Well of course folks notice when half your list is a tribute to Austin Powers, and the other half to James Bond. But chef Ed Szymanski has pulled off a lot more than a party trick here. In addition to building the menu of one of New York’s most shimmering spots right now, Szymanski has put together a perfectly bifurcated wine diptych: one side for when you want to behave, one when you want to bee-HAAAYVE.
The more shaggish half leans into a natural-minded avant garde, with current pop faves (Joe Swick, Dirty & Rowdy, Fred Cossard) but also a whole lot of unheralded gems (California’s Thee & Thou, the Loire’s La Porte Saint Jean). The 007 side is less outré but no less cutting-edge: Champagne from rising star André Heucq, rosé from California’s Matthiasson, Beaujolais from Yvon Métras.
Speaking of which, the final category on that side: “Red wine with fish. Well, that should have told me something.” (It’s From Russia With Love.) Yes, Szymanski’s menu is seafood-driven. But Dame isn’t going to play by your rules, Mr. Bond; reminiscent of handful of other bold fish-focused spots (Sur Mer in Paris comes to mind) it is willing to be red-plentiful. Which is a delight, because there’s plenty on the menu, like tuna tartare with bottarga, to accompany perfectly — and prove that 007’s old suppositions are just that: old.
La Grange de l’Oncle Charles Alsace Pétillant Naturel, 2019 ($62)
One of Alsace’s new talents making fizzy wine from the underappreciated auxerrois grape. Here’s your wine for Dame’s now Insta-famous fish and chips.
Arnot-Roberts, North Coast Trousseau, 2019 ($78)
Duncan Meyers and Nathan Roberts remain one of the greatest success stories in new California wine — in no small part for this wine, which is, indeed, the same lighthearted red grape found in France’s Jura, which made its way to the Golden State in its other identity: as a grape used in making Port. They took it back to its Jurassic ways: an ethereal red that paints in watercolors.