29 Apr THE EATORIALIST: A POOR POUR
First it was the napkins, horrid polyester that scratched and irritated the legions of adoring diners at JOSEPH LEONARD. Luckily those serviettes were put out of service following a fire that temporarily closed the restaurant but now, even with all its culinary coolness, there’s another sensory affront afloat with “pour lines”, the white demarcations etched into stemware bowls (the part of the glass that holds the wine) to achieve optimum portion control.
Let’s start out by saying that we love JOSEPH LEONARD owing to its satisfying comfort plates, faux pub charms and hi-I-am-from-Williamsburg friendly but not-in-your-face staff. Ditto for JEFFREY’S GROCERY, and to a lesser extent the glossier FEDORA. With restauranteur Gabriel Stilman’s newest restaurant PERLA, the menu heads south to Italy and, even with baby-bear pasta portions that wouldn’t satisfy a peckish Goldilocks, he’s likely to add another hit to his growing collection of eats houses.
Mr. Stilman is a good producer – he could be on his way to becoming the Danny Meyer of small quirky restaurants with unifying thematic charms, good food and wine. But, about that wine: where Mr. Meyer knows how to fill a glass at the many outposts of his Union Square Hospitality Group that includes THE MODERN & UNION SQUARE CAFE, Mr. Stilman does not. His bar staff meets its five ounce mark with those glasses, no more and, ever so frustratingly to my dining companion on a recent
visit, on occasion even a little bit less. After all, we’re not talking about Château Lafite Rothschild so, give or take a drop the margins on a standard twenty five ounce bottle are high.
Beverage portion control might be culturally commonplace in Switzerland or budget-minded chains across the globe. Heck, we’re even fine with it at the theme park eats extravaganza that is Eataly. It’s not so much the ouch from the sting of stinginess (absolutely no generous pours here) – it’s just that in beautifully staged restaurants where design is as much a part of the experience as the food that brazen line’s lack of subtlety makes for one classless glass.
The bottom line is one thing and a poor
pour line is another.