Us and Them

You may recall my laudatory post of a few days back in which I highlighted the impressive beer list at Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant recently named the best in the world. Well, there were more restaurant awards handed out recently, the James Beard Awards, which are rather tiresomely and continually referred to as the “Academy Awards of the Food World.” (I promise never to use that phrase again, for anything!) And the contrast between the beer lists of the winners is, I think, noteworthy.

To review, Noma features 4 pages of its 56 page wine list to a diverse and well-thought-out selection of Scandinavian craft beers, ranging from pilsner to barley wine and spiced ale to porter. Twenty-eight brands are listed in all, plus one local cider.

The winner of the Outstanding Restaurant Award at the Beards, Daniel Boulud’s Daniel in New York City, on the other hand, lists…well, no beers at all. I’m sure they have some, since even the most wine-centric of places will usually stock a bottle or two of beer for those poor, uncultured slobs who happen to by accident gain a reservation, but nowhere on their rather extensive website can I find mention of a single ale or lager, not in the 80 PDF pages of their wine list or the “Bar & Lounge” or “Menus” subdirectories.

Note that I am no beer snob. I enjoy wine and spirits and cocktails and beer with equal relish, so long as they are of quality and character. But to pander so blatantly to one or two categories – the website for Daniel does boast its cocktail list – and ignore entirely a third is, to my mind, simply bad business.

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