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About this Episode

Certified sommelier and wine consultant Alexis Percival and Robert Tas chat about the wine list at Steak Frites, named after that French staple and international favorite meal that’s always enjoyable, just like the atmosphere at this comfortable and welcoming restaurant. Alexis curated the list here and offers expert advice on orange wines, sparkling wines, what to pair with select items on the menu, and which wines to explore for a steak dinner, for a special event, or just for fun.

Wines reviewed include:

  • Domaine Collin, Crémant De Limoux Brut, Languedoc

  • 2018 Beck-Hartweg, Gewürztraminer, Grand Cru Frankstein,  Alsace 

  • 2020 Maison Loron, “Beau!,” Gamay, Beaujolais

Transcript: Steak Frites


RT: Hello and welcome to Cork rules. I'm your host Robert Tas, along with Alexis Percival, certified sommelier, and consulting wine director at Steak Frites and new neighborhood classic French Bistro, located on the west side of Manhattan.

Hello, Alexis, thank you for being here on cork rules, a podcast where we help simplify and demystify the wine list at some of your favorite restaurants and wine bars. We talk with certified sommeliers, wine and food professionals who point out interesting bottles, classic food and wine pairings, hidden gems, value wines. And of course, those splurge wines that will take your experience over the top.

AP: Thank you, Robert. I'm really excited to be here.

RT: Alexis, I'm super excited to talk about steak fruits and their amazing wine lists. But before we jump in, let's talk a little bit about you. Can you give us a little background about yourself in the food business?

AP: Absolutely. Well, steak fried since we're talking about that today was opened at the beginning of December. So it's only been a few weeks, I came onto the project in mid-October to help prepare for the opening and in the longer term, as you said, as the consulting wine director there. I'm also currently the partner and former beverage director of Ruffian wine bar, and kindred in the East Village, which unfortunately, Kindred just closed. In this past August, I'd been in the biz for over 10 years now. And as a wine buyer for LIS for most of that time. And as you said, I'm also a certified some amazing, amazing. Well, steak fruits has my name written all over it, I think it might be a picture next to my bio, because I love what it stands for. I love when I go to Paris, I might when I first stops is getting steak free, it's there. So your place has the same kind of neighborhood vibe to it in my mind, from its decor to the food, of course to the wine list.

RT: So can you tell us a little bit more about steak treats and a little bit of history and how it came about?

AP: Sure, the chef owner Adam shop has a long history with French bistro. And while he has other projects, I think that this one is really near and dear to his heart. It's located in Hell's Kitchen, just south of the Port Authority station. And that neighborhood kind of needs us some spots with Seoul, we think of that area as being very transient. But in fact, there's a ton of longtime residents who are looking for places to be regulars at basically the food is classic French bistro fare, but very well executed, I'd say it punches above its weight. And I think the same with the sort of DIY decor and the super friendly service. It's not your cookie cutter corporate interpretation of a French bistro, it's you can tell that there's a heart and soul in it.

RT: I love it. I love it sounds amazing. All right, let's pivot and talk some wine, shall we?

AP: Absolutely. So along those same lines, I took that same inspiration of authenticity. When I was designing the list. Of course, a list is ongoing. It's never done as long as the restaurant is open, because things sell out, things get replaced. But for the initial list, which I'd say we're still in now, I looked to bistro in France, which often have local wines that are understandable and value driven. So it's an all French list. And because of my background, it's natural leaning, but not funky offerings. For those of you who are less comfortable with quote unquote, natural wines, there's everything for you know, very accessible Bordeaux Sancerre and things like that, but things that are you know, sustainably made. And I'd say as with any list, I try to answer questions with the selection. So basically, somebody comes and says, you know, I like a Napa cab and I say, Okay, try this. You know, we do all French I don't have Napa cab, but I always will have an answer for that. So it's not about pushing an agenda. It's about having a point of view while also satisfying the customers.

RT: I love it. I love the love the curation. I love your thought and I can feel your passion for it and what you put into it anything like there's a must try that if I was going there for the first time. What would you guide me to?

AP: Sure. Well, as I said, I tried to make it a really affordable and accessible list. This isn't meant to be a trophy list. It's meant to be something that's functional and actually sells. And so I say the vast majority of the list is under $150. And in there, I've tried to pepper it with some affordable nerdy gems. So these would be wines that would be delicious to people who aren't as into wine, but fun finds for people in the know. For example, I have the Chateau Le Puy, ‘Émilien’, Bordeaux 2019 I have course one of the grandfathered wines of natural winemaking from Maison Loron, ‘Beau!,’ Gamay, Beaujolais 2020              which is again may I also have some specifically food fun wines like that, Beck-Hartweg, Gewürztraminer, Grand Cru Frankstein,  Alsace 2018 and that's a star with our house-made country pate. I know Gilbert's Femeanor can be a little bit difficult for people to access but, but man when the pairing hits it hits, right. That sounds amazing and delicious.

RT: Now you got me excited. Well, I know you thought a lot about stuff that's even out off the beaten path something that's maybe nerdy and will push my palate anything come to mind there.

AP: If any of your listeners know me they'll know that certainly skin contact wise for something that we've worked with extensively skin contact, also known as orange wines. We're not yet in the few weeks that stick bait has been open getting a ton of play yet but mark my words, it's definitely coming and I was also really thoughtful about the orange wines that I put on. I wanted people to have the experience of just wow, this is a really excellent wine not Oh, this is weird, and I've never had anything like it. So I really sought out some of the wines that I've worked with over the years that I think best exemplify that so we have the Sparr, 'Liberté' Gewürztraminer/Pinot Gris, Alsace 2019, and Domaine Yves Duport, 'Céline', Bugey, Savoie 2021 also have in that orange wine selection.

Which is a Shannon that is fermented and aged and amphora but these are clean drinking rich wine. So if you're thinking skin contact mints, funky kombucha. These will change your mind. Wow sound amazing sound amazing. Look forward to trying them myself. You've got a really cool list very curated. What if I'm celebrating something special? I want to take it up a notch. Oh, well, I made this might be a little overdone. But I really am very passionate about champagne and more. So I'm really passionate about finding natural and sustainably made champagnes, because they are by nature, very manipulative wines. You can't make champagne without being very barely intervening with the process. So if you're going to treat yourself I'm gonna say the Lelarge-Pugeot, ‘Luna  Volume 2, Extra-Brut 2015 it's a vintage champagne from 2015. Female winemaker, her dad, but they're very experimental. And they're really playing with alternative methods. So, in the case of that particular QA, they are inoculating with the most from the following vintage, which technically makes it non-callable vintage, it's 2015. But I think just the quality, the everything that's put into this wine, it's just outstanding, you would not not not be disappointed, but also just be blown away by it. So I'll just drink champagne with anything at anytime. So we don't need to have a special occasion.

RT: I like your thinking. I like your thinking I'm with you. Champagne goes with everything. People are surprised they actually can have it with steak. They can have it with everything. Steak, fruit, baby. Exactly. Exactly. Those are amazing suggestions. Alexis, thank you so much. It's been a pleasure to chat with you about steak fruits and the fabulous list that you've put together. I am super excited about our upcoming dinner and checking it out myself to our audience. Thank you all for joining us here on cork rules. If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us an email to info at cork rules.com or visit our website where we have that request form available. We're looking forward to being with you on another court rules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for all our latest episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. And finally drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly. We look forward to being with you on another court rules episode soon. Cheers.


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