Fans of Danny Meyer's North End Grill have limited time to enjoy the New York restaurant's French-American cuisine and Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine program. The Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) eatery will close at the end of this year.
USHG has not revealed the reason behind the decision, but reported in a statement that it came "after much thought and discussion." In the meantime, expect to see some changes during these final months. Assistant beverage director Evan Abrams is now overseeing the wine program, and executive chef Emily Brekke, who took over in December, is planning a revamp of the menu. "We are taking this opportunity to have some fun and take some risks while we are in this beautiful space," the statement reads.
Other details on how the rest of the year will pan out for North End Grill are uncertain, including the exact date that it will close and what will happen to its inventory of 4,500 wine bottles.
"We should have more details about what guests can expect at North End Grill for the remainder of the year in the coming weeks," a USHG representative told Wine Spectator via email.—L.W.
Best of Award of Excellence winner Coi in San Francisco recently welcomed a new wine director, Thomas Smith. This follows the replacement of Matthew Kirkley by Erik Anderson as executive chef in January.
Smith said the growth of Coi's wine list will be driven by the new menu. Owner Daniel Patterson's cuisine is seafood- and vegetable-driven, and Smith describes Anderson's interpretation as richer with more emphasis on French techniques. "It gives me the opportunity to work with bigger reds, and not just the great reds of our region, but Bordeaux, Barolo, Brunello, Rioja," Smith told Wine Spectator.
Smith said he couldn't pass up the opportunity to take over the program at Coi, where he took his first fine-dining job in 2007 as a sommelier and maître d'. "It felt right to return to the place where it all began," he said. "Coi has always been a place staffed by really dedicated professionals who really enjoy the push and are dedicated to their craft."—J.H.
On March 17, Barcelona Wine Bar opened its first Colorado outpost in Denver's Rino district. The tapas spot has 13 Best of Award of Excellence–winning locations across the country with strengths in Spain, South America and France.
At just under 300 wines, the Denver list is smaller than those at other locations, which offer about 500 selections each. Wine director Gretchen Thomas works with small producers that don't always have an existing presence in certain cities.
"They grow with us in many ways, so it's a cool, good-vibes relationship that we have with these very artisanal producers," Thomas told Wine Spectator. "We feel like our wine list is an ambassador for these producers that make really unique, awesome wines."
There will also be 42 selections available in 3- or 6-ounce pours, in addition to nine Sherries offered by the glass.—J.H.
Amada will close its Award of Excellence–winning New York City location at the end of March. The restaurant features a wine list of 225 selections, with a large focus on regions in Spain, complementing its Spanish menu.
"It is with a heavy heart that we share this news and thank everyone involved at Amada NYC for their hard work and dedication over the last few years," chef and owner Jose Garces told Wine Spectator in a statement. "This business is not an easy one, but we have certainly learned from this venture in the Big Apple." Amada's Philadelphia location, also an Award of Excellence winner, will remain open.—B.G.
Best of Award of Excellence winner Madeo in the West Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles temporarily closed its doors earlier this month for renovation. In the meantime, the restaurant is moving less than 10 minutes away to Beverly Hills, where it's set to open by the end of April. The restaurant could remain in Beverly Hills for up to two years, until the original location's remodeling, including a bigger kitchen, is complete.
Madeo owner Gianni Vietina told Wine Spectator that Madeo's 1,255-selection wine list will remain intact, but the new address will bring some changes, like a larger dining area (seating around 140 guests) and an outdoor patio.—B.G.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, which has 67 Restaurant Award–winning locations across the country, opened its newest outpost in Miami's Brickell neighborhood March 26.
In addition to the core list of 100 wine selections chosen annually by national wine director Stephen Blevins, the Brickell location will offer several bottles tailored to local tastes. Blevins worked with wine manager David Montoya, a Miami native, to create the list, which currently offers around 120 wines by the bottle and 30 available by the glass, and will continue to grow.
Blevins is particularly excited about some higher-end offerings by the glass like Champagne's Perrier-Jouët and Justin's Isosceles in California. Although there are plenty of steak houses in Miami, Blevins says Fleming's emphasis on educating the wine team helps set them apart. "We're really bringing back the wine expertise and the wine culture as part of our menu," he said.—J.H.