This wine bar is what all wine bars should be with one small exception (get to that later). We visited on an unusually chilly, dark Houston evening, not knowing what to expect. We knew we were looking for a good wine selection and we did, indeed find it. The wine by the glass menu is huge and daunting but a very nice young woman (sorry, didn't get name; long dark hair, dark rimmed glasses) asked what I usually like, asked a few more questions and then brought the absolute perfect wine. She had some sort of 6th sense or something. She also made suggestions from the food menu that turned out to be excellent as well.
The place is DARK. But, this is not a negative because there was a nice intimate feel, great for date night. Unfortunately, we could not hear the music as the speaker away from the bar didn't seem to be turned on.
There are tables, a bar and some leather couch seating areas. That's were it got a little odd.
When we arrived, a bartender watched us walk in with a rather uninviting facial expression but hey, he was probably busy so no big deal. We sat at a table, waiting for more comfortable seating to open. When a couple left (we did not "hover", waited for them to leave the building) we made our way over to the empty couches but were quickly intercepted by the same rather cool bartender. He brusquely informed us that the couple would be back and he was 'holding" the seating for them. Okay. That felt a little weird, like we were intruding. We went back to our table and the couch sat open for the better part of an hour. This is a small thing, but it did leave the impression of this being a rather "private club" and outsiders definitely came second. Bad for business.
Returning, rather chastised, to our table we watched our wait person handle a LOT of customers while the same gentleman seemed to be socializing more with know customers or friends or special people or something. It was just odd.
Ok, this is a rather small thing but it is the small things that make customers come back or refer friends. The feeling on walking in is definitely not warm, it is cool and distant. Except for our the nice wait person who helped us with wine selection, there didn't seem to be a lot of personality in the room
Anyway, the wines were great, the food was too. The warm olives were particularly surprising. All the bread (the baguettes served with the meat and cheese plates and the panino breads) were excellent, fresh and tasty. A panino can often be greasy or heavy but the margarita was light, crispy and not overloaded with cheese. The accompaniments to the cheese plates were perfect, a marmalade went beautifully with the spice rubbed brie. Sweet with mildy hot, perfect.
The wine list had a great deal of variety with a number of really good blends (sometimes hard to find) and some unusual wines like an Orange wine made from, not oranges, but white grapes. VERY dry but more flavor than a white. Served well chilled, it was a new experience. The pours were not stingy. The crowd was a mix of young and hip to ....well, mature clients like us. You know, with expendable . income which is good because the check was over $100. No complaints here. We had 3 full pours, 2 half pours, a one meat plate, a one cheese plate, a panino, a pretzel and the olive plate. For all of that, I think the price was reasonable. The portions are small which is great because you can try many things and not feel terribly stuffed and obligated to eat it all. Next visit, we must try the dessert s'mores!
Oh yes, the décor is interesting and adds to the sort of rustic feel. We spend some time in Tuscany and this felt a little like some of the places we visit when in Italy or the south of France. Nice.
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