Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Water Tasting @ Ray's & Stark Bar

Water Assortment @ Ray's & Stark Bar

When I read Joel Stein's piece on water menus & water sommeliers several years ago, my first thought was "oh, how precious." Shortly followed by "this is definitely going to be an L.A. thing."

Martin Riese
So when I was invited to taste the water menu at Ray's & Stark Bar with their general manager/water sommelier Martin Riese, my only initial surprise was "what took L.A. so long?!"

Also, a good amount of skepticism that these waters have a flavor profile.

Shockingly though, they actually do - and that's something I learned tasting all the different waters in together (and yes, Ray's will offer a water tasting flight for water-curious patrons too.) Some waters had a smooth body, others left lingering notes. Some were almost sweet while others had a distinct minerally savoriness. Most of this is attributable to where the water came from & how it is processed, which affects the dissolved minerals & gases that translates into effervescence & flavors.

Naturally, all these varying characteristics means they can pair with different dishes, an experience Martin highlighted with this snippet from Ratatouille.

However, my experience was more like this:

Thus, I'd still much sooner go for pairing with a more potent beverage. But it's nice to know that even for something so neutral as water, there are still tell-tale flavor differences, and in the future I'll try to refrain from being judgy when I overhear some patron inquire about some brand-specific water.  
Vichy Catalan Water

And personally, I'm OK with my municipal tap, but I did make note that Vichy Catalan is my favorite of the tasted waters (it's also got the most dissolved minerals, so there is a definitely pop of flavor in there,) and I might even be inclined to order that one if I'm looking for a refreshing, fizzy sip -- even though I remain sketpical of their cholesterol-lowering claims.

Other thoughts around the Web on Ray's water menu:
Caroline on Crack
Gourmet Pigs
LA Times
LA Mag

5905 Wilshire Blvd, 
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 857-6180

No comments:

Post a Comment