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Jul 9, 2007 03:17 PM

The Local Vine (new Belltown wine bar)

We visited the newly opened Local VIne (2nd ave in Belltown) this past weekend. It's the old Poliform furniture store. Wine list is extensive and almost every one of the wines is available by the glass. They've also categorized many of the wines as "local wineries," "cult wines," "critics choice etc.

Ambience is cool and chic. Not quite comfortable, but very urban.

Food small plate style and is by Crush's Jason Wilson and everything we tried (6 dishes in all) was very well made.

I believe they just opened on Friday, so it's brand new. No reservations taken, but at this early date, there weren't any required either.

This place is sure to draw a good portion of the crowd from Black Bottle (my prediction).

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  1. what small plates did they have?

    6 Replies
    1. re: barleywino

      I pigged out on the Local Vine's small plates at a special tasting dinner. They included bar snacks, such as their own marcona almonds, cured olives, and truffle popcorn, an outstanding crudite plate (using blanched, grilled, and marinated as well as raw veggies), spicy grilled prawns with chorizo, troffie pasta with pork ragu, grilled waygu steak on blue cheese "mashed" (more like chunked) potatoes and -- the standout -- gnocchi with rabbit confit and shaved foie gras. I am thrilled about the addition of the Local Vine to Seattle's restaurant scene, but if this last dish made it on the final menu, I might have to make a weekly pilgrimage there.

      1. re: ssusu

        Sounds really good. We can't wait to try it. The only thing making me a little wary is that the two Harvard MBAs behind it have said it's to be a chain! Hmm.

        1. re: fooddawg

          Why does it matter that it is going to be a chain? everything looks good!

          1. re: scottpearson111

            You're right. And since we have the first store here hopefully the quality will always be good. That being said, my experience with chains and many foodies seem to agree, are not good. Somewhere along the line quality IS often lost. They sound great and on paper it looks good but their pitch to people (potential investors and designers) who have seen the biz plan is apparently a quick roll out across the US ramping up exponentially. If everyone is lucky enough to get Jason Wilson's food there will be a lot of happy people nationwide!

          2. re: fooddawg

            Yes, it is made to be repeatable. According to The Stranger review they want to open 10-15 (can't remember) all over the Northwest.

            I like the idea that they have the new "Enomatic Wine Preservation System" and am glad to have another choice for small plates just a couple blocks away from home. I'll have to try this week or next.

        2. re: barleywino

          We tried the waygu steak with the blue cheese potatoes (potatoes outshone the steak), the onion/mushroom flat bread, parmesan cheese puffs (sinfully divine), gnocchi (not with rabbit and foie gras though--I don't think that particular variation made the final cut), crab cakes, cilantro shrimp and bread pudding (only okay) for dessert.

          Most everything was at least very good, I personally wasn't impressed with the bread pudding, but it was more than edible.

        3. Went tonight for a dinner of small plates. The space is very nice and modern inside. The servers were all very nice, but they seem to still be working out the kinks. Sat outside and nobody came by for a good 10 minutes ( we almost just left). Then, we ordered a a couple glasses of champagne, which took a good 15 minutes to deliver. Finally, the glass of white I ordered afterwards never arrived and after 20 minutes I ask again. It was served 3-4 minutes later. They also were sending plates to all the wrong tables. It was a constant debacle as a server would arrive at a table and ask if they had ordered the crab cakes, be told no, and then move to the next table and repeat.

          Re: the food. The salad greens came in a water glass, I guess to be modern. Kinda dumb. Everything about the mushroom and pancetta flat bread was good, except the flat bread itself. It was like a mushy cracker...and the mushrooms seemed to be from a can.

          OK, enough bitching. The crab cakes were full of crab and very tasty as was the gnocchi with corn and thyme. I would order that again. I would also order the mushroom and goat cheese on walnut bread (though again with the canned mushrooms).

          So, despite what might sound like a lot of complaining, I like the place. It's sort of like a cafe for wine drinkers. The menu of wine is fun, the volume is nice, it is a beautiful space, etc. Now I know what is good, I would go back to meet a friend for a nice UNbar atmosphere, a glass of wine, and maybe a plate or two on occasion.

          5 plates + 1 mini champagne bottle + 1 $9 white = $80 including tax and tip.

          2 Replies
          1. re: eternalX

            Eternal - Why didn't you leave?! Waiting that long, multiple times, is not O.K. I would never passive aggressively recommend a place that treated me like that and then charged me close to hundred bucks. I can get apathy for cheap on Capitol Hill. You're good enough, and smart enough, and gosh darn it you deserve better.

            1. re: billie zee

              Heh, yea we thought about leaving, but we were being lazy and talking quite a bit so it wasn't a big deal on this night. But generally, yes I would leave.