The GOOD -
Nice restaurant. All of the four entries we had were well prepared, the duck (they were out of rabbit) rillet appetizer stunning and appropriately rich and with full tasty condiments, the fish finally appropriately done (underdone by other restaurant standards). The pizza wasn't liked by all at the table, I do admit, but I forgave the over heaped toppings (you can remove them you know) because the crust was very nice, probably wood oven baked (does anyone know?) with blistered crisp sides and a thin bottom. They should add a marinara, that would be a perfect little appetizer for 2-4.
As usual we bugged the sommelier and he spent some time speaking with us, actually brought two bottles to taste and we actually went off course to pick a great riesling matchup for the combined main courses. I don't remember his name but if you want to try something new this guy knew his stuff and is willing to take you somewhere new, and of course, they have the variety to take you many places! Which makes the downstairs all the more disappointing.
As a wine bar this place is a fraud stuffed with .com techno yuppys who, I'm convinced, would lavish praise on a half glass of red colored everclear. The long list of wines are available by the glass/half glass/ and by thirds of a bottle (250ml, and 500ml). This is a great idea, if the red wines didn't almost uniformly suck. The problem being they all very young wines, many of them massive "highish rated" wines like Tvine which really aren't great to drink when they've just opened the bottle. The problem is that they have a lot of wines, older, and even new ones, that COULD be served downstairs with much better results. You could wait, I suppose for some of these wines to open up, but believe me no one does, it's crowded and frantic full of .commies which would happily chug toxic waste so long as they could look cool and spend $14 a glass. Which is exactly what's going on downstairs.
ME! I was definately the least primped and proper person they've served recently. Not that I was trying to look bad, mind you, but the uber Yuppy clientle were out of my visual league. Fortunately the staff appreciates people interested in what they do well, answer questions and took me into the wine storage early in the evening (v. huge though not as nice as the wine room at Cypress Club used to be). Anyway I was the ugly guy and they put up with me and gave us a table without reservations which is saying something since the mayor was sitting behind us.
OVERALL - you like this type of scene, well perfect. For me, if it sticks around I'll probably get back to it, but not downstairs! And let's face it, for the price and hassle it's going to be a while with so many places that are alternatives in this city