Au Revoir, Rubicon
Is a taco truck pulled up outside a great restaurant at midnight an ominous sign? Is it comparable, symbolically, to the raven perched outside the house of someone at death's door?
Last Saturday night, it was. The truck was there so that Rubicon's kitchen crew could enjoy the bittersweet party that memorialized the famous restaurant's last night. Luminaries from Rubicon's present and past were in attendance, from New York-based owner Drew Nieporent to Larry Stone, Elizabeth Falkner and Dennis Leary, as well as the current kitchen heads, Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski. Also stopping by for a glass of Champagne were such notables such as Richard Reddington (Redd, in Napa), Daniel Patterson (Coi), Ravi Kapur (Boulevard), Emily Wines (Fifth Floor wine director), Jen Knowles (Waterbar sommelier), Debbie Zachareas (Ferry Plaza Wine), Andrew Green (Spruce) and many, many more.
Rubicon's sommeliers, Cezar and Matt, kept the wine flowing up until the glasses started breaking with alarming frequenc, and almost everyone went home at around 2 a.m.
I want to thank all the Rubicon staff--and especially Stuart and Nicole--for many of the best meals of my life. Brioza and Krasinski's food was often overlooked by the big-name critics. But many people with palates I respect all agreed that Rubicon was, quietly, one of the top culinary destinations in the country. And as for the history ... When Larry Stone was there, he conducted blind tastings for sommeliers and waiters that achieved legendary status. He kindly allowed me to participate over a period of years, and I can honestly say that what I learned during those sessions has been invaluable to the development of my palate and my career. And it wasn't just tasting with Larry Stone that taught me so much, but rather what I learned from everyone else--from Raj Parr, Alan Murray, Jenn, Mason, Cezar and the rest of the crew.
Like everyone else, I will miss Rubicon terribly. But I will also watch with great anticipation to see what happens to its talented and charismatic staff.