Looking for a layup on restaurant wine lists in Miami and Dallas.
It's a tight NBA Finals this year, with two powerhouse teams looking to grab the glory. Question is, what are you going to do to celebrate your team's win, or drown your sorrows with if they lose?
Well the easy answer is the same: Go out and splurge. No better way to do that than by visiting a great restaurant and ordering up some fine wines from their lists.
We took a look at some of the top lists in both Miami and Dallas and pit them in a head-to-head grudge match. Who's the winner? Check it out and see if you agree.
Miami - De Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean
Dallas - Reata in Fort Worth
Here you have a battle of local flavors, not surprisingly both Latin-influenced. Both Reata's Southwest-inflected menu and De Cuba on Ocean's Caribbean bent pose many challenges for the wine lover, but both have put together winning lists. In this battle of the list though, my nod has to go to… Cuba on Ocean. Reata's has a solid, mostly domestic list, but Cuba on Ocean has put together a nice, fittingly international list!
Wines to buy if Miami wins:
With dinner, try the 2009 Rudera Chenin Blanc ($33) and then celebrate with a bottle of Dom Perignon ($200).
Miami - Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
Dallas - Chamberlain's Fishmarket Grill
Now this should be a bit of a no-brainer. Miami being on the sea sounds like it's all net, but Dallas isn’t that far from the coast and is almost equidistant from both the Pacific and Atlantic, so it might have the best of both worlds. Both lists are tight and have some great selections with a nice mix of domestic and imported wines, but the three at the buzzer delivers this win to… Chamberlain's Fishmarket Grill. I love the variety at Sugarcane, but that $350 bottle of Dom P killed it for me.
Wines to buy if Dallas wins:
Try a bottle of Domaine Weinbach's Pinot Blanc reserve ($60) with dinner before popping the cork on the 2002 Dom Perignon ($250).
Miami - DB Bistro Modern by Daniel Boulud
Dallas - Five Sixty By Wolfgang Puck
These are definitely the kind of restaurants you head to for celebrations, when someone else is footing the bill. Both are typical high-end establishments, dressed to impress, and you might even find your favorite team celebrating here! With that in mind, this is no contest. DB Bistro has a killer wine list, with some killer prices to boot. We're talking 2002 Dom Perignon for $480 folks, but if you want to really blow it out and party like the NBA Champions, this is the place.
Before popping the corks on those Dom Ps, treat yourself to a not-too-atrociously priced 1991 Tondonia Gran Reserva ($235).
Dallas - Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
You know when it really comes down to it, steaks and lobsters are the meal of champions, so let's lay it all out on the steakhouse. This is a painfully lopsided victory. I looked at all the steakhouse wine lists in Miami for something that could begin to compete with Pappas Bros.’ list. This is like the Harlem Globetrotters meets your Little League team. Dunk. Dunk. Dunk. Dribble through the legs, and SLAM dunk.
Pappas Bros.’s list is insane! I just added a restaurant that I need to visit to my list that is conveniently labeled "Restaurants I want to visit.” You want Dom P? Pappas Bros. has five vintages! The most recent on the list, 2000, goes for $360 but the 102-page list – yes, one hundred and two pages! – is packed with gems for every winner.
I don't even have time to read through all the choices, but a brief 15-minute glance at the list turned up few deals, though one could do worse than a bottle of the 1985 Spring Mountain Vineyards Cabernet for $150 or the 2005 d'Armailhac for $120. Yowsa!
So based on this, it looks like a close series with the edge going to Dallas. I hope they celebrate in style at Pappas Bros., but stay away from some of the wines I look forward to trying!
An even more important question for most of you out there might be, what Champagne is going to be sprayed around the locker room when someone does win? I'm not sure about that, but the NBA does have an official Champagne.
Crazy, I know. It's called Les Jeux, which translates as "The Plays." Very punny. And no, this is not a joke; you can check it out here!
Photo credit: Le Jeux Champagne/NBA