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Sunday, November 21, 2010
Wine Guy Dining -- Not So Much
We ate a light dinner Saturday night at the new Wine Guy Wine Shop, Wine Bar and Bistro in Rookwood Commons, Hyde Park/Norwood. Based on this one visit and an earlier browse of the wine shop half of things, my initial impression is that the wine shop might be the best part of the operation. While the place was being renovated and readied for opening, I had perused the posted wine and food menus, and frankly was rather underwhelmed, especially by the wine choices. While I was thrilled that someplace in Cincinnati finally was going to offer a selection of wine flights, so many of the offerings are rather boring, widely available and unadventurous choices. Click here to read the wine menu. I ended up with a glass of the Firehouse Red from the red wine flight, something I hadn't drank before, and it was fine. But none of the flights did anything for me. That could just be me, but I predict that this is not going to be a destination for the area's wine cognoscenti, who'd be better off schlepping out to Milford to 20 Brix or checking in at Clifton's new La Poste, where even though our newspaper's dining critic was not wild about the food, sommelier Bryant Philips has made it an exciting wine venue. Back to Wine Guy: my daughter's risotto of the day (top photo) was supposed to have chicken, mushrooms and several other ingredients but it was mostly rice. Her husband and I both ordered a nice-sounding Osso Bucco ravioli (tapas portion for me, second photo), and while it was tasty enough, it was overpriced IMHO. The only house offering was a puny plate of a very few pita triangles with a mound of flavored butter -- any one of us could have polished off the plate, no problem. Although our server asked when our main food came if we wanted more pita, it was kind of too late for the bread to do our hunger much good. The place is one very large and very noisy room, and it was hard to hear my companions across the table from me. On the plus side, the wine shop is attractively designed and organized in a customer-friendly way, and I did notice a few interesting and unusual bottles here and there. Time will tell whether they do well here; apparently, their Columbus area locations have been successful, and Hyde Park is probably their best bet in our area.
My day job is college professor -- of mass communication and journalism, at the University of Cincinnati. I've probably got a few more years to go, and it's a good gig. Love to travel, cook, dine out, and work out.