At this easygoing temple of contemporary French cuisine, the kitchen will tailor dishes for vegetarians and vegans.
Duval-Leroy 1996 Femme Brut (Champagne)
Château d’Yquem 1990 Sauternes
Kistler 2008 Cuvée Natalie Silver Belt Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)
Much of the expansive wine list comes from Executive Chef Eric McDowell’s private collection, and the list continues to expand under the direction of Wine Director Jay Berry.
Hot Chef: Eric McDowell
To say chef McDowell is heavily involved with the restaurant’s wine program would be an understatement, seeing as he started it six years ago by donating the contents of his own personal wine cellar.
Wine Enthusiast: Where do you go for an amazing food and wine experience?
Eric McDowell: My favorite restaurant is probably The French Laundry. It’s outstanding. Bigname chefs like Thomas Keller, their success usually comes from their philosophy, so you pick up a little of that from the dining experience and it can help you down the road. About five years ago, I was only using one kind of salt. Today I make my own salts and use six to eight others depending on how many dishes we have on the menu.
WE: Epiphany wine experience in a restaurant?
ED: In 2007 I was at Charlie Trotter’s with my wife, who was pregnant at the time, so she couldn’t drink. I could, though, and they poured us some incredible wines including a 1990 Chorey-lès-Beaune and a 1927 Pedro Ximénez. It was incredible; I had three tasting portions for every course and there were 17 courses.
WE: Favorite tool or ingredient you are using now?
ED: My favorite tool is really the spoon. There is a book called “Spoons” written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal that I really love. Basically, you can use spoons for everything. Every single chef in my kitchen has their own spoon that’s specialized to their own station.
For more information about this Iowa City, IA, restaurant, click here.