This is not the Merlot you’re looking for: opening Rossoblu, Chef Steve Samson’s new Italian in Los Angeles

Like a junkie’s first fix, there’s nothing that gets me higher than the first staff training with the équipe of a brand new restaurant where I’m consulting on the wine list.

That’s the new staff at Rossoblu, my long-time friend Steve Samson’s downtown Los Angeles fine dining Italian and Lambrusco garden, which should be opening any day now.

What a great group of food and wine professionals!

What should have been a marathon session of training and tasting yesterday flew by like a bullet train. I’m really looking forward to today’s session this early LA morning as I sit in my cozy Little Tokyo hotel room and write this.

More than six years ago, Steve asked me to author the wine list at his first restaurant, Sotto, and we’ve been going strong there ever since.

As we did with Sotto, where I co-authored the list for the last couple of years with my talented colleague and cherished friend Christine Veys, she and I are trying to do something entirely unique and provocative with the Rossoblu list.

I can’t reveal our raisin d’être yet (pun intended). But did I hear someone say something about Marxism?

Stay tuned for the shocking news…

Christine’s now full-time at Rossoblu and I’m handling the list at Sotto again by myself: in case you’re in town that week, I’ll be leading a wine tasting featuring small bites from Steve’s menu on Tuesday, May 23 as part of the LA Times FoodBowl festival (“Beyond the Volcano: The Wild Wines of Campania”). Should be fun times.

It’s one of the most anticipated openings in LA this year (no joke, people) and it will stand side-by-side next to Charles Phan’s Slanted Door, the legendary San Francisco restaurateur’s first venue in the City of Angels.

I gotta say, I’m super psyched for all of this.

Thanks for being here and thanks for all your support. It means the world to me. Stay tuned…

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