Aldo Sohm

Sommelier

New York

Aldo Sohm, chef sommelier at New York’s Le Bernardin, is well known for his food and wine pairings — his classic duo is Le Bernardin’s scallops with morels teamed with Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon, Defaix 2000. Sohm oversees the celebrated restaurant’s wine collection of 15,000 bottles. The Austrian-born Sohm landed in New York in 2004 after a couple stints at Austria’s finest restaurants. In 2008, a year after he joined Le Bernardin, Sohm was named Best Sommelier in the World by the Worldwide Sommelier Association. In 2009, the Austrian-born Sohm launched his own label Sohm & Kracher, which focuses on the wines of Austria. He also created a bespoke corkscrew by Laguiole, and has a stemware line produced by Austrian glassware company Zalto.

  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What are Aldo Sohm’s favorite cities to visit?

    I love to go to Buenos Aires. I think it’s a fascinating city, and it’s also has fascinating people. There’s so much old structure there — it has kind of a 1930s feel. Time stops there. I always have a hard time leaving Buenos Aires.
     
    Vienna is another favorite. It’s not just because Austria is my home country, but I think Vienna has a charming component to it, and it’s really clean. There’s so much culture — music, cafes, little restaurants.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What are Aldo Sohm’s favorite restaurants in Vienna?

    Steirereck is the absolute best. I would say it has Austrian cuisine and it’s also the best restaurant in Austria, no question. Lately they specialize in a vegetarian-based menu. I brought some friends with me there, and they were blown away. First of all, the presentation was fantastic. They loved how refined the food was and how seamless the service was.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What are Aldo Sohm’s favorite restaurants?

    I like to go to local places — it doesn’t necessarily have to be fancy. I love to sit with the people from that area. When I go to Vienna, one main destination for me is an amusement park called Prater; there’s a beer garden called Schweizerhaus meaning ‘Swiss House’. They are known for their pork knuckle because it’s so crunchy. You get a very special Czech beer, called Budvar. It’s so crisp and so fresh. It might sound odd that a wine person names a beer garden, but I like to look after many tastes for refreshment, and many wine people actually drink a lot of beer.
     
    In Vienna, I also like Plachutta, which is focused on boiled beef. It doesn’t really sound that exciting, but it’s very tasty.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What are Aldo Sohm’s favorite hotels?

    I always like to be centralized. I don’t like to come from very far out. If I’m in Buenos Aires, I love to stay at the Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt. It’s super close, and it’s very safe there too. That’s a key component in Buenos Aires — you have to be safe. As beautiful as it is, it’s not always safe. One of my absolute favorites is The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. They make you feel comfortable and it’s so personal. They’re friendly and nothing seems to be a problem.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What are Aldo Sohm’s favorite things to bring home from his travels?

    I bring very good wine home with me. On my last Austria trip, I brought home some French wine, as strange as that sounds. I got some great Burgundies there. I brought a bottle of champagne home with me, too. I got very fortunate — I made my passion and my hobby, my job.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What are Aldo Sohm’s favorite shops to visit when traveling?

    I love to go to the green markets, even in foreign cities. I just love to get inspired there. You can pick up the local items. I love to sit in the cafés and do some people-watching. That’s why I love to live in Brooklyn over Manhattan, because there are so many different cultures there. I think New York is all about the people and that mixture.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What was the best trip Aldo Sohm ever took?

    I am very fortunate. My absolute favorite was when I got to go to Argentina — traveling throughout the country for basically ten days. That was in cooperation with Wine Spectator, and they asked me to help them write something and to pick my brain. We spent 24 hours in Buenos Aires, flew then up to Salta, drove to Colomé, which has the highest vineyards in the world. It’s really remote, but beautiful. Then we flew to San Juan, up to Mendoza, traveled over Mendoza for three days and then flew down to Patagonia and then back to Buenos Aires.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What are some of Aldo Sohm’s favorite things to do in New York?

    I like the Neue Gallery up on 86th Street and 5th Avenue. It’s a small museum, but I like it a lot. There’s a café inside called Café Sabarsky, and they offer these fantastic pastries. I have a sweet tooth. You get the classics — the apple strudel or the Frischer Frucht-Streuselkuchen, which is this really great tart. I get the really typical Viennese tarts and cakes.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What is Aldo Sohm’s favorite place to brunch in New York?

    Locanda Verde in TriBeCa is the place for me. They have these eggs Bolognese, which are great. Normally when I go out to brunch — it sounds kind of cheesy — but I love eggs Benedict. I never get tired of it.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    In what season does Aldo Sohm think is the best time to visit New York?

    Spring and fall. There’s such a great vibe in the city, and everything’s blossoming. It’s getting green again, it’s getting warm, but it’s not sticky humid.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What are Aldo Sohm’s favorite bars in New York?

    Normally I like to go to Terroir Wine Bar. They have a late-night menu and a very creative wine list. I also go to the Brandy Library down in TriBeCa and PDT, a cocktail bar.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What are Aldo Sohm’s favorite things to do in his hometown Brooklyn?

    I live close to Prospect Park, and I love running there. I love going to different bars and restaurants. The reason I moved to Brooklyn was because I have a little outside space at my place. I can be outside and have a barbecue there. I can grill, which is nice. My grill’s name is Suzie. I named her. She’s the most beautiful woman on this planet because she doesn’t talk back and is always beautiful. I love barbecuing in the summer though, inviting some friends over and drinking wine.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What is Aldo Sohm’s favorite airline?

    I don’t like domestic airlines. On most of them, the service is pretty scary. The second thing that always throws me off with domestic flights is that people always take hand luggage with them because they have to pay a fee of $25 if they don’t. So, everyone is cramping that onto the plane.
     
    I love flying with Lufthansa — preferably with the new Airbus A380. It’s a whole different experience. You barely notice when the plane takes off. When you fly on any other airline, it feels like you’re driving a truck. It’s so quiet, much quieter inside. If you fly coach, there’s much more space. The on-board entertainment allows you to watch whatever you want, when you want. The on-board service is friendly.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What are Aldo Sohm’s favorite cities to visit?

    I love to go to Buenos Aires. I think it’s a fascinating city, and it’s also has fascinating people. There’s so much old structure there — it has kind of a 1930s feel. Time stops there. I always have a hard time leaving Buenos Aires.
     
    Vienna is another favorite. It’s not just because Austria is my home country, but I think Vienna has a charming component to it, and it’s really clean. There’s so much culture — music, cafes, little restaurants.
  • On October 29, 2012
    Aldo Sohm answered the question: Aldo Sohm

    What are Aldo Sohm's favorite restaurants in New York?

    Lately, I’ve been going to a place in my neighborhood called Chuko — it’s a ramen place. Also in Brooklyn is a little Italian place called Franny’s. They have a very clean cuisine. They offer pasta, pizzas, but also some very clean appetizers. They also have a very smart wine list — not the biggest one, but it’s so creative. If you have a big wine list, making it creative isn’t very difficult. But making a small wine list creative is difficult.
     
    In New York, I love to go to Daniel. For me, a great place is Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Everything is seasonal. I just came from there and had a really phenomenal meal. I don’t mind traveling for food.
     
    And even though it’s not a brunch place, I go to SriPraPhai in Queens, a Thai place. It’s not a fancy restaurant at all, but they deliver such authentic flavors onto the plate. The presentation is very simple, but it’s a restaurant that is spotless clean. They even have a little garden outside and they allow you to bring your own wine.