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Turning Tables: A First Look at the Wine List at Michael Mina's New Restaurant

Plus, Peru's Central Restaurante chef opens a restaurant in Hong Kong, the Trabocchi family switches up one of their concepts, and more
Cal Mare in the new MGM Springfield adds to chef Michael Mina's collection of wine-forward restaurants.
Photo by: MGM Resorts International
Cal Mare in the new MGM Springfield adds to chef Michael Mina's collection of wine-forward restaurants.

Lexi Williams, Julie Harans, Brianne Garrett
Posted: August 16, 2018

A First Look at Cal Mare's Wine List

Prolific chef and restaurateur Michael Mina is gearing up for another opening, adding to his roster of restaurants, which includes nine Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards across three concepts: Michael Mina, Bourbon Steak and RN74 Seattle. Cal Mare, the Los Angeles Mediterranean-Italian concept helmed by Mina and his group's executive chef Adam Sobel, will soon have an outpost in the new MGM Springfield resort and casino in Springfield, Mass. This location will also come with its own wine shop; the three venues are set to open Aug. 24.

The kitchen will serve Italian seafood dishes and some New England staples. To complement the food, the 90-selection wine list will focus on Italian and Pacific Northwest wines, with some Champagne, as well as local wines from western Massachusetts. By-the-glass options include the Bellus Frappato Scopello from Sicily, and the by-the-bottle list will range from crisp whites like G.B. Burlotto's Sauvignon Blanc from Piedmont to heavier reds like Montepeloso's Eneo cuvée from Tuscany. The beverage program will also include 20 amaro selections and a tableside limoncello cart.

The Cal Mare Wine Shoppe will sell wine from the restaurant's wine list, as well as other selections, and specialty food items such as olive oils, pastas and sauces. The shop will also have seating for dining, with a special menu available beginning at 4 p.m. daily.—L.W.

Renowned Peruvian Chef Opens Hong Kong Outpost

Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez is opening a new restaurant later this month in Hong Kong's H Queens development. His Central Restaurante in Lima, Peru, holds a Best of Award of Excellence for its 500-selection wine list.

The Hong Kong restaurant, Ichu Peru, will serve modern Peruvian cuisine in a casual, bistro-style setting. "The menu showcases authentic flavors [and honors] local culinary traditions," said wine director Alessandro Puglia. There will be more than 150 selections on the wine list representing around 25 regions around the world, including South American wines from Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, as well as selections from France, the U.S., Italy, Australia and more; 15 wines will be available by the glass.

The dining room is inspired by landscapes from Martinez's homeland, featuring a tessellated tile floor and rock formations along the walls. Ichu Peru will also have an outdoor terrace and a private dining space.—J.H.

D.C.'s Casa Luca Reopens as Sfoglina

Restaurateurs Fabio and Maria Trabocchi's Best of Award of Excellence winner Casa Luca in Washington, D.C., closed Aug. 4 and reopened five days later as a different concept. It's now the second location of pasta eatery Sfoglina. The Trabocchis also own Best of Award of Excellence winners Fiola, Fiola Mare and Del Mar.

"They're not going to be 100 percent identical, but they're going to share a lot of overlapping style," said Casper Rice, corporate wine director for Fabio Trabocchi Restaurants. Sfoglina opened with a similar wine list to Casa Luca's, which offered more than 400 selections with strengths in Italy and California. Rice said the list had become "almost a little too worldly," and he's working to refocus the selections in the coming months, highlighting traditional Italian styles and popular varietals from lesser-known regions and producers.

The menu is also similar to Casa Luca's, using some of the same recipes but further emphasizing the pastas. Rice says this isn't the end of the Casa Luca concept, which will likely reopen in a different location. The restaurant group has plans to expand its other restaurants as well, with a third Sfoglina location in Rosslyn, Va., and another Fiola outpost in Coral Gables, Fla., on the horizon.—J.H.

Portland's RingSide Fish House Has Closed

Jannie Huang
RingSide Fish House's wine list had strengths in Oregon, California, France and Washington.

RingSide Fish House, a Best of Award of Excellence winner in Portland, Ore., closed Aug. 12. The restaurant's landlord had approached the group about another tenant wishing to take over its space. "[We] resolved that it was the right time for a change," RingSide Hospitality Group partner Craig Peterson told Wine Spectator.

The team will focus on its other concept, Best of Award of Excellence winner RingSide Steakhouse. "With our family's energy now directed entirely at the Steakhouse, we are looking forward to celebrating the legendary restaurant's 75th anniversary in 2019, as well as new brand expansions centered around the Steakhouse concept," Peterson said.—B.G.

Bid for Wine Bargains at David Burke's Tavern 62

Award of Excellence winner Tavern62 by David Burke in New York City recently launched a wine-bidding program in the restaurant, giving guests the chance to save money on their wine orders. From now through the end of 2018, guests will be presented with a card with 10 wines from the 105-selection wine list on which they can bid, and then bargain with their server. Chef Burke and wine director Orlando Ramos select the participating bottles every two weeks, with the goal of offering a snapshot of the larger list for less money in a fun, entertaining manner.—J.H.

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