The Carnelian Room's Closing: End of a Wine Institution
I was sorry to read the note in the Chronicle that the Carnelian Room is closing. More than for its commanding view of the city and its classic menu (think steak Diane), I'll remember it for its incredible wine selection and its sommelier Mike Jabari. Jabari was one of San Francisco's hidden gems—a man who humbly and quietly had one of the longest tenures on the floor of any sommelier in the country, more than 30 years. Jabari also amassed one of the city's deepest and most interesting wine collections. Reading through his list (of which many selections were still great bargains) was often an activity that could satisfyingly eat up the better part of an hour. He and his wines will be missed.
But what will happen to the wines? I'm not sure. A call into Aramark, the company that owns the Carnelian Room, has yet to be returned. But the word on the street is that some or all of the collection is up for sale to select San Francisco restaurants. So perhaps Jabari's legacy will live on, ensconed in the wine cellars of another—or many other—SF restaurants.