Meet Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg at Beckta Dining & Wine in Ottawa on Friday, October 16th


Center: Ottawa’s leading restaurateur Stephen Beckta with Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg at Play Food & Wine; Lower Left: Beckta Dining & Wine; Lower Right: Gezellig

“‘Stephen Beckta.’ I’d heard the name for years, always used synonymously with fine dining in Ottawa, Ontario. His restaurants, Beckta dining & wine and Play food & wine, had won a slew of awards and generated a lot of buzz, in the city and beyond.”
–on the website

“Steve Beckta….Master of Hospitality.”
Ottawa Citizen

We’re heading north next week (although we’re hoping it won’t be The Great White North quite yet this season!):  We’ll be hosted for two events at one of Canada’s best restaurantsBeckta Dining & Wine in Ottawa, which opened in a new(-to-us) location in November 2014 — on Friday, October 16th.

Hope you’ll join us from 5:30 – 7:00 pm for a cocktail party and book signing, and/or the special plant-based dinner that follows at 7:30 pm.

At the 5:30 pm event you can “Meet the authors and enjoy two drinks per person and a selection of delicious passed vegetarian canapés inspired by Karen & Andrew’s book THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE. Also, a limited amount of all their recent books (e.g., THE FLAVOR BIBLE, WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT, and THE FOOD LOVER’S GUIDE TO WINE) will be available for sale at a discounted price.”

The 7:30 pm event will be “Featuring a unique four course vegetarian tasting menu, inspired by Karen & Andrew’s latest book THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE, paired with delicious boutique Canadian wines.”

Our sincere thanks to owner Stephen Beckta — whom we’ve had the great pleasure and privilege of interviewing about his wine expertise for CHEF’S NIGHT OUT (while he was the sommelier learning from the best of the best at Daniel Boulud‘s Cafe Boulud and Danny Meyer‘s Eleven Madison Park in NYC, before we lost him, and Steve lost his heart, to Ottawa’s lovely and talented Maureen Cunningham) and for both WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT and THE FOOD LOVER’S GUIDE TO WINE — and his gifted and passionate team for hosting us.


You can find more information about the October 16th events here.

Don’t miss visiting three of Canada’s best restaurants, all owned by Stephen Beckta:

Beckta Dining and Wine is at 150 Elgin Street in Ottawa.

Gezellig is at 337 Richmond Road in Ottawa.

Play Food & Wine is at 1 York Street in Ottawa.

“Rockin’ In the Free World” at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival — and Working Toward the 17 Global Goals


Top Left: Global Citizen Founder Hugh Evans at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival, and Ed Sheeran with Beyonce; Top Right: NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Karen Page, and Andrew Dornenburg in front of the main stage, just before Beyonce performed (while we watched near husband Jay-Z and daughter Blue Ivy); Bottom left: Andrew Dornenburg with saxophonist Jake Clemons of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band; Bottom right: Nelson Mandela quote; popular veg options on offer in the VIP Lounge and Green Room; Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, who stole the show

“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great.  You can be that generation.”
Nelson Mandela

On Saturday night, we had the pleasure and privilege of being a part of the inspiring 2015 Global Citizen Festival that took place in Manhattan.

Part concert and part global activist convention, the event brought some of the biggest names in music and government and business to Central Park’s Great Lawn.  While entering from the 85th Street Transverse, we passed through the VIP Lounge and Green Room, where guests included First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, whom we spied as we made our way to an area just yards from the front of the main stage.

We were happy to have a chance to talk with Commissioner Bill Bratton, whose NYPD team did an amazing job of maintaining order during the event, which drew thousands to the Park for a great show headlined by Beyonce (whom we watched alongside husband Jay-Z and daughter Blue Ivy), Ed Sheeran, and Eddie Vedder‘s Pearl Jam — with appearances by other host musicians, including our buddy Jake Clemons, saxophonist with Bruce Springteen‘s E Street Band as well as a talented solo artist, whom we were happy to catch up with over a bite in the VIP Lounge.

In between performances (and bumping into friends and colleagues like Charlie Bird sommelier-partner Robert Bohr and his wife Momofuku beverage director Jordan Salcito), we heard a litany of testimonies from celebrities (including Stephen Colbert, Salma Hayek, Hugh Jackman), world leaders (e.g., Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Queen Rania of Jordan), and business CEOs (e.g. Virgin‘s Richard Branson, Microsoft‘s Bill and Melinda Gates, World Bank‘s Jim Yong Kim), all committed to ending extreme poverty by 2030 and achieving the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which are:


Collective action can make a difference, attendees were assured time and again.  More than 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990.  Over the past year alone, more 90 million people were lifted out.  However, at the global level, more than 800 million are still living in extreme poverty.

As Global Citizen‘s website attests, “Extreme poverty ends with you. It all starts with becoming a Global Citizen. Get informed, take action, and connect with others who want to do the same.”


P.S. We can’t miss this opportunity to put in a plug for our favorite 2005 movie (from the writer of “Love Actually” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral”) “The Girl in the Cafe” starring Bill Nighy (vs. “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” who was also a guest at the Global Citizen Festival) and Kelly Macdonald (which we mentioned elsewhere on our website, on our “Stuff We ♥” page).  If you watched and loved this film, you’ll appreciate even more that Global Citizen’s existence is a dream come true.  Thank you, founder Hugh Evans!


Read more about Global Citizen, the Global Citizen Festival and the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

SHARE’s 12th Annual “A Second Helping Of Life” Benefit Features NYC’s Top Women Chefs (Plus “Celebrity Sous Chefs”)


Top Left: Karen Page with Marea Chef Lauren DeSteno and her awesome team; Top Right: Karen Page with Amy Scherber of Amy’s Bread; Bottom Left: Brenda Blackmon, Ellie Krieger, and Karen Page; Bottom Right: Cookshop pastry chef Amanda Cook’s handmade flowers and Caramel Popcorn Cream Puffs

For 12 years in a row now, SHARE has organized Manhattan’s must-attend benefit of the fall season for foodies with a soft spot in their hearts for great women chefs and supporting survivors of breast and ovarian cancer:  “A Second Helping of Life” at Pier 60.

Dozens of the city’s best chefs who happen to be female gather to serve tasting portions of signature dishes, assisted with serving by “Celebrity Sous Chefs” — an amazing array of actresses, anchors, authors, ballerinas, and more.

Karen has had the pleasure and privilege of participating as a “Celebrity Sous Chef” year after year, after first being invited into the fold by Chef Charleen Badman (now of FnB in Scottsdale).

And the event keeps getting better, raising more money to offer crucial support and life-saving information and guidance to the 300,000+ people who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer and 20,000+ diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the past year alone.


Top Left: Chef Sue Torres’ Grilled Vegetable Tacos, Cilantro Pesto, and Pickled Cabbage; Top Right: Karen Page with Daphne Rubin-Vega; Center: Karen Page with Chef Sue Torres; Bottom Left: Tasting Table’s Kat Kinsman; Bottom Right: Karen Page with Chef Anita Lo

Last night’s event paired Karen with Marea’s Chef Lauren DeSteno (who was recently appointed to the position after Chef Jared Gadbaw was named chef of Marea’s new sister restaurant Vaucluse on Park Avenue), whom she helped to serve Chilled Tomato and Watermelon Soup with a toasted watermelon seed garnish.  Guests returned for seconds (and thirds and fourths and, thanks to one very enthusiastic guest, perhaps a half-dozen or more servings), testifying to it as one of the evening’s most delicious dishes.


Top Left: Long-time SHARE participant and James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Gina DePalma might not have been able to attend in person, but she was in all of our hearts in spirit; Top Right: Cocktails held their own last night among wonderful wine and beer offerings; Bottom Left: Apple Crostada from Maialino’s Jessica Weiss; Bottom Right: NYU professor and author Lourdes Castro, Ai Fiori pastry chef Alina Martell, and Karen Page


Top Left: Cocktails Shaken and Stirred at SHARE; Top Right: Chef Rebecca Charles of Pearl Oyster Bar; Center: Marea’s Chilled Tomato and Watermelon Soup; Bottom Left: Cookshop’s Amanda Cook with Karen Page (and Amanda’s handmade flowers); Bottom Right: Ellie Krieger, Amanda Cohen, and Karen Page

But there was a lot of competition for that title, given the caliber of chefs who participated, including 2015 Executive Chef April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, The John Dory Oyster Bar, et al); Executive Chefs Emeritae Rebecca Charles (Pearl Oyster Bar, who’s been eyeing restaurant sites in Maine), Amanda Freitag (Empire Diner), Alex Guarnaschelli (Butter), Anita Lo (Annisa, where we enjoyed one of our favorite dinners of the summer), and Amy Scherber (Amy’s Bread, which just opened three new locations this month); Culinary Chairs Abigail Kirsch and Alison Awerbuch (Abigail Kirsch Catering); and as well as Janine Booth (Root & Bone), Lynn Bound (54 Below), Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy, who just appeared on “CBS This Morning” this past weekend), Leah Cohen (Pig & Khao), Amanda Cook (Cookshop, who made her station’s own gorgeous paper flowers after unexpectedly losing her florist), Lauren DeSteno (Marea), Colleen Grapes (Oceana), Rebecca Isbell (Betony), Patti Jackson (Delaware & Hudson, who celebrated her birthday last night — Happy Birthday, Patti!), Sara Jenkins (Porchetta and Porsena), Christine Lau (Bar Chuko), Sarabeth Levine (Sarabeth’s Kitchen), Angie Mar (Beatrice Inn), Sawako Okochi (Shalom Japan), Deborah Raciocot (Narcissa), Alex Raij (Txikito), Lauren Resler (Empellon Cocina, Empellon Tacqueria, Empellon al Pastor), Allison Robicelli (Robicelli’s Bakery), Barbara Sibley (La Palapa), Roxanne Spruance (Kingsley), Zahra Tangorra (Brucie), Sue Torres (Suenos and Tierra, who’s expecting her second child with husband Chef Darren Carbone in March — Congratulations, Sue & Darren!), and Jessica Weiss (Maialino).


Top Left: SHARE’s 2015 Celebrity Sous Chefs; Top Right: Chef Sarabeth Levine’s Triple Chocolate Pudding with Cream and Chocolate Pearls; Bottom Left: Andrew Dornenburg with Troy Rohne of Amy’s Bread; Bottom Right: Actress Kathleen Chalfant, Karen Page, and Radio Host Valerie Smaldone

The evening’s Celebrity Sous Chefs included Emmy Award winner Sade Baderinwa of WABC, Peabody Award winner Andrea Bernstein of WNYC, Emmy Award-winning journalist Brenda Blackmon (with whom Karen enjoyed an unforgettable lunch at the newly-anointed New York Times three-star restaurant Gabriel Kreuther earlier in the day), NYU professor and author Lourdes Castro, Obie Award-winning actress Kathleen Chalfant (who opens in “Rose” in November), Emmy Award winner Tamsen Fadal, NYC Ballet dancer Megan Fairchild, “New York Live” co-host Sara Gore, Wall Street Journal food columnist Kitty Greenwald, Tony-nominated actress Jessica Hecht (who stars in “Fiddler on the Roof” this season), WPIX news reporter Magee Hickey, Emmy Award winner Cindy Hsu, author and New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, editor-in-chief Kat Kinsman (whose much-anticipated first book Hi, Anxiety comes out in April), author and “Healthy Appetite” host Ellie Krieger, author and TV personality Sara Moulton, James Beard Award-winning author Karen Page, author and activist Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author Joanna Pruess, NYC Ballet dancer Teresa Reichlen, CUNY TV’s “Science & U” host Carol Anne Riddell, actress Daphne Rubin-Vega (whose “Empanada Loca” opens September 30th), “America Weekend” radio host Valerie Smaldone on 1010WINS, novelist and Daily News columnist Linda Stasi, cookbook author Julia Turshen, author and New York Times columnist Joyce Wadler, and country music artist and gay rights activist Chely Wright.

Mark your calendars now with a reminder to join us there in September 2016!


SHARE’s “A Second Helping of Life” benefit generated lots of social media coverage — including this post by the Heritage Radio Network show “All In the Industry” of Andrew Dornenburg, radio host Shari Bayer, and Karen Page


SHARE’s “A Second Helping of Life” benefit is typically held the third Monday of September.

25 Years and Counting….20 Years and Counting….30 Years and Counting


Happy Anniversary!

But which anniversary should we start with?


“The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person.  You know they’re right if you love to be with them all the time.”
Julia Child

We’re still riding high from the mind-blowing milestone of marking our 25th wedding anniversary on August 25th.  As we like to say, birthdays come around every year whether you like it or not, but marriages require work…and perhaps especially for couples who work together as well as live together.  Even for two people who truly love to be with each other the vast majority of the time, that small percentage of the time when the opposite is true can be a challenge.  Yet in this era of 50% divorce rates, we managed to make it to our landmark silver anniversary.  That seemed worth celebrating — which we did, from the New York’s Hudson Valley to the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.  (More to come, to illuminate the photos below and other moments.)


20redandwhite“You have to throw the stone to get the pool to ripple.”
Glenn Tillbrook

And this year, we’re also celebrating the 20th anniversary of BECOMING A CHEF, our first book.  This, too, has proven mind-blowing, considering its impact has been far beyond our wildest dreams.  For a book that was turned down by every major publishing house, and every major literary agent, to find a publisher and then a substantial audience (including the “Today” show and 100,000+ readers) is incredible enough.  But to consider the impact it has had is just as incredible.

Just before BECOMING A CHEF was published, Karen gathered with nine girlfriends from Harvard Business School to each ask a question of a tarot card reader.  Karen asked about how the book would do, and the Ace of Cups card was drawn.  The tarot card reader’s interpretation was that the book wouldn’t make us rich (true!), but that it would “bear fruit” and lead to other things (also true).

We don’t think even the tarot card reader could have predicted all it would lead to.  For us, it led to writing many other books, and being invited to speak about our work around the globe.  But its “fruition” has extended far beyond the two of us.  Many chefs and food journalists — including “Top Chef: Masters” winner Chris Cosentino, “MasterChef” judge Graham Elliot, pastry chef Monica Glass, “MasterChef” winner Christine Hà, Paris-based pastry chef and author David Lebovitz — count BECOMING A CHEF among the most influential books they’ve ever read, with many crediting it for their entry into and commitment to the field.  And many academic and professional authors have noted its important influence on own their research and writing.


“I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.”
Paul Coelho

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we’re planning to toast our 30th anniversary of meeting each other.  Andrew had made his first-ever trip to New York in 1985 to stay in the apartment of a mutual friend who left him an extra set of keys, instructions for the coffeemaker, and Karen’s phone number along with a comment that “Karen’s the funnest girl in New York.”  Who wouldn’t make that call?  Karen, meanwhile, had gone to Hartford to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends from college.  By the time she got back into Penn Station on Saturday afternoon, she stopped at her office a few blocks away and found more than a dozen voicemail messages from Andrew and his friend.  She agreed to meet them for a drink, which turned into dinner, which turned into dancing, which turned into….Well, we think you’ve got the general picture.

Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin reflected in the Harvard Business Review article “Anniversaries Are Not to Be Wasted” that “The pride and unity it inspires makes it an ideal time to…think together about why their work matters and how it should move forward.”  We’re grateful to be inspired by all of this year’s 0s and 5s to be giving a lot of thought to those very questions.

So Many Stories Behind the Stories….

CookedCoverChef Jeff Henderson, the author of the New York Times bestseller Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, From Cocaine to Foie Gras — which is apparently being developed into a major motion picture by Columbia Pictures and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment — has cited BECOMING A CHEF as an inspiration and credited us with catalyzing its publication:

I wanted to thank you two again for your inspirational book BECOMING A CHEF that I read while incarceratedAfter you wrote about me in your newsletter, [literary] agent Michael Psaltis…read your testimony.  He contacted me [and] the rights to my life story were sold to William Morrow/Harper Collins for a substantial six figures.”
Jeff Henderson

ImJustHereForTheFoodCoverA Selected Reading List…Titles I recommend adding to your library:  BECOMING A CHEF and CULINARY ARTISTRY.”
Alton Brown, in his first book I’m Just Here for the Food (2002), winner of James Beard and IACP cookbook awards


“The same week I’d written to the [CIA] about my nifty idea [to research and write his first culinary book The Making of a Chef], I’d been alerted to a segment on the ‘Today’ show in which a couple were being interviewed about their new book BECOMING A CHEF, a kind of survey of the profession up to that time.  The husband-and-wife team Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, he a chef and she a Harvard-educated businesswoman, had interviewed scores of chefs and put together a potpourri of chef lore, restaurant history, professional pontifications, recountable memories, and how-to advice that cumulatively painted a portrait of the chef in America at the exact moment of launch into the stratosphere of celebrity.  One of the book’s strongest features was its documenting the new restaurants and chefs beginning to change the way America ate — naming not only such landmarks as Lutèce and Spago and Charlie Trotter’s, but regional restaurants as well, Norman’s in Miami, Mustards Grill in the Napa Valley, and Coyote Café in Santa Fe.  The authors also placed these chefs and restaurants in a broader historical context of the new American food scene.”
Michael Ruhlman, in The Reach of a Chef (2006)

JAMS Provides Long-Time Fans And New Ones with Lots of Reasons to Return


Top left: Jams’ familiar logo is back; Top right: Michael Kelly is a passionate advocate for Jams’ (and Barbuto’s) wine program; Center: Charming Fabrizio’s Italian accent makes even non-Italian wines taste better; Bottom left: A pleasure to drink Jams’ co-founder Mel Master’s Tortoise Creek wines at Jams; Bottom right: Jams’ wine list features what is perhaps a first: the wine’s importer/distributor


Top left: Legendary chef Jonathan Waxman expedites Jams’ kitchen; Top right: Don’t miss the gnocchi with summer vegetables; Center: Jams’ AvroKo design uses space beautifully as well as efficiently; Bottom left: Shaved vegetable salad and squash blossom pesto pizza; Bottom right: Jams’ dining room

After Karen first moved to New York City in 1983, she discovered Jonathan Waxman and Mel Master‘s hot spot JAMS (Jonathan’s And Melvyn’S), and was an instant fan.  Her good fortune of working on Wall Street in the go-go era of the 1980s turned out to be able to accompany clients on expense accounts to some of the city’s hottest restaurants, so she’d know which places were worth returning to for drinks and bites at the bar on her own nickel.

JAMS brought her back time and time again — as much for the vibe as for the food, and certainly for the pleasure of talking at the bar with bartender Lucky, who turned out to be a neighbor in the same up-and-coming Brooklyn neighborhood.

So it was with excitement that Karen “returned” to the newly-opened JAMS at The 1 Hotel Central Park last night, reinvented a mile south and a few avenues west of its former location (now occupied by the first veg restaurant to earn a two-star review from The New York Times: Candle 79).  Andrew was an enthusiastic “first-timer” and witness to a dining room full of guests whose median age suggested that many might also have been at JAMS’ original incarnation.

We both left with reasons to want to return.

As we combed the wine list, we immediately noticed a very useful feature we don’t believe we’ve seen before on any other list:  the names of the wines’ importers/distributors.  It was so striking that we asked our waiter Fabrizio (he of the one of the most charming Italian accents we’ve ever heard) about it, and who was professional enough to send over passionate wine director Michael Kelly, who told us he’d collaborated with Jonathan on both JAMS’ and Barbuto‘s wine lists.  Michael also believed the feature to be a wine-list first, and both a nice shortcut for wine-knowledgeable diners when ordering and guide for newbies to discover new wines they might be likely to enjoy in the future.  We wholeheartedly agree.

The menu itself was filled with more dishes we hoped to try than appetite to get to them all, so we settled on a lovely shaved vegetable plate with pine nuts and apple cider vinegar and a charred-edged pizzette with pesto, goat cheese, mozzarella, squash blossoms, and cherry tomatoes to start, followed by risotto with wild mushrooms, burrata, and argula pesto (a dish far more delicious than it photographs) and sauteed gnocchi with summer vegetables.  The latter two left our plates covered with so much delicious sauce that we sulked aloud that JAMS didn’t offer bread service, which would have helped to ensure that they didn’t go to waste.  Minutes later, Fabrizio returned from the kitchen with two beautiful warm rolls that did the trick, and as Jonathan passed our table, he seemed pleased with our unmistakable demonstration of culinary admiration.

Like the original JAMS (which was said to be Andy Warhol‘s favorite New York restaurant), JAMS 2.0 is already pulling in its share of star power.  We’d had the pleasure of last seeing multitalented actor Peter Gallagher backstage with our mutual friends Rikki Klieman and Bill Bratton after we joined them for Peter’s show at The Regency in mid-November 2012.  While we’d loved him on Broadway (having first met him backstage following “The Country Girl”) and on film (“sex, lies and videotape,” “While You Were Sleeping,” et al), we were surprised to really love his performance as a crooner in the intimate venue of Feinstein’s.  But then his daughter Kathryn Gallagher took the stage during his show, and wowed us.  So when Peter was seated two tables away last night at JAMS, Karen got up to say hello and Peter introduced her to his wife Paula Harwood, and the couple proudly mentioned that talented Kathryn would be making her Broadway debut next month in Spring Awakening.” 

But that didn’t turn out to be the only familiar face in the dining room.  Michael Kelly mentioned that JAMS cofounder-turned-winemaker Mel Master himself (whom we’d met a decade or two ago at a dinner party at the home of mutual friends Loren and James) happened to be in, so we were able to reconnect to compliment him on his sustainable Tortoise Creek wines that we’ve enjoyed frequently in the years since, most recently as our go-to wine whenever we visit Candle 79 or one of the Candle Cafes.

Because that’s the JAMS Karen remembers from the 1980s:  a place you could walk into without knowing a soul other than the person you came with, and could leave with a happy palate and a pocket full of business cards of new acquaintances.  The restaurant’s friendly vibes continue.

And as for those dishes we wanted to taste but didn’t get to order last night at JAMS….Well, we’re glad to have yet another reason to return.


JAMS is at 1414 Avenue of the Americas at 58th Street, at The 1 Hotel Central Park.  212.751.2700.

Dear Jon & Vinny’s: Thanks for Making Breakfast Delicious AND Fun!

JonAndVinnysBreakfast 001

At Jon & Vinny’s in Los Angeles: Kenter Canyon stone ground porridge, toasted almonds, Gaviota strawberries, orange blossom honey (with almond milk)

We’ve been sweeping the country — from Camden, Maine, to Venice, California — in recent weeks, in search of creative chefs and cuisine, and insights into KITCHEN CREATIVITY.

Having just returned from Los Angeles, we’re still excited about the restaurants we visited there (which included Crossroads, Gjelina, Ink, Jon & Vinny’s, Odys + Penelope, Pizzeria Mozza, Plant Food + Wine, Rustic Canyon, Spago, and Sycamore Kitchen).

Special thanks to the entire team at Jon & Vinny’s — headed by chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo — for making our breakfast (which included the Kenter Canyon stone-ground porridge made from bulgur and wheat pictured above and breakfast pizza) there both delicious AND fun!


Jon & Vinny’s is at 412 N. Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036.  323.334.3369. Website:

BYOB Italian “Sunday Suppers” at The Leopard at des Artistes A Welcome Home for Wine Lovers


The famed murals painted by Howard Chandler Christy that graced the walls  of Cafe des Artistes remain intact at The Leopard at des Artistes, providing a beautiful backdrop for enjoying BYOB “Sunday Suppers”

–The Leopard’s website

Other wine lovers in New York City have expressed the same frustration we’ve often felt trying to sort out restaurants’ policies regarding guests’ bringing their own wine (or BYOB).  Some restaurants (e.g., Babbo) forbid it, fairly pointing out their carefully curated wine lists and cellars by their expert sommeliers.  Others do what they can to discourage it, such as through corkage fees of $75 (e.g., Felidia) to $150 (e.g., Per Se) or more per bottle.

Others do allow it, and even waive the corkage fee on particular nights of the week that tend to be slower in order to drive business.  However, it’s so agonizing to try to determine which restaurants allow it — and when, and at what price, and with what caveats (e.g., number of bottles per table) — that we tend to over-rely on a small number of restaurants that allow it regularly with low if any corkage fees and few if any restrictions.

So last night, we were delighted to rediscover the joys of dining at One West 67th Street at a wonderful new — to us — place to BYOB free on Sunday nights:  The Leopard at des Artistes.

Located in the former home of Cafe des Artistes (which closed six years ago), the beautiful murals and romantic ambiance of the original remain — as does the warm service.


Upper Left: The Leopard’s elegantly romantic ambiance; Upper Right: Standout eggplant appetizer (top) and gnudi (bottom); Center: BYOB — and your own wine-loving friends; Bottom Left: The awning at One West 67th Street; Bottom Right: Foregoing BYOB doesn’t mean going thirsty at The Leopard

While you’re lucky to get a few extra tumblers and a corkscrew tossed your way at some informal restaurants that allow BYOB, The Leopard at des Artistes offers excellent wine service along with no corkage on Sunday nights.

Our table brought a couple of bottles of Champagne (including a bottle of La Caravelle Rosé Champagne that was gifted to Karen on her birthday), which our servers kept well chilled throughout the night, pouring it incrementally in order to maintain its optimum temperature.  Our friends — Michael Gelb, author of the international bestseller How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci and the new Creativity on Demand, and his wife mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski — brought an amazing 2010 Castello di Ama San Lorenzo Chianti Classico that was decanted for us and served in lovely glassware.


Upper Left: Honeydew melon green salad; Upper Right: Can’t get enough of these murals; Center: La Caravelle Rose Champagne; Bottom Left: Pasta courses benefited from a side order of mushrooms to enhance their red wine-friendliness; Bottom Right: Wine lovers Andrew Dornenburg, Deborah Domanski, Michael Gelb, and Karen Page

While the BYOB policy, lovely ambiance, and excellent service would have been enough to bring us back on a Sunday night had the food been merely good, we were pleasantly surprised to find most of the dishes quite good to excellent. We understand there’s a new chef at the stoves — Michele Brogioni — who previously earned a Michelin star at Il Falconiere in Italy.

We’d heard advance raves about the gnudi — buffalo ricotta gnocchi, in butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano sauce, on organic sautéed spinach ($16) — which we really enjoyed.  But our hands-down favorite dish at The Leopard was another appetizer:  a timballo made with eggplant and smoked buffalo mozzarella with spicy tomato sauce ($14).

We enjoyed both of our generously-portioned pasta dishes — a farro penne made with grilled zucchini, roasted plum tomatoes, and organic basil ($22), along with a rigatoni “alla Norma” in tomato sauce with sautéed eggplant and aged ricotta cheese ($20).  Springing for the side dish of sautéed mixed wild mushrooms ($10) to top them with made them both an even better pairing with our wine.

The restaurant’s website had promised its “Sunday Supper” to be “uncomplicated and delicious.”  We’re thrilled for us — and for our fellow wine lovers — that The Leopard truly under-promised and over-delivered, providing us with a delicious new option for Sunday night BYOB dining.

NYC BYOB Restaurants

What are your favorite BYOB restaurants in and around Manhattan?  Let us know in the comments, or by shooting us a message.  We’ll be updating our list in a future blog post.

A few of our favorites, along with others recommended to us by our wine-loving friends:

Amali, Upper East Side — Free corkage for exceptional bottles of wine
AOC, East Village — Free corkage Monday through Thursday
Balvanera, SoHo — Free corkage on Monday night
Campagna at Bedford Post Inn, Bedford, NY — Free corkage on Wednesday night
Colicchio & Sons, Chelsea — Free corkage on Sunday night
Flinders Lane, East Village — Free corkage on Monday night
Home, West Village — Free corkage on Monday night
I Coppi de Matilda, East Village — Free corkage on Tuesday & Wednesday nights
Kellari Taverna, Midtown West — Free corkage on Sunday & Monday nights
La Palapa, East Village — Free corkage on Monday night
La Sirene, SoHo — $1 corkage on Monday & Tuesday nights
Le Village, East Village — Free corkage nightly (1 bottle per 2 guests)
Left Bank, West Village — Free corkage on Sunday & Monday nights
The Leopard at des Artistes, Upper West Side — Free corkage on Sunday night
NoHo Star, NoHo — $3 for 1st bottle, $10 per additional bottle
Patroon, Midtown East — Free corkage on Friday night (up to 3 bottles per table)
Pho Bang, Chinatown — Free corkage nightly
Riverpark, Murray Hill — Free corkage on Tuesday night
Tartine, Greenwich Village — Free corkage nightly
Tribeca Grill, Tribeca — Free corkage on Sunday & Monday nights (1 bottle per 2 guests)
Virginia’s, East Village — Free corkage on Monday night
Wo Hop, Chinatown — Free corkage nightly

Note:  As BYOB policies can change, it’s best to contact the restaurant to confirm its current policy and any restrictions.


The Leopard at des Artistes is at One West 67th Street between Central Park West and Broadway.  212.787.8767.