Donna da Vine - new Atlantic Avenue wine bar
Just noticed that what I thought was going to be a nice little wine shop is actually going to be a wine bar with small plates. They have the menu in the window now, listing a large selection of wines and a small selection of food. However, a unique item on the menu was poutine, which I am a huge fan of. I'll definitely be there to see how it is - maybe they have a French Canadian in the mix? (And perhaps one of my favorite beverages to go along with poutine, sortilege!)
Anyways, it looks like it's about to open, but you never know with these things. It's located on Atlantic Avenue between Hoyt and Bond, south side of the street.
I stand corrected - apparently they opened in November? I don't think I've seen it open yet.
We popped into Donna Da Vince last night for a pre-dinner glass of wine. Sample was crowded so it seemed a nice night to check out. Now keep in mind, I adore Sample, and it being our quintessential wine bar, its hard not to draw comparisons.
Anyway there was good and bad.
First the good. The wine selection is great and offers pre-selected 3 wine flights, as well as everything by the glass or bottle. Also, their food selections sounded and were tasty. I like that you can order 3, 4, or 5 tapas choices for a set price. We went for 3 pre-dinner tapas. The mushrooms werent so great, overwhelmed as they were by the lemony vinaigrette. Couldnt taste the mushrooms...and the mushrooms were of the basic button variety so very easy to overwhelm. The salami and parmasean crisps selection was fantastic. paperthin grilled salami and paperthin parmasean cheese crisps. Also enjoyed the chorizo, served with mustard and grilled strips of pita.
Now the bad.
The wine pourings by the glass are quite skimpy, pricey, and not served in correct glasses. The glass they use for everything it seemed was a Riedel style merlot sized glass. However, I had a delicate white semillion and husband had prosecco. Prosecco in a red wine glass? For $12 for my white, I had an inch of white wine in a very oversized glass. Seemed like 2/3rds or so the size the pour should have been. The prices looked much better by the bottle. For $48 a bottle I'd have been very happy with this $12/glass wine (and probably at least 8 of their pours). I hate to be so picky, but its a wine bar, they should know proper glassware.
The place still looks like a would-be wine store. The walls are lined with empty wine shelving where they have put wall seating on bar chairs. Seemed odd to have all this empty wine shelving and not one bottle of wine in sight. They seem to keep all the wines back in the kitchen area and then bring them out with a server.
I got the sense they're not sure if they want to feel like a restaurant or a bar. Felt more like a restaurant with very little true bar seating and lots of two seater tables. But the food list is too brief for that I think. Also, they have someone greet you when you enter to seat you, which is very restaurant like to me. And the 'bar' area is 4 seats around what was obviously meant to be the register area for the shop. No bar to speak of..again, no wines in sight.
The staff was all pretty friendly. They overcharged me in the end for $14 for me $12 glass of wine which they corrected when I pointed it out.
All in all, its no Sample thats for sure. I do kinda wish Sample would take one card from them and start offering 3/4/5 dish samplers of food. But this place needs more character, to not try so hard to look polished, and to figure out what it wants to be.
My wife and I went for a light dinner on Saturday night. Apparently there were legal issues with opening a wine shop in the hood, so they went with the wine bar theme. Nice selection of wines and a well chosen selection of mirco-brews. We decided on a Primitivo (Flaio?) that was outstanding. Food choices are limited - we had the cheese plate, turkey panini and veggie panini. Cheeses were tasty, served at a good temperature. The sandwiches were also tasty, particularly the pepper turkey with mozzarella and apple chutney. Worth the trip.