Wine Jar on Fillmore
Well, it *was* a soft opening so I won't slam it too much...
It is nice that I now have a wine bar within walking distance. And they have a really, really fabulous menu of obscure and amazing mostly-California wines. A handful of imports, but the strength is in the domestic juice like T-Vines Zinfandel and Zapaltas Syrah. The interior is the now-standard warm brown floors, walls, ceiling (okay, I'm getting a little tired with this BROWN thing in this city -- there ARE other colors with which to decorate!) but comfy settees and low-to-the-ground leather chairs were inviting enough. And the mix of 80s New Wave and Moby music was a tad too loud for comfortable conversation; not a bad mix, just a bit too much.
The main detraction? There are only two cheeses currently available on the menu and each one is $9.00 (I'd like a selection and perhaps multiple cheeses on one plate, please). And sorry, whatever the two cheeses were, they were pretty forgetful. I have to believe that Saturday was their first day as it took almost 15 minutes to get those cheese plates and when they arrived, one could only assume the cheese (and mushy olives) had been stored in the freezer. It took several additional minutes before the cheeses were at an edible temperature. And Saltine crackers? Puleeze...
We chatted with one of the guys working there who indicated he was a consultant (versus an owner, I assume) and he agreed that there are some things which need tweaking. We talked about the great quality of their wine list as well as the need to fix the cheese course. They seemed to get a lot of business on Saturday; we were one of the first parties in and the bar was quickly filling up.
But one other point of contention which I noticed; one of the servers behind the bar was pouring a glass for a customer and needed to open a second bottle to complete the pour; the server did NOT check the newly opened bottle for cork taint before adding it to the partially-poured glass. For a wine bar, this is a major indiscretion. With the exception of two plates of cheese, there is only one product being served and it better damn well be good. Not checking for flaws before service is a big faux pas.
Of course I'll go back and hopefully become a regular. But I also hope they see these notes...
I went last Wednesday night (March 12) and enjoyed the experience. I tasted three whites two of which were great and one easy to forget. However they didn't have any cheese on the menu. Instead they had a large cheese platter with dried fruit and crackers that was free. I walked right up and created my own cheese platter. I am planning on going again for sure as it is around the corner from my house as well. Remember its hard to judge any establishment within the first week of opening.
Partysugar, I have gone back -- I think your cheese platter was a one-off opening special. There are now two different cheese plates on the menu for $9.00 each; one for red wine and one for white. And they have at least gotten rid of the saltines for a more-acceptable water cracker.
Still a brilliant wine list and kudos for properly-sized Riedel glasses!
Ugh! I HATE it when wine bars and restaurants do not check a newly opened bottle for cork taint (or any other defect) before pouring it (either into a new glass or to complete a partially filled glass). No establishment that considers itself serious about wine should allow this to happen.