The stars came out last night for what has become a culinary tradition at Tony’s: A special menu by Tony celebrating the wines of cult California Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah producer Kamen (Sonoma).
But it was only natural that the star that shone most brightly was Robert Kamen himself: The legendary screenwriter — author of “Taps,” “the Karate Kid,” and countless other American movie classics — was in the finest form as he regaled a rapt dinner crowd with his tales of Hollywood, organic and biodynamic grape growing, and winemaking that has enthralled the world’s leading wine critic, Robert Parker, Jr.
Among the wines that he shared with guests were the 2013 Kashmir, awarded a whopping 98 points by Parker (who tastes and scores the wines himself), and the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, recipient of a 96-point rating by the world’s leading connoisseur of the wines of California and France.
“One of the reasons that I’m here is that I love Houston,” said Kamen in an interview conducted earlier in the day. “There’s a friendliness to Houston and the restaurant scene here has exploded here.”
But it’s Tony’s, he said, where he prefers to show his wines.
“The first time I walked into Tony’s, I didn’t even have a distributor in Texas. But I looked around and saw all the bottles and I saw the wine list. And I said to myself, ‘I gotta have my wines on this list.'”
“When you walk into Tony’s, you know you are in a wine-friendly place where someone understands the correlation between wine and food. It’s somebody who understands that wine and food are co-joined. When you look at his list, you see that he has wines for everyone’s palates. I can REALLY drink off his wine list.”
“There’s a graciousness to Tony and he imbues the whole restaurant with it. And the restaurant takes on his personality. And the service there is some of the most impeccable I’ve ever seen but without the stuffiness and without the pretension” that the no-nonsense Kamen always seems to avoid, whether in his winemaking or his favorite places to dine.
“AND the food is killer.”
While the Spearhead Ranch Colorado Lamb, paired last night with the Kamen Syrah, wowed the crowd with the tenderness and nuttiness of the pasture-raised meat, it was perhaps the Dry-Aged Natural Baby Hen with Truffled Leg Confit and Foie Gras Hen Jus, paired with his legendary Kashmir, that really impressed Robert.
“The food pairings were so thoughtful and the food was so great tonight,” said Kamen after the event. “But that’s what I expect when I eat at Tony’s.”