The Four Horsemen

295 Grand St

Brooklyn, NY 11211

United States

(718) 599-4900


The Food:

Egg with mayonnaise, squid ink and caviar

Yellowfin tuna coated in sesame seeds

Gnudi ricotta with maitake mushrooms

Olive oil cake

The Wines:

NV Jacques Selosse Rosé (2010 disgorgement)     95
2021 Antoine Lienhardt Meursault Sous la Velle 87
2015 Keller G-Max Riesling 95
1971 Peter Lauer Ayler Kupp Auslese 93

Yeah, I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge.
The somms are coming up from behind.
I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge to the somms from Paris and London.
But I was there.

I was there in 1855.
I was there at the signing of the Classification in Bordeaux.
I'm losing my edge to the somms whose footsteps I hear with their Coravin.
I'm losing my edge to the TikTok generation, which can tell me every member of Demeter from 1962 to 1978.
I'm losing my edge…

The first time I heard Losing My Edge (and before I continue, click the link and listen while reading this Vinous Table as it might enhance your enjoyment), never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one fine day I would be dining at The Four Horsemen, the vocalist’s restaurant. Vinous readers boast impeccable taste in music, but for those unfamiliar with James Murphy’s oeuvre, he records under the moniker of LCD Soundsystem. He is rightly considered one of the most influential musicians of this century. Even more importantly, Murphy is a fully paid-up oenophile. So, when not in the studio creating meme-laden cutting-edge dance anthems, he might be found at his Brooklyn restaurant, which was at the top of my to-go list when I returned to the Big Apple after six years.

…To all the winemakers in Piedmont and Burgundy.
I'm losing my edge to the art-school wine influencers in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties.
I'm losing my edge, but I was there.
I'm losing my edge.
I'm losing my edge.
I can hear the footsteps every night I’m at a Parisian natural wine bar…

The Four Horsemen entrance

Entering its doors on a Monday night, The Four Horsemen is smaller than envisaged, with bare and dark wooden floorboards, a bijou bar to my left and snazzy artwork on the walls with the odd shelf of empties indicating that this is a haven for wine lovers. I felt like I was entering a bustling Lyon bistro, albeit one with an adjoining club, in case you fancy a post-prandial boogie. Hey, even Bocuse didn’t have one of those. Nudging my way through to the rear, I take a pew near the open kitchen. The interior is cozy and dimly lit, yet another restaurant requiring strategic repositioning of candlelights to photograph dishes and bottles. I soak up the lively vibe and hubbub of noise, a casual setting for serious wine.

…But I was there.
I was there in 1924 at the first Steiner conference in a hall in Koberwitz.
I was writing his every word verbatim with much patience.
I was there when Lalou mixed her first biodynamic prep.
I told her, "Don't do it that way. You'll never make a euro."
I was there.
I was the first guy pouring Overnoy to the rock kids.
I poured it at Bern's.
Everybody thought I was crazy.
We all know.
I was there.
I've never been wrong…

Egg with mayonnaise, squid ink and caviar

For starters, we choose a selection of dishes. I don’t write down every single one, as one of our guests is midway through describing how he ended up in a headlock with Paul Simon. I mean, that’s going to grab your full attention. The standout is the perfectly cooked boiled egg slathered in mayonnaise mixed with squid ink to create an eye-catching swirl, with a blob of caviar spooned on top. It is ridiculously delicious, with caviar and squid ink counterbalancing the richness of the mayo to perfection.

Yellowfin tuna coated in sesame seeds

The yellowfin tuna is coated in sesame seeds. I wonder whether the sesame might overwhelm the subtle flavors of the tuna. No need to worry. It is moist and flavorsome, and the dish is balanced overall…although I’m hankering after more boiled egg and squid ink.

For mains, I make a beeline for the Gnudi ricotta chaperoned by maitake mushrooms. I immediately order any dish with maitake, aka ‘hen of the woods,’ because this fungus is difficult to source in the UK. This is beautifully seasoned, and the maitake is packed with earthy goodness; the Gnudi ricotta is not too rich, so the overall dish is balanced.

Gnudi ricotta with maitake mushrooms

We order two or three desserts. (I apologize for forgetting what they were; I was too busy prattling about music to remember, except that one involved a quite delicious olive oil cake with just the right amount of moistness.)

…I used to work at RN74.
I had everything before anyone.
I was there with the garagistes and Thunevin.
I was there in Swartland during the revolution.
I woke up naked in Côte-Rôtie in 1988.

But I'm losing my edge to better-looking wine writers with better ideas and more talent.
And they're actually really, really nice.

I'm losing my edge…

The wine list is squarely pitched toward biodynamic/natural wines that reflect Murphy’s predilection. And why not? It’s his fiefdom. It contains a gaggle of winemakers whose wines I enjoy. However, I find these lists becoming a bit predictable, identikit rosters of regular names given sommeliers’ nod of approval, resulting from an underlying Manichean “in or out” dogma. Consequently, soulful and delicious conventionally crafted wines, either not hip enough or unwilling to play the game, are shunned or automatically dismissed as inferior. It’s like being refused entry to a club because you don’t look right. Fortunately, the tide is beginning to change. I notice growing acceptance that trad vino has just as much to offer. I like reading lists that combine whatever you define as “natural wines” with those whose modus operandi is often only marginally different from the poster boys. Don’t misconstrue this as a tirade against natural or biodynamic wines, but rather my cri de coeur for open-mindedness.

…I heard you have a cellar full of every good Musigny made by Roumier. Every great 100-point Parker. All the underground Vin Jaune. All the modern Barolo wines. I heard you have a bottle of every Müller TBA from Germany. I heard you have magnums of every seminal Le Pin 1985, 1986, 1987. I heard you have a cellar of every great Sixties Napa Cabernet and another cellar from the 1970s…

We begin with a bottle of NV Rosé from Jacques Selosse, a 2010 disgorgement. There are scurrilous rumors that I dislike Selosse. There are not many things in life I dislike, maybe only war, racism, bananas and everything ever recorded by Irish boy band Westlife, but it’s just that some bottles are excessively oxidative and have no qualms telling you so. That said, this bottle’s oxidative element was perfectly pitched and complements rather than defines the champagne. There’s wondrous precision on the nose, with rose petals, a punnet of slightly overripe strawberries, rooibos, and background scents of Essex cockle sheds. The palate has exquisite balance, what feels like a once concentrated Rosé Champagne that spent the last decade cohering and gaining precision. It gains depth with aeration - just magnificent. We pick a 2021 Meursault Sous la Velle from Antoine Lienhardt from the list, a young rising star who took over this family’s 4.2 hectares back in 2011 and converted them to biodynamic viticulture. I have a tepid reaction to this wine principally because it misses the typicité of either Sous La Velle, one of the best Meursault Village climats, or perhaps even Chardonnay. It’s not unenjoyable. However, it has a duty to speak of its place, and that was not articulated in the glass. I’d like to try more cuvées from Leinhardt and see how his other cuvées show. 

The 2015 Riesling G-Max from Keller is stunning, endowed with enthralling precision and intensity on the nose without overpowering: crisp mineralité, touches of Crustacea, and hints of yellow plum and linden. Over 30 minutes, it feels like a camera lens being turned into focus. The palate is wonderfully balanced with shimmering, mesmerizing vibrancy, conveying a sense of verticality that Klaus-Peter Keller imbues his wines. It's a pity that market prices put the wines beyond my wallet, but one sip of this elixir and no one can deny it deserves the adulation.

We finish with a mature German wine, specifically from the Saar region, the 1971 Ayler Kupp Auslese from Peter Lauer. This is a vintage that is fecund with Rieslings that rivet you to the spot. It is intense on the nose, with hints of lanolin and grilled hazelnut, just a very light petrol-like scent in the background. The palate has impressive weight considering its age, and the concentration of the season comes through, perhaps on the drier side in terms of residual with the Auslese category with a controlled finish. Another 1971 thriving after 53 years (just like me).

I hear you're buying a cow horn and a ceramic vat and are throwing your automated vat-room out the window because you want to make something real. You want to make a Natural wine.

I hear that you and your winery have sold your sorting table and bought optical sorters.
I hear that you and your winery has sold your optical sorters and hired people.

I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know.

But have you seen my wine collection? Ganevat, Shiogai, Bizot, Lachaux, Commando G, Miroir, Gantenbein, Gentaz-Dervieux, Coche, Rav’, Dag’, Truchot, Giaconda, BAMD’A, Thomas, Sadie, Verset, Desjourneys, Soldera, Beau Paysage, Yellowtail.

You don't know what you really want.

If you are in New York, The Four Horsemen is highly recommended. I love the laid-back atmosphere; the cooking is some of the best I encountered during what was admittedly a slightly underwhelming return to the city’s dining scene. The sommeliers are friendly and knowledgeable. If there is one message in this Vinous Table, then it is that by broadening the scope of their wine list beyond those that worship at Steiner, The Four Horsemen will not lose its edge.

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