Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Vinoteca and the Best Cheese I have ever had.

Sunday night Rosie and I decided to try Vinoteca, a wine bar located off of U street. R discovered this place from DC City Stream.

We get there a little before our reservation so we decide to sit in the bar area and take advantage of their happy hour specials.

Recently I have been really into Malbecs, so I decided to order a malbec (latitud 34. mendoza, argentina 2009) and R ordered the carménère (cance. maule valley, chile. 2007). I liked my wine and R liked hers.
 
It seems that lately I have heard/read a lot about fried Risotto balls so we decide to order the Arancini for $4 (in the restaurant it's $12 and you get 3 balls). It was pretty tasty but I don't think I would order it again here. I do want to try it at an Italian Restaurant at some point.
We each order one more glass of wine, so we could get it at the happy hour price, and then close our tab at the bar so we can move to the table to eat our meal in the adorable seating area. I tried the granache blend (KL. cotes du rhone, france. 2008) and R got a wine from Sicily, I believe it was "hero d'avola" but I can't find it online right now. They were pretty good, but I liked my malbec the best.
R and I decide to split two entrees, one cheese and one meat. The dishes are almost tapa size (a little bigger), so you would need to order a couple for the table. Once we ordered the server brings us out some bread and olive oil. The EVOO (bringing out my Rachael Ray) was mixed with crushed fennel seed, cumin, coriander, pimentón (a spanish paprika) and crushed black pepper. It was an interesting combo that R really liked, and I liked. The bread served was amazing. 
For the cheese we ordered Sottocenere from Veneto, Italy (pasteurized cow) $5. This is a semi-soft cheese with hints of black and white truffle and a spiced ash rind rubbed in truffle oil. AMAZING. I literally died and went to heaven every bite I took. I still think about this cheese. They also included some sort of a honey jello thing to cleanse the pallet which was very interesting. L&L2 would LOVE this.
For the meat we decided to get the Salchichon de vic from Spain which is a coarsely ground sausage with black peppercorns $4. It was served with a mustard, but I don't think it complimented the sausage well. The meat was very tasty and it had a very distinct peppercorn taste, but it was good, not overwhelming.
For another bite of amazingness we got the Grilled Flatbread: grilled eggplant, caramelized onions, oregano and house-made ricotta $8. Another taste of heaven (almost as good as the cheese). All of the flavors complimented each other well. This is a must order dish, and next time I come here, I will get this again. It's dishes like this could turn me into a vegetarian (don't worry, I am not ready to give up meat anytime soon).
R really likes duck confit, and I was willing to try something new, so we got the Hudson Valley Tabelle Farms Duck Confit $12. Included in the dish are fresh pears, spicy pecans, baby field greens and a fig-sherry vinaigrette. This was surprisingly very good, the duck was cooked well, and everything complimented each other well.
For dessert we ordered the Chocolate Hazelnut Tart with poached apricots and a sherry caramel $5. This was pretty tasty. The apricot was a surprisingly good addition to the tart. I really didn't get much of a taste of the sherry-caramel, but everything went together went well.
To end our meal we each ordered one more glass of wine, (from 8-10pm they offer 1/2 wines from South America for flamenco night price from 8pm-10pm) because we all know I am all about the discounts.

Overall I really liked this place. The service was amazing, the 1/2 priced and $5 glasses of wine were a great deal. And the food (my mission is life is now to find some more of that cheese) was all excellent. The only downside was the noise level. It was sometimes hard to hear R talking. I would have preferred some sort of noise control in the dining area.

Grade: A

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