2004 BEST Sommelier
Cat Silirie, No. 9 Park
Whatever you do, don’t call Cat Silirie a sommelier. That title conjures up a tastevin-toting snob stealing sips of your wine. Silirie is too modest—and tasteful—to affect such hauteur, preferring instead to work behind the scenes, where she has created a service staff of "total sommeliers." Six days a week, Silirie conducts tastings and quizzes for the entire waitstaff—with homework. It may sound intense, but when the coat check attendant asks if you enjoyed your grüner veltliner, you realize Silirie’s handiwork instills a passion for wine unparalleled in most other restaurants anywhere.