NEW ORLEANS, LA (Friday, July 18, 2008) – Wine Spectator magazine, the nation’s leading wine resource, has named Emeril’s Restaurant as a 2008 Grand Award winner – the only restaurant in Louisiana to earn the distinction.
Only 73 restaurants in the world have garnered the Grand Award honor, noted by breadth of top vintners, excellent depth in mature vintages, selection of large-format bottles, and superior organization, presentation and wine service.
“Wine has been a foundation of Emeril’s since our very first service,” says Eric Linquest, Vice President of Emeril’s Homebase. “While we lost much of our collection back in 2005, through the hard work of our team and the support of all of our friends and vintners, we’re proud to gain the recognition of Wine Spectator and be part of the new age of great dining in this city.”
Guided by Emeril’s sommelier Steve Russett, the wine list is renowned for its depth and balance, providing the diversity to pair several wines with any of Chef de Cuisine David Slater’s preparations. The list spans over 1525 selections, with many from California, Burgundy, Rhone, Bordeaux, Germany and Austria. There are 325 bottles priced below $100, over 100 below $50 and 24 selections available by the glass.
Russett says “The biggest challenge we had rebuilding the list was getting wine back into the city. Our guests always showed a strong interest in our older bottlings, and once we started to acquire more Grand Cru Burgundy and older Bordeaux, we were able to rebuild our portfolio pretty quickly.”
Emeril’s is open for lunch Monday-Friday from 11:30am-2:00pm and dinner Monday-Sunday from 6:00pm-10:00pm. Located at 800 Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans, complimentary valet parking is available in front of the restaurant. For lunch or dinner reservations, please call 504-528-9393 or visit emerils.com.
Steve Russett, Sommelier
Steve Russett was instilled with a sense of service and discipline that would follow him through every endeavor. Born in Daytona Beach, Florida, Russett graduated high school and entered the United States Marine Corps the same year, serving four years in the infantry.
Beginning his career at Emeril’s Delmonico in November 1999, Russett was introduced to an enlightened standard of hospitality that he was determined to master. Inspired by his first pre-meal meeting at Delmonico, he shared unmatched service with his guests, rising to Captain within three months and Assistant Sommelier within his first year.
In June 2003, he joined the team at Emeril’s Restaurant as a manager and Assistant Sommelier. When Emeril’s Restaurant reopened following Hurricane Katrina in December 2005, he was entrusted with the title of Sommelier, and the immeasurable task of restoring Emeril’s cellars and the extensive collection that was lost to the storm.
He orchestrated the return of the city’s finest wine list – one that is as accessible to new wine enthusiasts as to the veteran oenophile. Always quick to share his knowledge and passion for the terroir and winemaking styles exclusive of each region; Russett is most often found tableside, unraveling complex pairings course by course with Emeril’s guests.
After a prolonged wait for the level of great wines to slowly return to the city, coupled with a persistent search for precious older bottlings via Emeril’s network of friends and vintners, the cellars were once again filled with over 1,500 selections from California, Burgundy, Rhone, Bordeaux, Germany and Austria. In July 2008, with Russett’s two decades of hospitality and service as a guide, the fruits of his labors came to Emeril’s Restaurant through the industry’s most coveted honor – Wine Spectator’s Grand Award.
Russett continues to explore the nuances of the world’s great wines with his sights set on reaching the advanced level of the Court of Master Sommeliers, a tribute to his determination to continue crafting new and remarkable pairings for Emeril’s guests.