Episode 414 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Randall Restiano, the Wine Director for the Eli Zabar restaurant group in Manhattan, as well as the Eli’s List wine retail shop.
Randall Restiano tried to get away from the pull of the family restaurant by leaving to college and nightclub DJ booths, but it is clear that his early days as a busboy working with his uncles left a mark on him, and that wine now has him hooked completely. Randall is today the Wine Director of multiple restaurants and a retail shop in Manhattan, and one of the things that his various life paths have given him is a sense of focus. He clearly enunciates in this interview what he is interested in purchasing as a wine buyer, and why. In the Yes column: Minimal intervention wines made from indigenous grape varieties in France and Italy. On the No side: everything else. This sort of stance might be hard to sustain without the support of ownership, but Randall clearly has that support from Eli’s Table owner Eli Zabar, and Randall recounts in this interview some of their adventures together in Burgundy and the Piemonte. There are also some humorous moments in this discussion, as Randall is not afraid to have a chuckle at his own expense. He recounts several of what could be termed “learning moments.” Perhaps this ability to retain some humor about wine has also allowed Randall to come off as more helpful than prescriptive with his focused wine lists. Listeners who are curious about developing a wine buying philosophy for restaurants or retail will find this chat with Randall to be a rewarding listen.
I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine