Friday, September 7, 2007
BostonWineBuzz.com (BWB): So Kara, please tell me a little about the Park Square wine list?
Kara Kukull (KK): The Park Square wine list is 34 pages of absolute wine values. All the Legal Sea Foods lists are driven by value. We are absolutely committed to providing quality wine at the absolute lowest bottle prices in the country. Park Square, in particular, has received the “Best of” award from Wine Spectator, while all the other locations have received the “Award of Excellence.” Both levels of status are noteworthy. Park Square has an extensive list of wine that focuses on CA varietals and both red and white burgundies. We also try to focus on trendy wines. Having Sandy here also gives us an edge. We are the only restaurant in the country that has a Master of Wine overseeing its program. As you might imagine we spend a lot of time on educating and training the staff. We have an in-house 18 hour beverage certification program for servers and managers. Finally, we taste wines daily and have a 3 hour wine course for the staff on a monthly basis.
BWB: What makes the Park Square Legal wine list different?
KK: Again, I want to emphasis the values. We keep the prices low so people can really explore wine and not worry about their wallet.
BWB: What are a couple of your favorite wines on the wine list?
KK: This is a very hard question for me since there are so many. But I want to give you 3 of my favorites. I would highly recommend the 2004 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir from Waipara, New Zealand. It is on the list for $49. The wine is medium to full bodied. It has lots of typical cherry fruit. It is vibrant, complex, and has great notes of earth. It is a terrific match for Legal’s Wild Alaskan Salmon. My favorite wine to match our award winning clam chowder is the 2004 Hanzell Chardonnay. $72 (Ken: I certainly endorse this choice – we love this wine) Finally, I absolutely love the 2004 Grosset "Polish Hill" Riesling $39. This wine pairs perfectly with our King Crab legs. On the nose, this wine offers hints of petrol and citrus. On the palate, the wine has lots of lime notes and minerality. If you like Sauvignon Blanc, you will love this dry Riesling.
BWB: What bottle would you recommend to your best friend if he/she and their spouse come to the Park Square Legal for their anniversary?
KK: The most important thing is to "read the guest" and find out what their preferences are. So this question for me is easy since all my best friends like shellfish. So I have no problem recommending a nice bottle of Champagne for them. Given that, I would recommend the NV Laurent Perrier Brut for $55 to match with our “Treasures of the Reef” platter. That platter is an assortment of freshly shucked and chilled raw shellfish such as oysters, littlenecks, cherrystones, and lobster.
BWB: What are a couple of the best deals on the wine list? And is there a steal on the list?
KK: I think the entire 34 page book is just full of deals and steals. I actually challenge you to find a wine that isn’t a deal. We truly want our guests to drink these wines and enjoy them.
BWB: That is a great philosophy Kara. I wish every restaurant took that approach.
KK: As for some really good steals, here are a few. The 2002 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon for $69 is a really good deal. The 2001 Grange for $245 is listed at the retail price or better, if you could even find any. Finally, we have Wine Spectator’s #1 ranked wine from 2006 on the list. The 2001 Casanova di Nera “Tenuta Nuova” Brunello di Montalcino for $95 is an absolute steal and gem of a wine.
BWB: Talk a little bit about your wines by the glass program?
KK: Again the focus here is on selection and value. How we select the wine for the glass program is also very unique. We have distributors submit wines for a blind tasting to be considered for the program. The system eliminates vendor relations, label bias, and allows us to focus on the wine and how it would pair with the food on the menu.
BWB: What is the best deal in your wines by the glass program?
KK: I would say our flight program is a great place to start. You get three wine samples that equal a full glass of wine. Sandy provides notes and descriptions for the wines in the flight. My favorite flight on the list right now is the Sauvignon Republic flight. It offers three Sauvignon Blancs from the same producer from three different regions. The current three are from the Russian River Valley in CA, Marlborough in New Zealand, and Stellenbosch in South Africa. It is truly a great way for the taster to experience different regions and different terroir. The flight cost is $9.50. We offer several different flight options. As for the overall best deals on a single glass of wine, I think the 2005 Far Niente Chardonnay for $17.50 a glass is a steal. The 2001 Rosemont “Balmoral” Syrah for $14.95 a glass is another one. Finally, we will be bringing in a 2005 Chateau Haut Montaud “Bordeaux Superior” for $7.50 a glass and $25 per bottle. That wine at that price is another great deal.
BWB: Finally, why should the wine lovers of New England come to The Park Square Legal Sea Foods?
KK: Wine lovers should come to the Park Square Legal to see the list and experience some great wine at an affordable price. We are so focused on wine. We have wine dinners every month. For instance, we have a California Zinfandel Wine Dinner on September 26th. and a Far Niente / Nickel & Nickel Wine Dinner on October 23rd. Finally, the wine cellar downstairs is open for private dining and a great wine experience.
BWB: That sounds just great Kara. If our readers want to stop by for some great wine and food where can they find you?
KK: We are located 26 Park Square in Boston, MA. You can call us @ (617) 426-4444 for reservations and directions. You can also make a reservation on OpenTable.com. Our website is Park Square Legal Sea Foods. Hope to see you soon.
I know we will be in for some dinner soon.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Schedule of Events
Thursday, September 27: Attend wine dinners at select Newport restaurants.
Friday, September 28: See Chef Jacques Pepin and others present a series of informative seminars and demonstrations in and around the Newport Mansions. Enjoy a fabulous evening of Wine and Rosecliff with delicious food, great wines, dancing and a silent auction.
Saturday, September 29: More seminars and cooking demonstrations lead up to the afternoon Grand Tasting on the lawn of Marble House, capped off with an exciting live auction and raffle.
For more information on the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival and to order tickets to the events, please click here.