Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Wine Bar

Saturday night my date and I decided to try out The Wine Bar, at the recommendation of a reader. I hadn't been for years so I was excited to go back to the swanky broadway restaurant. When we first walked in the first thing I saw was the bar. It was a beautiful, sophisticated bar that took up about half of the space. There was also a small seating area and a side room for those who like to enjoy a cigar with their wine. There was something about the set up that made me wonder if The Wine Bar was more of a lounge than a restaurant? Maybe a place to come for drinks and appetizers rather than dinner?

I thought this again when I looked at the menu. You sort of have to guess what is a full entree by looking at the prices. I thought the categories of Earth, Land and Sea were very clever, but I had a difficult time figuring out what I wanted to eat that would be enough for dinner. The wine menu on the other hand was very helpful, the descriptions of the wines made it easy for me to figure out which glass of white to choose. I ended up with a glass of Wine By Joe, a pinot gris from Oregon (yes, I picked it largely in part for the name).

Now I know everyone knows what a glass of wine looks like, but I wanted to also show you the beautiful purple flower on the sleek black table, very sexy. The theme of the decor was black and deep purple (which also happened to be the color of my dress so I blended right in), creating a very intimate and sensual feel. The intimacy was taken down a notch though when we were seated, the way our table are angled my date was rubbing elbows with our neighbor, oh well. 

We started off our meal with warm olives and complimentary home made crackers. The crackers were salty and savory (rosemary I think?) and we quickly went through those. We also devoured the olives before I could remember to take a picture. Sorry about that, they were good though I promise. 

My date ended up getting two small plates and started off his meal with the Romaine Salad.

The salad was fresh and flavorful, it's always good to eat raw onion on a romantic date. I was a little confused though - the feta, red onions and olives made me think of a greek salad, but the light lemony dressing tasted like Caesar dressing? Curious. 

After the Salad he got the Duck Procuitto. This came with fig paste, apple slices, candied pecans, and camermbert cheese. (the apple and pecans were not on the menu though, so careful with allergies!)

So I'm not much for duck, but apples, fig paste and soft cheese are enough to win me over! I can only imagine that the strong flavor of the duck would just add to the already decadent tastes happening on that plate. He said he wasn't, but I think that I may have still been hungry after those two small plates, especially when you're dining with someone who likes to take half your salad...

I ended up getting an order of the scallops (entree size for this hungry girl) that came with a meyer lemon-arugula risotto. 

The scallops were amazing, perfectly pan seared and seasoned. The risotto however I was not a big fan of. It was a bit too peppery for my taste and I would have preferred another way to enjoy the sweet tang of meyer lemons other than those big slivers of zest, both for flavor and texture reasons. 

For dessert we got something unbelievable. Almond Creme Caramel with sour cherries.

Now this was my first experience with sour cherries, and I am a true convert. They were tart and sweet and amazing...perfectly paired with the creme caramel. I didn't taste much of the almond, but that certainly did not mean that the dessert was lacking, all of the flavors were perfectly balanced. This was a light dessert that was the perfect end to the meal, a touch of sweetness without the overly full feeling that some desserts can give you. 

When we were deciding what dessert to order, I noticed something curious. On the back of my date's dessert menu was a menu for "pasta night", leftover from a night before. There were three amazing looking pasta dishes, all priced for $10. Of course we immediately asked our very friendly waitress. She said that every Wednesday is pasta night, and that you can check their Facebook page to see what's being served that night. How exciting, who knew! She also informed us of their happy hour which is weekdays from 4-6. It sounded like they have different specials for happy hour as well which are worth checking out. 

Overall The Wine Bar was a great experience, though next time we go I think it will be for classy drinks and small plates. It didn't seem quite like the right venue for an intimate dinner, definitely more suited for throwing on some fancy clothes and meeting up with friends or someone special you're trying to impress. While you're there, you can save yourself $8 with your Spa City coupon, hopefully that will make a small dent in your most-likely-to-be-steep check. Enjoy!


  1. Nice review. I always had the same thoughts, more of a drink and app kinda place.

    Not sure if you're following the Russo's saga on Saratoga Mama and Fun in Saratoga, but maybe you should bump them up to the top of your list for a review!

  2. Thanks Rob - I have been following all of the drama, my goodness! And I think for that reason I may wait a couple weeks until I go to Russo's, just to make sure it's clear that it's my own review and not involved with all of that. Hopefully I'll have a better experience than Saratoga Mama, but either way I'll give my honest opinion!

  3. Hi Aliza- Sorry to be contacting you via comment but it's the only contact info I could find- my name is Aubree and I'm the Saratogian's Community Content Coordinator. We're doing a new feature, "Best of Our Blogs," and I'm compiling all of our blogger's contact info. If you would please email me at acutkomp@saratogian.com with your contact email and number it would be much appreciated. Thanks! P.S. love the blog!

  4. We dine at The Wine Bar often. I find the small plate style of eating very appealing for a number of reasons. It's healthier, it encourages trying new things and it's often more economical. We just returned from New Orleans and ate at some of its finest restaurants usually ordering 3-4 appetizers for our dinner. Knowledgable waitstaff understood and encouraged this way of ordering. The best part is trying many unusual preparations and never leaving with that awful stuffed feeling. Back to The Wine Bar- We find it very casual and never feel the need to put on fancy clothes. To me it's about the food. It's amazing and I've never had a bad meal there. Definitely go on a Wednesday for the pasta specials. Chef Colose makes all his pasta from scratch and it's fantastic!