Come for a Glass of Wine, Stay for the Food – Vinoteca in Greenwich, CT
It is Friday night, and you are thirsty. Not the Dos Equis thirsty, necessarily, but may be a glass of wine thirsty. Or a cocktail and a glass of wine. Or may be couple of glasses of wine. Bottom line – you want to go out and have a glass of wine. So, where do you go? Yes, I know – this is beyond rhetorical – you can find wine at any restaurant today. But – if you just want a glass of wine, or you want a glass of white, and then glass of red, or you are simply in a mood to taste a few of the different wines, you have two issues. One – by the glass selection in a typical restaurant is limited, or may be even very limited, depending on your luck. Two – by the glass selection in many restaurants is grossly over-priced. When you look at the $16+ by the glass selection, the first reaction is “I’ll just have a glass of water”. Well – the purpose of this post is not to complain about by the glass restaurant prices. My whole point here is to let you in on a little secret and to tell you that I just found a solution to this wine glass craving issue, and I want to share it with you. The solution? Vinoteca Restaurant and Wine Bar in Greenwich, Connecticut.
As you walk into the restaurant, the first thing you see is a wine bar. And then you see another bar. And then the wine list, where each and every wine is available in the glass pour of different sizes and by the bottle. No exceptions. You want to build a flight of Italian reds? No problems. Are you in a mood for a few of the California whites? No problems at all. You want to compare classic Italian Sangiovese with the one from California? You got it. The wine list has just perfect size – there is enough variety, but you are not feeling overwhelmed with the task of finding the wine you want to drink in the foliant you can barely hold in your hands.
The core of the wine list is Italian, but there is still enough variety (California, France, Germany and more). The prices are quite reasonable as well. During the course of the evening we had a number of different wines which our gracious host Sasha kept bringing over. Here are my brief notes:
2012 Gundlach Bundschu Gewurztraminer Sonoma Coast – I read about Gundlach Bundschu wines in many blogs, but never had an opportunity to try them, so when I saw Gundlach Bundschu on the list, I really didn’t care what exact wine was it, I just had to try it. The wine was very nice – Gewurztraminer wines, in my opinion, don’t have the middle ground – they are either good (can be spectacular, yes), or terrible – they don’t have the “well, okay” range – so this was a nice Gewurztraminer, well balanced, with hint of honeydew, spicy with good acidity. Drinkability: 7+
2012 Ferrari-Carano’s Fumé Blanc Sonoma County – a classic California Sauvignon Blanc, with fresh gooseberry and lemon notes, good acidity, a bit too sweet to my taste. Drinkability: 7+
2011 Abbazia Santa Anastasia Contempo Nero d’Avola Sicily IGT – excellent, herbaceous undertones, warm, smooth, inviting, toasted oak and fruit notes. Drinkability: 8
2011 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County – cassis on the nose, nice tobacco notes, touch of espresso, round and simple. Drinkability: 7+
So what happens after you have your first glass of wine? Yes, you want food. And food we got – plenty and delicious. The menu at Vinoteca is somewhat similar to the wine list – concise, but very diverse, with the good selection of “ahh, I must to try this” dishes.
We started with the nice selection of appetizers:
Polpettini (house made meatballs, whipped ricotta) – excellent, very tasty sauce, meatballs had nice texture.
Cozze (Prince Edward Island mussels, red curry, french fries) – well prepared mussels don’t need any explanations, right? The only thing which they demand is … yep, extra bread.
Panetto “Italian grilled cheese” (fontina, San Marzano sauce) – perfect comfort food, very tasty sauce.
Next, we had a few Pizzas to share – one better then the other:
Qauttro Formaggi (ricotta, gorgonzola, parmigiano, mascarpone) – was probably my favorite – very intense, cheeeesy
Rustica (charred tomatoes, olives, sea salt, olive oil) – perfectly fresh and delightful
Spicy Lobster (mascarpone, habanero, corn) – excellent spiciness, nice bite, and nice pieces of lobster. I would never think that lobster would work on the pizza – but it actually does!
As we were not fed enough yet, here came the salads:
Italian Wedge (bibb, iceberg, gorgonzola,tomato, crispy prosciutto) – The Wedge is one of my most favorite salads, ever since I tried it for the first time. Crispy bittersweet lettuce and salty
bacon prosciutto – just perfect.
Kale (Bosc pears, walnuts, pecorino) – yes, I know kale is healthy and good for me … but it is just not my thing ( but other people loved it).
Greek Chop (cucumber, watermelon, feta cheese, red onion) – a nice version of the Greek salad, very fresh and light.
You think that was enough food? Apparently not! We got to taste a few more dishes:
Parpardelle Bolognese – believe it or not, but this was my single most favorite dish of the whole dinner. This pasta was served family style, and I swear I could’ve eaten the whole “family portion” just by myself – so homey, so comfortable, so delicious.
Pollo Scarpiello (cherry peppers, sautéed spinach, spicy sausage) – wood-fire roasted chicken – delicious! Perfectly tender chicken, and you can tell that it was roasted over the wood fire. Tasty!
Salmone Al Arranciata (mascarpone mashed potatoes, asparagus, blood orange) – I personally didn’t taste this dish, but people were very happy about it.
And finally – desserts!
Assorted Desserts – Cannoli Cake, Cappuccino Cake, Tiramisu, New York Cheesecake – do you think I can give you detailed notes on the desserts? Yep – I can’t. After that amount of food, the desserts were almost an afterthought. They all tasted good – however, none of them stood out. Note the presentation – I like the choice of the stand out plates.
That’s all, my friends. By the way, today is Friday – but even if you are not reading this post on Friday, you are probably in the mood for the glass of wine and some tasty food anyway, so why not give Vinoteca a try? I’m sure you will not be disappointed! Cheers!
Disclaimer: I visited the restaurant as a guest of management. All opinions are my own.
Vinoteca Restaurant & Wine Bar
33 Lewis Street
Greenwich, CT 06830