I'd been hearing great things about La Gazzetta for ages. Finally went there with my folks the other night. My folks are getting on in years, and they're not huge drinkers; in this regard, La Gazzetta was perhaps an inspired choice. Because the service was remarkably attentive, super-professional, great for fussy people - and the wine list was a tedious shrug-worthy let-down. Not even I felt like drinking too much. (And let's remember my parents were in town, usually cause to drink oceans.)
|Imagine swiped from fontvert.com.|
It wasn't that the wine was all bad. We had a passable if somewhat overripe and limp bottle of Luberon (Grenache Blanc from southeastern Rhone) by Chateau Fontvert that went nicely with the calamari and cod and tuna we ate throughout the 5-course tasting menu. It's just that with the space so well-designed*, the service so wire-tight, Swedish chef Peter Nilsson's skills so evident, why didn't they finish the job with an engaging wine list? It's a pan-mediterranean restaurant, for Christ's sake. They had SO MUCH TO WORK WITH.
Why have Angelo Gaja's numbskull oil-slick super-Tuscan parked right there in the middle of the meagre Italian selection? Why overcharge for a glass of dull nobody Barbera (5,5eu) with the vintage mis-stated, when such a plethora of terrific Barberi are so widely and cheaply available? (I'd be wiling to give La Gazzetta a pass on the Italian section of their list if Café dei Cioppi weren't situated right across the street with a screamingly great Italian wine list, showing that such a thing can in fact be done in Paris.)
They had a relatively large selection of Corsican wine. That was kind of cool, although I missed any selections from Antoine Arena, and if you ask me nothing else from that island really justifies the prices they were asking. (Even Arena is a little trop cher for my liking lately. They're nice wines, but c'mon, it's still mostly cultural interest when I pick up something from Corsica.)
One last gripe: my father asked for a beer. They serve only bottled Heineken. My father stuck with water. How do you open an ambitious restaurant, one that actively pushes several kinds of Bellini, and serve useless old Heineken as the only beer? There may indeed be some infinitesimally small crowd of Bellini devotees out there, ones who'd choose a lame cliché cocktail over a beer any day, but I can assure you they are not the ones who will be paying the check when the meal's over.**
* In fact, it looked damn near exactly like the acclaimed restaurant I used to manage. Mario Batali's architect could litigate.
** Bellini devotees are the ones wondering whether their chihuahuas are still in their handbags, waiting for someone to give them a hand with the taxi door. To hell with bellinis.