Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Vinoteque: Parte Due
There were a couple of openings in Culver City I eagerly awaited – and they all opened while I was out of town! Father’s Office, M Café de Chaya, and Vinoteque. I have been to new M Café several times, and it is just as good as the original location. We tried to go to Father’s Office, but at 7:00 on a Tuesday night the place was full, and no one was budging. On to Vinoteque.
In the former Synergy Café space on Sepulveda, an unlikely locale (which is good because there is lots of available street parking), Vinoteque is a wine bar/restaurant with live music nightly. We arrived on a weeknight around 6:00, and by 7:30 or so the place was full. They have seating out front, and two dining rooms. One by the bar with high seats and tables, away from the music, and the other larger room with low slung couches and tables, with the stage in the rear. Cool modern design, with empty wine bottles nestled in the ceiling – the only drawback is that couches have low backs, which mean you either sit up straight, are sit way, way back.
The menu consists of small plates to enjoy with their eclectic wine selection. Each menu item lists a suggested wine pairing. If you order the accompanying wine, you get a bit of a price break. My friend and I wanted the wine pairing, but we wanted to share the glass, so they split the serving and we each had our own flight. They seem to be game when it comes to playing with the menu and creating options. I love it when the staff encourages this.
We chatted up with one of the proprietors, Adam, whom I know from his days at Bottlerock, and he generously gave us some Nero d’ Avola and a sherry to finish. Ok, on to the food.
We started with their bar nuts, a sticky, sweet, salty blend of nuts laced with rosemary. Definitely share these. Then, on to the bacon wrapped blue cheese stuffed dates, another rich, sweet-salty combo.
Then they grilled halloumi cheese, with roasted pepper and olive salad. The salad added a refreshing, light touch to the cheese.
All paired beautifully with a Rose, Muscadet and Chardonnay. Definitely pick the wine they suggest. It creates what my friend DJ calls, “a home run in your mouth.” When we moved on to the red wine we shared the lamb kefta – two ground lamb sausages on housemade pita. Nice, fatty, juicy lamb with the pita to soak it all up.
The jazz band that played that night was perfect for sipping wine by. No avant garde weirdness, just nice, classic jazz. My favorite.
4437 Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90230