Having lived in Newark years ago, from a restaurant standpoint it was always a college town catering to the tastes of the U of Delaware student. Transforming the former Stone Balloon dance bar several years ago into the upscale Wineshouse was certainly a courageous undertaking. With entree prices hovering around $30/entree, this could certainly fill a void for the people looking for a "nice" or "occassion" restaurant. It certainly has potential however the owners/manager are missing what it takes in my opinion to make it in this niche. Hostesses dressed in college casual (jeans, etc) with an "it's a job attitude that I lead you to your table" aren't going to do it. Classy black/white upscale attire with a "glad-you're here" attitude would certainly give a better first impression. The bare stone walls, dim lighting, and REAL candles on the table gave me hope. Unfortunately, bare fake wood tables with vinyl orange chairs killed the mood. Again, real tablecloths with upholstered wood chiars would have kept with the expected mood. The waiter was prompt in taking our wine order but upon bringing wine to the table after a lengthy absence, announces."Sorry it took so long, I finally found this laying in the back"! The Chardonney was delivered at room temperature and THEN put on ice. Since he never came back to refill our glasses, we finally asked the person delivering the food to go find our wine. We then asked that the chiller be placed tableside in case our waiter disappeared again. (Which he did! We poured our own for the rest of the night.) If you expect ANYTHING in a place called "Winehouse" you'd expect them to treat wine with more of a flair and interest. We were holding out for a turnaround with the meal. In most cases this also was a disappointment. The Beets and Sweets salad looked delicious upon arrival but turned out to taste like it had been pre-made before dinner started and was kept ice cold in a refrigerator. Dressing was applied just before serving. For a higher end restaurant you expect it to be prepared as ordered. Ingredients were very fresh with a nice dressing...unfortunately it got better as we ate it as it had time to get over the "right-out-of-the-refrigerator" chill. We followed this by sharing the crab cake entree which was huge (2 large mounds of fresh crab meat with little filler) worthy of any fine DC (or Wilmington, DE restaurant). Unfortunately, once again, the details and attention to temperature was lacking. The crab cakes were served luke-warm although accompanied by hot vegetables. (Obviously applied at different stages of the "production line"). Perhaps the crab cakes waited too long after preparation in the kitchen for delivery to the table. I would highly recommend this entree for future diners but insist they arrive HOT. We ate only ONE of the crab cakes between us due to shear size but took the remaining with us cuz it really WAS very good. We decided not to chance dessert. I agree all courses could have been returned for a second try at getting it right but...you can't send them ALL back. We did this only with the original house wine.
I really hope this place makes it. Newark needs a "nice" restaurant. Unfortuantely, right now I feel we have a wanna-be nice restaurant missing critical details to take it to a "WOW...I'd come back with friends". First among the improvements would be training the staff (and management?)to "think" and "act" like a top restaurant. (With the U of D School of Restaurant Mgmt down the street, it shouldn't be hard to find this!). Also step up the firnishings to the next level. Cloth...not vinyl and plastic table tops. And finally...get the food temperatures correct. Foods "could" be worthy of a fine restaurant if only they could be delivered as the chef intended.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.