Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Wine Guy Wine Shop, Bar, & Bistro

A mid-priced small chain that’s serious about food, wine, and service and nails all three

Rustic Décor of The Wine Guy Bistro
    We thought Theresa and Chip had been to The Wine Guy in Rookwood, but they hadn’t so it was a first for the four of us.  Neil had looked it up and found that there are a couple of locations in the Columbus area and that there are additional locations scheduled for Hamilton and The Banks.  It shares some similarities with Brio, another chain that originated in Columbus.  Those are a mainstream menu with some intriguing choices, professional service, and a casually elegant interior.

Dexter Checks Out the Bar and Wine Shop
The Wine Guy looks rustic with the natural wood tables and the hanging picture frames around the larger party area.  The wine bar and shop are on the right hand side of the space.  We wondered if the shelving was from when it was the late,
lamented Smith & Hawken.

Wine Flight with Pita Bread and Hummus
     The wine list offers a number of different flights – four pours of variously grouped wines (sweet whites, whites, chardonnays, reds, international, for instance).  Our server said that it amounted to about one glass or glass and a half of wine.  However, they were a little more generous than that.  I thought it looked like it was about two glasses of wine; the glass of Riesling that I had was larger than I’ve seen in other restaurants.

Sea Salt Caramel Specialty Drink
Neil followed the server’s suggestion with the Caramel selection from the special cocktail menu.  It was rimmed in sea salt, which cut the sweetness nicely, though it was the type of drink that someone might down in about two quaffs.  It’s also possible to purchase a bottle of wine in the shop and drink it at table with a $10 corkage fee (reasonable in comparison to other restaurants offering such an option).

Italian Sausage with White Beans
Lemon Chicken with Cappellini
     The food tastes really good and was served quickly from the open kitchen, which was understated and not a distraction as it can be in some other establishments.  Chip had the Italian Sausage with White Beans, which was served in rigatoni and bound by a white garlic sauce.  He really enjoyed this dish, as did Theresa, who ordered the Lemon Chicken with Capellini pasta in a lemon caper butter and white wine sauce.  This was a full chicken breast – two pieces – that was double the size I expected.

Shrimp Scampi Ravioli
Neil asked the server for her choice and, as it was our first visit, she recommended the Shrimp Scampi Ravioli because “many of our customers order it and really enjoy it.”  She was right.  These were large pillows of pasta with shrimp that was tender; the garlic white wine butter sauce was light with a nice touch of citrus.  I had the Cioppino and this was a beautifully plated version with the largest scallop I can remember seeing and a couple of jumbo tiger prawns in addition to the clams and mussels.  The tomato broth reminded me of a fra diavolo sauce since it was piquant and had a dark aftertaste.  

     We were pretty filled because the bread choice – warm pita with a red pepper hummus just tasted like more.  We skipped dessert and chatted for a while, but our server neither pushed us to leave nor ignored us; it’s a delicate balancing act and she handled it like a master aerialist.  

The Wine Guy Bistro Wine Bar & Wine Shop on Urbanspoon      

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