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Best restaurant/wine bar in Pasadena area

stevenclaire Jan 4, 2008 12:39 PM

My brother is coming in from Philadelphia and I want to take him to a nice dinner.
he loves to go out to eat and to cook and he is very into wine.
I have been wanting to try 750 ml. in S. Pasadena. Would anyone recommend it or any other suggestions would be welcome. Looking for something with an interesting menu and good wine list! Not too pricey, maybe something off the beaten path....

  1. a
    AquaW Jan 22, 2008 01:27 PM

    I'd favor Red White + Bluezz or Vertical, both are quite good (albeit a bit pricey) and within the Old Town Pasadena area, so you and your bro have something to do while sobering up.

    ~H.C.
    http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

    1. stevenclaire Jan 22, 2008 11:55 AM

      We have decided to try Mike and Anne's based on alot of rec.'s here on Chowound, we have been to Vertical many times and it has been very good and we all like RWB but wanted to try somewhere new. So will let you all know how it was tomorrow. THANKS!

      1. m
        Minimang Jan 20, 2008 04:46 PM

        All are pricey but if it is a special occasion and you want to have a nice evening with your family, then just do it...

        I was at 750 ML for a business dinner last week. Food good, wine list abundant without being overwhelming, wait staff attentive and knowledgeable.

        Red White and Bluez is my hands down favorite in the Pas area. The somalier is knowledgeable and generous with tasters, the chef is talented and has an original spin on many comfort food items. And if you go on Thurs. through Sat. you can stay for some music.

        I haven't yet tried Vertical. I was told not to bother...

        1. vajrasun Jan 19, 2008 07:46 PM

          750 mL is pricey. Comparable wine bars in the vicinity are Madeleine's, Firefly, and Red, White, and Blues, if you are looking for a full dinner, plus great wine. Red, White, and Blues will also serve you a nice side of live jazz music.

          I personally don't care for Vertical's wine list. It's very common and the flight's I've had were not that impressive. They get an "A" for ambiance and friendly service though. If you just want to go for the wine, I would recommend Bodego's in Paseo or Heritage Wine Bar, next to the armory, over Vertical. Wine Styles in South Pasadena is fun too. They do not serve dinner though.

          1. barham turner Jan 5, 2008 01:43 PM

            My mom is here for the holidays and my husband and I went with her to 750 ml last week. We had a delicious and very well-served dinner, so I don't know if we just hit it on a good night or what. I love the ambiance--huge glass windows looking out on the intersection of Mission and Meridian, so you can see the Gold Line trains gliding through every few minutes. They have an interesting wine list with offbeat choices, lesser known producers, so it may be intimidating to some, but the wines we tried were very good. There are 17 by the glass (saved a copy of the menu) from $8 for a Portuguese alvarinho to $16 for Roger Pouillon Champagne. The duck leg confit, served as an appetizer (large!) was excellent with a little pile of chopped medjool dates and a salad. Country terrine, also very good, as was the pear-arugula-almond-blue cheese salad. My husband had the steak frites, which was truly delicious. The waiter made much of how they hand select the beef, how long it's aged, etc. Very personable waiter, by the way, witty and fun. I said to my Mom as we left, "he'll have his own show on Comedy Central by the fall." I had the scallops, which were very good, and my mom had the lamb mixed grill, which looked to be a rolled stuffed piece of lamb as well as shank and maybe a little chop if I'm not misremembering. Entrees were $22 to $42 (steak). With three glasses of wine, the bill was over $200 for 3, but we ordered a lot.

            Oh, the desserts are nothing special. Indeed, the waiter asked us what we thought of the bread pudding, after we had tasted it, and we told him honestly that it was dry and not really a good version of bread pudding, and he thanked us and took it off the bill. So I think they are still experimenting, at least with the desserts. But I would definitely go back and actually you can eat very well here just on the appetizers, which are a better deal. So FWIW. I've been to Mike & Anne's, Firefly and Bistro de la Gare, and my choice for "next meal in South Pas" would be 750 ml again.

            1 Reply
            1. re: barham turner
              trolley Jan 6, 2008 11:04 AM

              perhaps the service improved and maybe my drunk waiter was fired and replaced by the aspiring comedian. my problem with that is i like service to be polite, personable and friendly but can get annoyed at "funny" because funny is much more subjective than personable and friendly. maybe i'm a bit grumpy today and i think the thought of 750ml gets me worked up too.

              in any case, i have not been back since my last and and first visit when we had the worst service from a drunk waiter with major attitude. the food there was good and the quality is very nice but i don't need to feel bad when i go out to eat. for south pasadena i go to mike and anne's, shiro and briganti.

              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/342544

              i vote for vertical, madeleine, and RWB any day over 750ML. the food at all 3 places are just as good. well, maybe madeleine's is as good as 750ml and the other two can be as good.

            2. k
              karen g. Jan 4, 2008 04:55 PM

              We tried 750 ml. and were very disappointed and I haven't heard anything good since. The wine bars mentioned are a great way to begin, but you don't have to eat there. There's a funky place called the "Nose" in Arcade Alley and the owner seems to be really into his wine offerings.

              1 Reply
              1. re: karen g.
                t
                thomtompkins Jan 5, 2008 11:05 AM

                I'll through a couple of ideas out there for you. 750ML is good and I've personally not had a bad dish there. However, if you look at Chow, you will see very few good things said about it. I didnt think it was expensive either, I guess its all relative. But it could be dicey if you listen to everyone else. Literally a block away on Mission though is a sure winner. Mike and Anns. The room is somewhat small but very comfortable and the service is very good and they know their menu. The menu is stocked with mainly unfussy things like flat iron steak, ricotta rav, rottis chicken, roasted black cod with miso, braised short ribs etc. Last night though I had three courses just to mix it up: a beautiful frise salad with red baby endive, lardon and poached egg, a diver scallop with puree of calliflower and port wine reduction and finished with a PERFECT crispy duck confit with braised cabbage and chipolline onion. The confit literally wouldnt hold its shape it was SO tender. Spectacular......and I'm in South Pas...?

                The wine list is simple and short with solid and fairly priced selections from Spain, New Zealand, France and California. They even serve a Gruner Veltliner by the glass and you dont find that very often.

                And like everyone else above I REALLY like Vertical wine bar. Its a beautiful space, and they probably have 40 wines by the glass as well as a sharp selection of by the bottle. The night I was there last week, the wine bar had about 10 people in it but the restaurant was completely FULL. I cant personally speak for the food but I have to think they must be doing something right for that to happen on an off night. Their stemware is also top notch so your brother will feel right at home. Good luck and have fun!

              2. i
                imho Jan 4, 2008 01:28 PM

                I agree with Madeleine's and Vertical suggestions. Have heard 750ml is very pricey for what you get, but perhaps worth it for a special occasion. None of the three are bargains by any means but all good choices. You could stop by Mission Wine or Colorado Wine Co. for a tasting too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: imho
                  j
                  Jack Flash Jan 4, 2008 04:33 PM

                  I liked 750 ml, but it did come with a severe case of sticker shock (particularly so because I was still a tad hungry after the two of us spent well over $130, with a modestly-priced bottle of wine). We took my folks to Madeleine's for their anniversary & dad's b-day a couple of weeks ago, and I was actually surprised at how reasonably priced it seemed. The bill for five of us, which included a bottle of red, three glasses of white, & two glasses of dessert wine was $300 before tip. And, we had enough food left over to get an extra dinner for two (with the addition of our own salad). Given the warm, pleasant ambiance & professional, unhurried service, it seemed...well, not a bargain, but very good value.

                  I'd also recommend Vertical or RWB. I like the food better at Vertical, but prefer the wine options at RWB (more reasonable pricing on the wine flights).

                2. t
                  Terahertz Jan 4, 2008 01:27 PM

                  Here is the post on 750 ml. Generally it has not been well liked by chowhounds. Based on the negative buzz, I have not been there myself. I have been to Vertical, and it is very nice, but a bit pricey. I would go there again, but not often.

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/342544

                  THz

                  1. w
                    Waverly SGV Jan 4, 2008 01:20 PM

                    Madeleine's on Green Street just west of Wilson is gorgeous with classy ambiance. A little pricey tho. They serve California French cuisine and have an extensive wine selection. Appetizers run from $8 to 19 for the foie gras. Entrees range from low $20's to low 30's. The restaurant is co-located within a boarding house for foreign exchange students. Rumor has it that this place sits on top of a maze of underground tunnels leading to Cal Tech Univ, and that Albert Einstein used to travel these tunnels during wartime. Fact or fiction? In any event, it makes for an interesting dinner conversation! Have a nice dinner with your brother.

                    www.madeleinesrestaurant.com

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Waverly SGV
                      SauceSupreme Jan 4, 2008 02:20 PM

                      As an alum of Caltech, let me tell you, the coffehouse at the SAC is just a coffeehouse. However, the Athenaeum is a nice space. It's a private club, so unless you know a Caltech alum...

                      1. re: SauceSupreme
                        w
                        Waverly SGV Jan 4, 2008 03:27 PM

                        I'm not sure that Einstein frequented Cal Tech in search of a good cup of joe... But I agree with you about the Athenaeum. It's an exquisite "club" for members only. I was lucky enough to attend a hospital fundraising event there many years ago.

                        1. re: Waverly SGV
                          SauceSupreme Jan 4, 2008 10:23 PM

                          Well, I actually like going to the Ath for their monthly "Wine And Spirits Tasting"

                          Here's the calendar:
                          http://athenaeum.caltech.edu/calendar...

                          Oh look, Christopher Eme is going to be a guest chef. Huh. I'm still more interested in the upcoming Single Malt Scotch tasting.

                          1. re: SauceSupreme
                            w
                            Waverly SGV Jan 5, 2008 10:38 AM

                            Thank you for the calendar, SS. The dinner menu looks over-the-top gourmet. Chateaubriand carved tableside? Bananas Foster?? Mardi Gras??? Perhaps it's time to host a chowdown at the Athenaeum?!

                    2. SauceSupreme Jan 4, 2008 12:49 PM

                      My favorite is RedWhite+Bluezz, though their menu is probably a bit pricey. There's also Vertical, which has swankier decor and more straight forward wine bar food.

                      I have not made it to 750mL yet.

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