By now many of you are aware that part of my Israel Wine project involves wine bars. As such I went out with some business associates tonight and we both perused several wine bars then ultimately stopped for some drinks and a bite at a new place that calls itself a restaurant & wine bar.
Is a wine bar a place with a large selection of wines? Is it a place with several offerings by the glass? Is it a place where snobbery rules? Does there need to be a sommelier? How about fancy stemware? Or even a massive wine display?
When discussing what I believe a wine bar truly is I speak of a place where the food compliments the wine – the wine is the focus. As opposed to a place where the food is the focus and the wine compliments the food.
There are many places in NYC opening up, often in smaller locations, calling themselves wine bars. But I think that many of these places build elaborate menu’s and are really a first restaurant for a chef (or just a cheaper alternative to a full blown restaurant). Yes all of these places have at least somewhat extensive wine lists. Some may employ a sommelier (not a requirement in my opinion). They may have fancy stemware, offer lots of selections by the glass, etc. But if the place is just a small restaurant with a nice wine list then say so.
The truth is that the place we went to tonight was very nice. The food was good. The service was nice (although a bit over the top for me). The wine list although small seemed to cover most of the basics (I had a very nice Albarino & an OK Sangiovese). BUT….there was NO BAR! How can you call yourself a wine bar if you don’t even have a bar?!?!?
I’m not saying that there is anything intrinsically wrong with any of this. Please indulge my little rant. I guess I just think that places such as the one we went to tonight should have a different name. If they are opposed to calling themselves restaurants, then how about “Winetaurant”… or “Restaurwine”??
Happy Winetaurant dining and tasting!