The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Ray’s & Stark Bar recently unveiled not only a water menu but a water sommelier by the name of Martin Riese. As far-fetched as an H2O specialist may sound, with a 45-page, 20-item water list from 10 countries, a captain to navigate the flood of options is de rigueur. “Depending on the TDS levels, pairing the right [water] with wine and food makes a difference,” explains Riese. By TDS levels, Riese means the amount of total dissolved solids in the water (i.e., salts, minerals or metals), which is responsible for the taste. For instance, a pinot noir won’t fare well with Spain’s ultrasalty Vichy Catalan. Instead, opt for a smoother water, such as Fiji or Beverly Hills 90H20 (Riese’s own brand).
Flights ($9) are available to showcase the diverse flavor profiles, though Riese recommends refraining from eating or drinking anything else during the tasting to avoid distracting the palate. Is this yet another eye-roller of an L.A. trend? Beyond the novelty, Riese views it as an opportunity to educate guests about conserving something most take for granted: “Water is precious. In the future, it will be the most coveted resource, even more than oil.” www.lacma.org