The Curious Grape has been my favorite wine store for years, even after I moved out of Northern Virginia, so, when they opened a restaurant, I had high expectations. They managed to exceed these expectations, providing a unique and enjoyable dining experience. First, the restaurant is open and welcoming, with the music and ambient noise at just the right level to have an easy conversation with fellow diners without hearing the next table. The wait staff were cheerful, knowledgeable and seemed genuinely happy to be there. They were attentive without rushing us and made excellent recommendations on menu items. Then, there are the clever wine pairings on the menu, with 1/2 glass servings of wine so we could match our wine with each course. Even the entrees allowed for 1/2 portions for those of us who enjoy a several course meal but can never eat those huge portions served in many restaurants.
The highlight, however, was the food. We started with the braised wild boar empanadas (paired with a glass of full-bodied red wine), which was incredible - a light pastry surrounding several bites of spicy, tender meat. The only thing that consoled me when they were gone was my butter poached lobster entree (paired with a glass of full-bodied white wine), with very light agnolotti and a sauce that was superb. The 1/2 portion was just right and for once I had room for desert. The fresh fig tart was unforgettable - the combination of the tart and blue cheese ice cream was simply delicious. At one point, the owner came over to see how we were doing and she was her normal warm, welcoming and genuinely interested self - kudos to her for creating a fabulous dining experience!