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Oct 8, 2007 11:11 AM

Wine and Cheese Bar in NoVA?

I used to go to a lovely wine and cheese bar in the SF Bay area years ago and would like to find something on par with that experience.
What I am looking for is a bar that only serves cheese and wine and maybe a few small tapas plates like olives or roasted peppers or nuts to go along with a large cheese and wine selection.

I do not want a restaurant that has a cheese platter on the menu, especially the ones that charge $20 for three slivers of dried up cheese with 40 crackers and an apple.

This should be an ala carte selection of cheeses to order and a fair quantity when you do order.

Any suggestions?

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  1. Is there not a single wine and cheese bar in the entire NoVa area? What about DC?

    4 Replies
    1. re: LoveFood2Much

      The liquor laws in MD, VA & DC are different from California. There is probably some rule that the establishment has to serve "food" to gain license. And in Montgomery County they have to buy from the gov't distrubutor so there is a limited selection. Don't even try to have a wine shipped to you in Maryland.

      That being said there are some wines bars/resturants starting to open in DC. Haven't been but heard good things about Proof , please search board for recs. There are a couple more either just opened or soon to be in Dupont area.

      1. re: LoveFood2Much

        What about Veritas in Dupont Circle? I haven't been yet, but it fits your description.

        1. re: LoveFood2Much

          Wegman's (a huge fancy grocery store) in Fairfax has a wine bar. I suppose you could buy some cheese in the cheese department and have it along with your wine. Not much atmosphere, thought.

          1. re: LoveFood2Much

            I think finewine in McLean has a small wine bar now; the one in Gaithersburg has had a bar for years but the McLean store is much smaller. In Gaithersburg, they generally have 8-10 options by the glass and anything in the store by the bottle. They serve cheese plate from $6-15 and have some small plates (olives, etc) as well.

          2. Mendocino on M Street in Georgetown is exactly what you're looking for, except for exact location.

            1. While not in NoVa, Sonoma on Cap. Hill might fit the bill. It has a larger menu, but does have an a la carte cheese menu and an interesting wine list.

              1. Thatnks everyone-I will look the three of them up and report on the one I select to try.

                5 Replies
                1. re: LoveFood2Much

                  Are you also open to restaurants with great wine lists and nice cheese plates? I can think of a number of those, but they aren't exclusive wine and cheese bars.

                  1. re: jpschust

                    jpschust-When you say "nice cheese plate" the answer is probably no. I've found that if the focus isn't on the cheese, it's usually not that good, fresh, or a decent quantity.
                    I went to the website of the three recommended bistro's; Sonoma, Mendocino, and Proof and they all look great in terms of ability to order ala carte. Proof appeals the most at this point. Sonoma has lot's of people who love it but also some who say it's not as good as the reputation. Mendocino looks great also.
                    I will probably try Proof first.
                    If you feel you have a recommendation similar to those three, I'm all ears!

                    1. re: LoveFood2Much

                      We were recently at Sonoma and disappointed with quality of cheese, one piece was off. Also the range didn't seem very deep. The wine list is great and the food is good.

                      1. re: LoveFood2Much

                        Proof has a great selection of cheeses, and their waitstaff is very knowledgable about the cheeses on the plate. I was very pleased when I was there two weeks ago. Their serving sizes are a bit smaller than I'd prefer, but three of us enjoyed a plate of six cheeses for something like $22 at the end of a light appetizers meal and we were satisfied.

                        If you find yourself at Central (Michel Richard's bistro-style restaurant on Pennsylvania Ave., NW), their cheese plate is a DEAL at $13. Six high-end (mostly) French cheeses including Epoisses and great portion size. Their servers don't seem to have a great grasp on the cheeses they're serving and you need to ask for bread (no crackers served despite the spreadable nature of two or three of the cheeses), but it is a great value considering the prices there.

                        I wrote a blog entry at DC Foodies about this recently - you might want to check it out:

                        And you may also want to check out Dino in Woodley Park if you like Italian cheeses...they really put a lot of thought into their offerings.

                      2. re: jpschust

                        P.S. I also checked out the website of Veritas and it also looks good. Forget that one first go around.

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