Michael Scelfo opened Waypoint last year with a seafood-heavy menu that also features pizza and pasta. The playful wine list crafted by Wine Director Jen Fields is organized into categories like “Vitamins & Minerals” and “Structure.”
From the sommelier: “We get a ton of requests for ‘weird,’ ‘funky’ and ‘stinky’ wines. People are looking to challenge their palates and really think about what they’re drinking. Look at menus around the country right now, and you’ll see so many umami-based ingredients: fish sauce, miso, squid ink, etc. People have started craving flavors and textures they’ve never had before, and this has begun to translate into the beverage world.” –Jen Fields
Chef Michael Scelfo and Wine Director Jen Fields
You describe your food as coastally inspired, not Italian. How do pizza and pasta fit in?
Michael Scelfo: I’m Italian, third-generation. I think all my food is Mediterranean leaning…It could also be southern French.
The restaurant scene in Cambridge has exploded over the last few years.
MS: I like to think of Cambridge as our own little Brooklyn to Boston. It’s really where a lot of new and exciting things are happening in the food scene.
Jen Fields: It’s very collaborative. If I go to a place down the street and have a really cool glass or bottle, I’ll talk to them about it. We all love talking about food and wine.
Waypoint’s food changes constantly. Jen, how does that affect you in selecting wines?
JF: We try to take the same seasonal inspirations. We rotate our glass pours every few months. We’re transitioning into more rosés. Later in the summer, going into fall, we’ll get into some of the heavier whites and lighter reds. When it’s cold, we do heavier reds to go with the weather and food.
Why the focus on absinthe cocktails?
MS: Anything that’s got kind of an anise note, I’m really partial to. I think those flavors pair really well with seafood and shellfish…. There’s a huge opportunity to have a fresh voice on seafood in Boston, and absinthe is part of that.
Why did you choose descriptors like “Lost at Sea” and “Old Souls” for the wine list?
JF: We wanted to focus on less-known indigenous grapes, but wanted to categorize a little differently so people would know more what to expect. [Scelfo] really likes cool-climate, light-body reds, so “Cool Nights” had to be a category. I love high-altitude aromatic whites, so we had to do a “Vertigo” section.
MS: We’re a big family of punsters, so any opportunity to have “Caught Macerating” on a menu, we had to do it. —Layla Schlack