In a rare (but real) occurrence, the much underrated and overlooked water gets its dues. Ray’s & Stark Bar, located at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is adding to its beverage list a 20-item Water Menu. The bar’s GM and water sommelier Martin Riese created the list, which comprises waters from ten different countries, including Voss from Norway, Badoit sparkling water from France, and Berg from Canada. “The hardest thing is to get the different waters into the country,” says Riese. “For instance, I’m a huge fan of Tasmania rainwater, it’s completely cool, but I can’t get it here in the United States.” Riese has earlier introduced a 40-label water menu at a German restaurant and also written a book about water, way back in 2009. His current 45-page menu, in addition to listing all the varieties of water, aims to educate on how to taste by featuring descriptions of each water varietal, including information on the origin, mineral content, and tasting notes.
He hopes that his latest attempt will turn around the dining experience by taking diners beyond the realms of flat and sparkling and into how bitter or sweet. Waters on LA’s most extensive Water Menu will be for sale by the bottle and through a $12 water tasting menu. The bottles range in size from .75-1 liter and are priced from $8-$16, including Riese’s own 9OH2O, which retails for $14 per bottle.
It is made in limited editions of 10,000 individually numbered glass bottles from spring water of the Sierra Nevadas. According to Riese, “we are already accustomed to pairing food with wine or beer, but many people don’t know that water is just as important to the entire dining experience.” Well, now they will!