“As dinner progressed and Sohm’s face turned an increasingly flustered shade of red, I accepted only one of his recommendations, a sake for a smoked-salmon carpaccio bejeweled with glittering salmon caviar. Otherwise, I grimaced and protested while he stammered and perspired. I wanted to see how well the “world’s best sommelier” could roll with the punches—and just how many of them he could take.”
The notion of former New York Times food critic Frank Bruni dining at Le Bernardin just to mess with master sommelier Aido Sohm is somewhat amusing, but ultimately revealing in just what a master sommelier can and should do for his dining guests.
It’s like reading a food chess match, with the food critic being obstinate and the sommelier parrying ever obstacle to please his guest.