The New York–based NoMad hotel and its namesake Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence–winning restaurant have gone bicoastal. On Jan. 21, the Sydell Group, which manages the hotel, will open a new 241-room, Jacques Garcia–designed NoMad hotel in the landmarked 1920s Giannini Place building in downtown Los Angeles.
This marks the first foray outside New York for chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara's Make It Nice hospitality group, which owns Grand Award winner Eleven Madison Park, the NoMad and the fast-casual Made Nice. They will oversee the Los Angeles hotel's dining venues: a formal dining room, a lobby restaurant and bar, an all-day café, and a rooftop pool bar.
Executive chef Chris Flint, an eight-year veteran of Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad in New York, is moving west to oversee the kitchen, while Ryan Bailey, previously head sommelier at the NoMad, joins as wine director.
"I walked into the space in L.A., and it's beautiful, it's absolutely glamorous, and I just said, 'I think people are going to want to drink Champagne here,'" Bailey told Wine Spectator. Champagne and sparkling wine will account for roughly a quarter of the list, with a focus on the 29 grower-producers in the Club Trésors de Champagne, or "Special Club."
Backed by a 10,000-bottle red-wine cellar and 6,000-bottle bubbly and white-wine cellar, the overall list will initially include about 800 selections (expected to grow to 2,000), with strengths in France, Italy, Germany and California. Bailey says the list will offer plenty of value, with nearly 200 selections under $100, and will be available at each of the dining spaces and via room service.
The European-American menu offerings will be in the style of the New York flagship—incorporating dishes like the signature chicken for two—but will largely be adapted to suit Los Angeles tastes and ingredients. A roast duck, for example, swaps out New York's endives and kumquats for apples and chicory.—H.S.
The Best of Award of Excellence–winning Chicago location of Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse now has an outlet for sparkling wine lovers. Following an extensive redesign, the restaurant recently opened the 60-seat Esquire Champagne Room on its third floor, featuring live music, new menu items and a wide range of bubblies.
Named after the historic Esquire Theater, which houses the steak house, the new lounge serves 50 sparkling-wine selections, including Salon, Piper-Heidsieck, Veuve Clicquot and Schramsberg, as well as 20 by-the-glass pours and a trio of bubbly cocktails. Del Frisco's full 1,650-selection wine list is also available. The food menu focuses on hors d'oeuvres like miso-glazed octopus, foie gras mousse and caviar.—L.W.
Best of Award of Excellence winner Proof in Washington, D.C., has named George Rodrigues as its new executive chef, replacing outgoing Austin Fausett. Rodrigues will start in February, but in the meantime, he has been working with wine director Ben Kuna on future plans for the menu.
"Proof is a wine restaurant," Rodrigues told Wine Spectator. "We're pairing the food with the wine, not the other way around." He adds that this presents opportunities for growth as a chef.
The restaurant's wine list offers 1,000 selections with a wide range of strengths in California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and the Rhône Valley.
"We're going to be bringing some really different, bold flavors that are going to definitely complement the wine that we have at Proof," Rodrigues said. While the menu will get a few early tweaks, major changes will take place in the spring.—J.H.
Sullivan's Steakhouse in Austin, Texas, closed earlier this month. The steak-house chain has 15 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the country.
The building will be demolished and replaced by an apartment tower, where another restaurant from Sullivan's parent company, Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, will open; details are yet to be determined. The group owns 50 Restaurant Award winners, including newly-minted Grand Award winner Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House in New York.—J.H..
Since Hurricane Maria struck last September, Puerto Rico has benefited from the generosity of others, notably culinary greats like chef José Andrés.
Later this month, Michael Dorf, founder and CEO of City Winery, which has four Best of Award of Excellence winners, will contribute to the effort by holding the City Winery's annual team-building getaway, "Basecamp," in Puerto Rico. Dorf and over 120 employees will deliver supplies and assist residents affected by the hurricane, including helping farmers with the restoration of their properties, debris removal and seed planting.
City Winery is also collaborating with Award of Excellence winner 1919 Restaurant and the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel to host a celebration for the locals (the San Juan restaurant was also affected by Hurricane Maria). The City Winery staff hopes to raise over $250,000 in advance of their departure. To donate, visit http://www.citywinery.com/puertorico.—V.S.