For its third consecutive year, Brennan's has once again been honored with the highest honor by Wine Spectator - Grand Award. When Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group acquired the iconic French Quarter restaurant in 2014, the original Brennan’s of New Orleans re-emerged as one of the most polished dining establishments in all of the south, especially in its hometown. The mindful restoration honoring the city’s past, present, and future included the rebuilding of an ambitious wine program – which prior to 2021 had not received the Wine Spectator Grand Award since 2005. Investing nearly $1 million on wine, Brennan’s continues its legacy of prestige and glory.
Brennan’s New Orleans carefully curates its wine list with the guidance of Beverage Director for Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, Ms. Braithe Tidwell. The collection boasts over 14,000 bottles - with special attention to boutique producers, verticals, and large formats. Tidwell is joined by a strong leadership team who have had vested interest in the success of Brennan's since the re-opening in 2014 – General Manager Christian Pendleton and Executive Chef Ryan Hacker.
Each selection is perfectly paired with the menu, which reflects contemporary cultural influences that molds the city’s present-day fare. Brennan's is proud to offer a number of older vintages that are dated from the birth of Brennan's in 1946, such as Château Latour Pauillac 1er Cru Classé, Château Cheval Blanc Saint-Émilion 1er Grand Cru Classé A, and Chateaux Tratanoy Pomerol.
Brennan's New Orleans presents a fine line-up of 'blue-chip' California wines that are in keeping with the French and Creole roots. The cellar's greatest strength is its exceptional Burgundies, and a list of Champagnes approaching one hundred offerings. Large format Champagnes are part of Brennan's personal collection from Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Brut, 1970 to Dom Pérignon "Luminous" Brut Rosé, 2000. Champagne goes hand-in-hand with the renowned 'Breakfast at Brennan's;' and over the past nine years, 'Bubbles at Brennan's,' has also become a beloved courtyard past-time, featuring a ceremonial sabering and remarkable prices on sparkling selections.
The deep affection for New Orleans cooking at Brennan’s begins with the comfort found in its traditions. The public still clamors for its beloved favorites, which are elevated with exquisite twists: Eggs Sardou with Crispy Artichokes, Parmesan Creamed Spinach and Choron Sauce; Eggs Hussarde with Prosciutto, Hollandaise and Marchand de Vin Sauce; Turtle Soup with Brown Butter Spinach, Grated Egg and Aged Sherry; and Classic Steak Diane with Caramelized Baby Carrots, Potato Galettes, and Brandied Mushroom Reduction. But, Executive Chef Ryan Hacker adds much more to cuisine than the classics.
Contemporary contributions flourish on the menu at dinner, unwilling to conform entirely to existing patterns on a plate. A splash of other, not-so-well-known cultural flavors that have more recently influenced New Orleans, such as the Vietnamese, adds an element of excitement in dishes such as Crab & Celery Remoulade with Satsuma Dressing, Mustard Oil, and Fresh Herbs. Hacker’s modern interpretation of Quenelles, a classic French favorite in the city since the 1800s, features Shrimp Quenelles with New Orleans Style BBQ Sauce, Candied Lemon, and Rosemary Crostini.
What truly exemplifies Brennan's commitment to the highest quality wine service is its investment in staff training. Tidwell began her study of wine and in-depth education practices at Danny Meyer's Union Square Cafe in New York City, achieving Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2013. She brought her passion for wine knowledge to Brennan’s in 2015, and using the impressive list as a centerpiece, she has built a strong culture of staff preparation and teaching, with an emphasis on learning regions and vintages.
Tidwell and her extended team help the service staff of Brennan's embark on an intensive course to prepare for the beginner certification program. Over the years at Brennan’s, Tidwell has mentored many sommeliers to achieve multiple levels of certification, in addition to the ongoing daily beverage training. Now her training is reaching several of the establishments under the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group.
After 75 years, this French Quarter grande dame maintains one foot in the illustrious, rich past while stepping the other foot into the future - Brennan's, New Orleans, continues to shine ever more.
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