responsibility."
Batali is not the only chef to step down after harassment allegations. John Besh, whose restaurants include Best of Award of Excellence winner Restaurant August in New Orleans, was fired from his restaurant group in October after 25 employees alleged sexual harassment at his restaurants. In addition, restaurateur Ken Friedman, whose restaurants include New York City's Spotted Pig, is currently on leave from his company after 10 female employees accused him of unwanted sexual advances.—G.S.
The historic Ambassador Chicago Hotel, in the city's Gold Coast area, has a new restaurant in place of the Pump Room, which had been there nearly 80 years before it closed in July. On Nov. 16, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises—a Chicago-based group with more than 120 restaurants spread across several states—opened Booth One, named for the Pump Room's most exclusive table.
"It was too much fun to turn down as a brand to take the Pump Room space and make it one of the truly instrumental dining rooms of Chicago," said corporate wine director Richard Hanauer.
Along with Booth One head sommelier Seth Wilson, Hanauer manages the 300-selection wine list, which has 25 wines by the glass. The program focuses on high-acid, low-tannin wines, particularly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the Burgundian varieties Hanauer feels work best with the "refined" food on the menu.
Best of Award of Excellence winner Lotus of Siam reopened Dec. 11 in a new location on East Flamingo Road in Las Vegas. Known for its Thai food, the restaurant had closed in September after heavy rains caused severe roof damage.
When Lotus of Siam gets its liquor license in another few weeks, the focus will be on wines from Germany, as well as France and California. The 5,000-bottle wine collection is also being transferred to the new outpost. Repairs are underway in the original location, which is expected to reopen in March 2018—but the new location will stay open.—V.S.
After Hurricane Harvey put a damper on plans for a fall debut, Emmaline has opened in Houston's Montrose neighborhood. Sam Governale is spearheading the project; he had previously worked as operating partner of the Award of Excellence–winning Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar location in nearby River Oaks.
Emmaline offers casual American fare with a European twist. Executive chef Dimitri Voutsinas, a Bar Boulud alum, oversees the kitchen, which offers day-to-night dishes from weekend brunch specialties like mascarpone pancakes to dinner entrees like a squash, pine nut and saffron agnolotti.
Featuring 200 selections from Europe and the United States, the wine list is divided into two sections: "time-honored" to denote well-known regions and producers and "explored" for those that are lesser known. Sommelier Lindsay Huntsman, formerly at Houston chef Hugo Ortega's Best of Award of Excellence winner Backstreet Café, oversees the program.—L.W.
A total of four wines from the top Burgundy producer will be poured from the 2011 and 2013 vintages, from four grands crus: Montrachet, Grands Echézeaux, Romanée-St.-Vivant and La Tâche.
"It's going to be quite a night," said Galatoire's co-owner and wine director Bill Kearney, who assured guests would have a "nice-sized glass." Brian Miller from Wilson Daniels, the estate's importer, will be attending. The wines, which also include Champagne to start and a Tokaji for dessert, will be paired with executive chef Michael Sichel's dishes, including escargot, whole-roasted quail and Satsuma-preserve soufflé. Tickets to the 16-seat event cost $1,500 each.—J.H.
Mastro's Steakhouse has unveiled a new location, at the Post Oak Hotel, its first outpost in Houston. The steak-house chain has eight restaurants in Wine Spectator's Restaurant Awards Program.
"I have always wanted to open Mastro's one-of-a-kind, masterful, high-end dining experience in my hometown," Tilman Fertitta, chairman and CEO of Landry's, the chain's parent company, said in a press release.
The beverage program offers wines from the hotel's cellar, The Cellar at The Post Oak, which boasts over 20,000 bottles from over 25 countries.—V.S.