At the end of January 2017, Grand Award winner Del Posto will gain a new executive chef. Taking over the acclaimed Italian kitchen from Mark Ladner, who plans to launch his own fast-casual pasta venue, is Melissa Rodriguez, currently the restaurant’s chef de cuisine. The fine-dining restaurant from Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali is known for its five- and eight-course prix fixe dinner offerings and its 2,000-selection wine list. With particular strengths in Italian wines and Champagne, the restaurant has earned a Grand Award each year since 2008.—S.H.
Following a brief closure for updates from late November through early December 2016, Aureole Las Vegas has reopened its doors, with changes to the Grand Award–winning wine program. While the by-the-bottle list continues to offer 2,700 selections, with strengths in Bordeaux, Burgundy, California, Austria, Germany and the Rhône, the by-the-glass program has changed, now offering 48 frequently rotating selections. In addition, the dinner menu now includes by-the-glass pairing suggestions alongside each dish. No changes will be made to the restaurant’s famous four-story wine tower—though Aureole’s “wine angels,” who retrieve the wines from it, now have new silver uniforms that allow them to be seen from anywhere in the restaurant.—S.H.
After its temporary closure last summer and changes to the wine list, menu and decor, Alain Ducasse’s Benoit in Manhattan has put more changes in motion for the new year. Taking over the kitchen from Philippe Bertineau as the restaurant’s new executive chef is Laetitia Rouabah, who has previously held positions at several of Ducasse’s restaurants, including Allard in Paris. On the wine front, wine director and general manager Guillem Kerambrun also departed the restaurant. While Christopher Charraudeau, previously of Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester in London, has assumed the position as general manager, a replacement wine director has not yet been announced to take over the restaurant’s 550-selection, Best of Award of Excellence–winning list, which has strengths in Burgundy, Bordeaux, California and the Rhône.—S.H.
On Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, the team behind Miami Award of Excellence winner Mignonette will open a second location at 13951 Biscayne Blvd. in North Miami Beach. Daniel Serfer, executive chef of both locations, works alongside chef de cuisine Anthony Ciancio at the new Mignonette Uptown on a menu that combines old favorites from the original menu and new dishes such as dry-aged, bone-in New York strip steak, buttermilk fried chicken and Buffalo scallops. Like the original location's list, the wine program at Mignonette Uptown, managed by the sommelier of both locations, Matt Dinkel, focuses on bottles from California and around the world.—S.H.
In case you missed our news report just before the holidays, Pearl & Ash, a Wine Spectator Grand Award winner, has said goodbye to its home on Bowery, on New York's Lower East Side. On Dec. 17, the restaurant closed its doors, with plans to reopen in late spring 2017 in a new location in Manhattan's posh West Village.
“We are moving the restaurant, including the entire wine cellar, to a location in the West Village,” Pearl & Ash wine director and partner Patrick Cappiello explained to Wine Spectator. “We are still in lease negotiations, so we aren’t announcing the exact location yet.” Learn more about the restaurant’s wine program and the possible implications of the move.—G.S.