This new segment in The Mark Wine News explores how seafood restaurants are tasked to find the best wines that pair with seafood that keeps all their customers blissful, even those that only drink red.
We’ve all heard the old adage that white wine goes with fish and red wine with meat. And for the most part, this rings true. But we all know, there are exceptions. For sure, white’s rule with most seafood, but roses and reds definitely have their place on the list. And really, all rules are made to be broken. Culinary ones are no exception.Just ask my kids, who insist on scrambling their eggs on high heat and dipping their French fries in Frappucino’s. And while there are many red wines that pair beautifully with seafood, think Pinot Noir with salmon, Grenache with bouillabaisse or Barbera with Cioppino; most tannic reds do not. But there will always be customers who insist they do.I remember vividly, many people drinking Cabernet Sauvignon with any and all seafood when I lived in Hawaii. I would cringe, yes, but acknowledge that you can bring a horse to water (i.e. suggest wines that pair with their food selections) but you can’t make them drink that fabulous Trebbiano with their scallops if they are all about ordering the Merryvale cab. My favorite seafood and wine pairing is Steamed Lobster and Louis Latour Chassagne Montrachet but f I change up the Lobster and toss it with a roasted tomato, garlic and cream sauce pasta dish, I would more likely grab a bottle of Pertinace Barolo out of the cellar.The legendary Joe’s Stone Crab first opened in Miami Beach in 1913. It all began when Joseph Weiss, the “Joe” of Joe’s Stone Crab, and his wife Jennie set up seven or eight tables on the front porch of the house they owned.
Over 100 years later, Joe’s is still one of the most beloved and widely recognized restaurants in the world, famous for its Florida Stone Crab, signature sides and Key Lime Pie.
We talked with Kevin Bratt, Concept Wine Director for Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab.
Joe’s has a pretty cool history, having opened as the legendary Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami in 1913. Can you elaborate on the story?As you said, Joe’s has been an icon on South Beach since 1913, drawing crowds for their famous stone crab claws and great service.
In 2000, Joe’s partnered with Lettuce Entertain You to open Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab here in Chicago, followed by our second location at the Forum Shops in Las Vegas in 2005, and the third location in Washington D.C. in 2014.
We are so honored to have had the opportunity to work with the Weiss family to help recreate the Joe’s experience in different parts of the US.You are famous for Stone Crab (my absolute favorite food in the world) but your expansion has made you known for other things too. Would love to hear your take on this.Chicagoans love their steak, so we knew a signature chop would be vital to our success. The bone-in filet was just that, and still to this day is a favorite. Our Alaskan king crab rivals stone crab in sales, and certain seasonal items like the Nantucket bay scallops, bone-in halibut, and the rotation of pie offerings have people making reservations months in advance. Oh, and our fried chicken…Had no idea about the fried chicken. As they say, we learn something new every day. But back to seafood. What differentiates Joe’s from other seafood concepts?Our motto has always been to source the very best ingredients and intervene as little as possible. I truly believe you can taste the quality in each bite at Joe’s, and the care and attention it takes to preserve the integrity of each dish by sourcing the very best products.How do you pick your wines?My goal is to offer something for everyone.
Our 4-page list offers selections from every corner of the globe. We taste daily and travel extensively to partner with wineries who are passionate about their family, history, and location.
For nearly 20 years I’ve been captivated by the incredible bottles that have graced the pages of our wine list. It has truly been an honor to work with so many winemakers who pour their heart into every bottle they produce.Totally get that. We are all about family owned wineries and their stories. How do you get these stories out to your staff and customers?Education is the foundation of our success. We offer weekly wine training for our entire team, with tastings from our list and an in-depth look at the producer and region. I want the staff to be excited about wine- that translates to the guests.Do you offer different glass pour sizes?If you order a bottle of wine, we’ll pour as much in the glass as you’d like.Hahaha. Love that. How about food & wine pairings you love?Stone Crab with French Chardonnay, King Crab with “Vaillons” Chablis, Fried Chicken with Brut Rose and Bone-in Filet Mignon with a Red Blend.What wines sell best for you?We may be seafood-centric, but Cabernet is king. California, Bordeaux and Italy lead the way in sales.
What we have learned by creating relationships with our guests, though, is that many of them are excited by the opportunity to try something new or different, maybe a bit outside of their norm.
The list reflects that with interesting and diverse selections.