In honor of Whale Week, Veritas and Boulevardier co-owner Brooks Anderson tells the tale of a night he popped bottles for some high-rollers at Veritas:
Sometime in 2009 while Randall Copeland of Restaurant AVA and myself were jointly attending to various dipsomaniacal affairs, he had an idea.
And it was a good one.
He proposed that he cook a multi-course dinner at Veritas for his best regulars and mine. He would use portable burners, portable fryers, portable ice cream machines, a Hasty Bake, really, whatever he needed to put on a show and feed some folks and garner some business for he and Nate Tate's very excellent Rockwall restaurant AVA.
From that first event, the Veritas Supper Club series grew to include the finest chefs in North Texas. Nathan Tate, Bruno Davaillion, John Tesar, Matt McCallister, Jon Stevens, Sharon Hage, Keo Velasquez and Joel Harloff, among many others, all threw their hat in the ring and cooked some of the finest pop-up food this city has ever seen. Many of these chefs came back two, three, four times and some of them nine or ten times, and with the incandescent star power provided by these chefs, Veritas Wine Room was able to attract quite a crowd for those Sunday Nite Supper Clubs.
One Sunday Nite Supper Club evening in 2010, a great Supper Club regular came in with his wife and several of their friends. There were 7 total. Of course, they arrived in a limo. That was the first clue where the evening was headed.
During the course of their $75 per head Supper Club dinner, they managed to rack up a $2,500 wine tab. They were popping the biggest bottles at Veritas.
By the end of the 4 course dinner, they were sauced and surrounded by empty $150 and $200 bottles. But the main Veritas Regular -- whose name will not be disclosed -- and one of his hardened drinking buddies decided they weren't yet done.
They told me they wanted one last glass of wine. So I presented them the Veritas by-the-glass list. The Veritas Regular drunkenly tossed it aside and said 'Hell no, we want something good. We'll pay $100 a glass and you can finish the bottle.'
I quickly brushed off the insult he hurled at our carefully selected by-the-glass list (that to this day still tops out at $15), and headed straight for the one of the very few bottles in the shop that I had not yet tasted, the-still-very-young-but-who-cares-cause-we're-popping-it-tonite 2004 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto. With a $175 release price (retail -- we're talking $350 at a steakhouse, easy, if not $400) and a 98 Point Score from the Wine Speculator and a 96 Point Score from Robert Parker, I had been eyeing this dark-haired beauty for a while. And while it sounds crazy, $100 a glass is about right.
I could have poured them Ass Kisser Shiraz and at that point of the evening they wouldn't have known the difference, but hey, the customer is always right!
Once Bradley Anderson, Eddie Eakin, Fernando Garcia and myself had ushered everybody out of Veritas, we sat down and enjoyed the remaining 15 ounces of the bottle. The bar and restaurant business can be tough at times, but few businesses have perks like the perks we receive on a regular basis. Makes the late nites worth it, for sure, and those sips of the 2004 Cerretalto remain some of the most enjoyable sips of wine I have ever enjoyed.
And those $100 glasses remain the most expensive glasses of wine I have ever poured.