The Austin institution Jeffrey's, known for its Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list, French-American cuisine and aged prime beef, is undergoing some major changes to its food and beverage team. Earlier this year, executive chef Rebecca Meeker—a longtime friend of company wine and beverage director June Rodil—left the restaurant to pursue other projects. The chef of both Jeffrey’s and its sister restaurant, Josephine House, Meeker had helped revitalize Jeffrey’s menu upon its recent reopening in 2013. Taking her place, chef de cuisine Mark McCain is now running the kitchen at Jeffrey’s with the help of McGuire Moorman Hospitality Group executive chef Jedd Adair.
The wine team at Jeffrey’s is also evolving. Though Rodil remains the company wine and beverage director for the entire restaurant group, Jason Huerta joined Jeffrey’s and Josephine House in March as those two restaurants’ new beverage manager, taking over the role from Sam Ryan. Huerta now works under Rodil to manage the 490-selection list at Jeffrey’s, which focuses extensively on the wines of California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and Italy.—S.H.
Midtown Manhattan’s Park Hyatt debuted a new flagship restaurant, Bevy, on April 4, replacing the now-closed Best of Award of Excellence winner the Back Room, which first opened its doors in 2014. The newly renovated 80-seat space features two dining rooms, and chef de cuisine Chad Brauze—formerly of Rotisserie Georgette and Grand Award winners Daniel and Per Se—has created a menu with a rustic, New American edge. Diners can expect fare such as foie gras terrine, lemon oyster mushrooms, rainbow carrot salad, seared diver scallops and 8-ounce skirt steak with chimichurri.
Tristan Prat-Vincent, previously of the Back Room, is staying on as wine director for Bevy. “The Back Room’s core focus was American. Bevy is globally inspired,” Prat-Vincent told Wine Spectator in an email explaining the new focus. The 750-selection list continues to feature classic European and American wines, while also showcasing more diverse regions from around the globe, such as Australia and Croatia, as well as dry Sherry flights and Champagne selections.—V.S.
Fogo de Chão made its name offering diners meat-heavy meals with copious amounts of authentic churrasco. But those looking for a more casual (and perhaps lighter) experience at the international Brazilian steak-house chain can now try a new bar menu concept, Bar Fogo. Guests can sit at the bar of their local Fogo for a bite of Brazil, with small plates including braised beef rib sliders, Brazilian empanadas and Parmesan polenta fries. New additions of South American wines will enhance Fogo de Chão's Award of Excellence–winning wine lists. There are 41 locations in Wine Spectator's Restaurant Awards program, generally featuring strengths in California, Argentina and Chile. Brazilian-inspired craft cocktails including the Mango Habanero, Caipirinha and Brazilian Gentleman are also on offer now, as is enticing happy-hour pricing.—L.W.
Karl Ratzsch, Milwaukee's 113-year-old German restaurant that at one time attracted famous Wisconsinites like Frank Lloyd Wright and Liberace, has served its last schnitzel. Though perhaps more famous for its beer list, Karl Ratzsch also had an impressive wine program, with reds and whites from Germany, France and beyond. Chef Thomas Hauck of Award of Excellence winner c.1880 purchased the Milwaukee mainstay in 2016 in hopes of returning it to its former glory, but despite Hauck's new menu options and modern decor updates, Karl Ratzsch closed its doors on April 1. Hauck will continue serving up contemporary American cuisine at c.1880.
"It's complicated to try to explain all of things that go into closing a restaurant,” said Hauck to Wine Spectator in an email. “That being said, we had to close simply because we could no longer afford to keep the doors open … At this time I have no plans for expansion. I'm looking forward to being at [c.1880] every day."—L.W.
There's a jazzy new supper club on the block in Kansas City. Michael Corvino, formerly the executive chef and general manager at Best of Award of Excellence winner the American Restaurant, and his wife, Christina, opened their first restaurant, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room, on April 4. Sommelier Ross Jackson, who worked with Corvino at the American Restaurant, is spearheading the wine program, which has 100 rotating selections, with strengths in California, Oregon, Washington, Burgundy and Champagne.
The club offers New American cuisine à la carte, a 16-seat bar and a stage with nightly live music. Acting as a restaurant-within-a-restaurant, a tasting room will open in early May for a more intimate dining experience, with Corvino and Jackson working together to create two levels of pairing with the menu, at $55 and $95. "Very few times in life do your best laid plans fully come into fruition," Michael Corvino said in an email. "Our first week did that, times 100. We couldn't believe how Kansas City embraced us with so much enthusiasm and positive support. We were full every night, and I'm proud of my team for brilliantly rising to the challenge."—L.W.