Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wine Guy (another try)

The mini-chain based in Columbus OH, Wine Guy, opened a Cincinnati location last fall. By coincidence, their opening happened at almost the exact time as another wine-oriented restaurant started up--La Poste in Clifton. As someone who drinks wine with almost every dinner, home or away, I tried both of them within a week of their debuts.
As readers of this blog probably have noticed, La Poste was an immediate hit with me. They have a sommelier, one of the few in the city and definitely the only one in my 'hood, Clifton. The food passes foodie muster, but it was and is the adventurous, unusual wine selections that impresses the most.
My first experience at Wine Guy was much less happy, in part because I look for healthier menu choices and had a hard time finding any on their menu, but mostly because I was so disappointed in the wine selection. It was just all too familiar, IMHO.
So this week I decided to give the place another try. (I can't even explain why it took me so long to have that brilliant idea -- duh!) I slipped in on my own for lunch, when it's not anything like as noisy as it was the Saturday night of my previous visit.
Well, it was a much nicer experience. While I still had a bit of a time finding an appealing food choice and had to ponder the wine list awhile as well to get past the stuff I've had all too often, I did come up with a satisfying meal.
By selecting from the premium wines by the glass at the bottom of the list, I found a delicious California pinot noir, not inexpensive (about $13 for a good pour) but it was worth it. For food, I had a well-prepared grilled vegetable ciabatta ($8.99), which came with either chips or a small fruit cup. The only false note was that the fruit seemed to have been cut up not all that recently, but the sandwich was delicious and I ate the whole thing.
The waiter was friendly and answered my questions about the restaurant and listened kindly to my suggestions about kicking up the wine list. Wine Guy is also a wine shop, and its shelves contain lots of really interesting bottles. While you can select any bottle and drink it at your table for an additional $10 corkage fee, I wish they would include more of those unusual selections by the glass and (even better) in their flights.
One of the things that excited me about this place was that they offer flights of wine, which almost nobody in this town does. But as of now, there's not one of their flights that tempts me. My waiter said they're about to redo the wine list soon, and I do hope they'll make at least one of the flights something outside the box of chardonnay, cabernet, Italian reds, and so on.
The restaurant is in a prime location, the space is inviting, I love the bar area and the wine shop is first rate. Good luck to Wine Guy, and I promise to keep checking it out.

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