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4th and Vine, Edmonton

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Dan G Feb 28, 2009 08:06 PM

Had been there for drinks before but never ate there. Went for dinner Friday night, 2 couples with reservation for 5:30. Menu looked good, interesting food, OK wine list, not bad prices. http://www.4thandvine.ca/menu/ for reference so you can see that it looks very enticing. Quick look at menu, ordered food and wine by 5:40. Cutlery and napkins delivered on bread plates...might make sense, but we were never offered any bread, so for entire evening had these 4 empty plates taking up space on table.

Got salads around 5:50 pm.

Men each order caesar salads, women split mixed green salad. They said it was fine, but the matchstick-cut apple and pear pieces were brown, as though they had been cut long before and sat out. Caesars looked very interesting on menu but in reality romaine was so perfectly cut into 1" chunks it was probably bagged, dressing was pretty much non-existent and what had no mustard flavour though I did notice 2 or 3 mustard seeds, pita chips good, shaved asiago was finely grated not shaved, parmesan chip was overly thick and heavy, and proscuitto was not crisp. Awful salad. Plates off table around 6:05 - 6:10.

Then we wait. And wait. And watch a table of two who were seated as we ate our salads get their entrees (they only ordered one course). And waited longer. Would have been nice to have someone come along and offer more water. Or at least come by and say things were taking a bit longer...

Finally, around 7:00 we get entrees: I had paella, wife had beef tenderloin, other couple chicken breast and pork tenderloin. All three meat dishes came with the same odd potato cake, even though menu listed different potatos for each one. Pork was very poorly presented - except for a few withered green beans, it was all brown. Chicken breast was skin on, but only on part...not sure what happened to the rest! Both proclaimed to be utterly flavourless. Beef tenderloin ordered medium rare was brown throughout, and the plate was just doused in the sauce. My paella was probably the best of the 4 meals, with 4 large shrimp, 2 huge scallops, 8-10 mussels, and lot of ham and very mediocre chorizo, but then only a small portion of rice. And way too tomato-ey, with no saffron flavour. I guess it was a good deal, as it was a great portion of seafood/meat, but more rice less meat would have been more appropriate.

Women had desserts which came reasonably fast: one a creme brulee which she said was the first time she had one with no flavour, and also couldn't figure out why there was extra sugar sprinkled on top. Other had apple crisp-crumble which was actually some baked apple mush on top of a piece of cake that was moist to the point of being watery - theory was that it was frozen and thawed in microwave.

In total, 2 1/2 hours of really crappy food and service. The only reason I would ever even contemplate going back is they have a great scotch selection at dirt cheap prices.

And since I am on a rant about this place, if you call yourself a wine bar, don't serve every wine in the same style of glass (they were cheap and heavy burgundy glasses, inappropriate for most reds and absolutely silly for whites!)

  1. b
    Bob Mac Mar 1, 2009 07:05 AM

    Sounds pretty grim Dan G.

    I did go 2 or 3 times when they first opened and even back then they were pretty inconsistent even though I kept to fairly basic options.

    Do not think I will bother.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Mac
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      cleopatra999 Mar 1, 2009 07:32 AM

      They changed over management a couple of years ago and things seemed to have gone down hill since then. I did go there for after dinner drinks and dessert. we were quite happy with it, although no wowed enough to actually remember what I had, something chocolatey probably.

    2. l
      Libertycafe Mar 2, 2009 09:43 AM

      I've always been curious about 4th and Vine whenever we head off for supper at Tesoro's, since the two restaurants are quite close in proximity. So it's good to hear feedback on 4th and Vine.

      1. i
        ihatepickyeaters Mar 3, 2009 03:21 PM

        thanks Dan - i've never been but have contemplated it. how is the wine selection by glass? wondering if it is worth going to one of their tasting nights.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ihatepickyeaters
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          Dan G Mar 4, 2009 06:41 AM

          I think there were about 8 reds, maybe a couple less whites by the glass on the menu, plus a board with a four more. The menu ones ($8-11) were sort of one each of common varietals: a cab, a pinot noir, a syrah, chardonnay, pinot gris...a couple of blends, but then some lightly more uncommon (for a restaurant anyway, such a sa carmenere). Board items were all California reds, not sure what the price/glass was but a flight of 2 oz each was $26.

          As I mentioned above, the scotch is the reason to go there: a lot of independent bottled items under $15, and the standard distiller ones were really cheap - highland park 12 yo for $5/oz.

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          CourtJ Mar 7, 2009 09:05 AM

          I've always had good experiences at 4th and Vine. I love their duck salad.

          1. s
            stepper Aug 30, 2010 12:19 AM

            Dan, I think your review off 4th & Vine is a little narrow. I have worked there for three years and I intimately know the place and the menus. Never have we ever used pre-cut lettuce let alone pre-cut anything. Are you judging my chefs because they chop too well? We have never had chicken and beef and pork entrees that have come with the same side. As far as your claim of us "freezing our dessert and thawing it in the microwave," well that's just ridiculous as we have never had a microwave in our kitchen. I think judging a restaurant on the shape of its wine glasses is just crazy. Show me a wine bar in Edmonton that has different shaped glasses for every varietal. I know one doesn't exist. By the way, we have a glass for our reds and a glass for our whites which by industry standards is perfectly normal.
            I think you should try us out again. You've given us a bad rep, and the people of Edmonton deserve a more realistic review.
            P.S. We have never had ham in our paella.

            1 Reply
            1. re: stepper
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              Dan G Aug 30, 2010 07:47 AM

              So you're saying I'm lying? I ate there, and reported back on what I ate. Whether or not the lettuce was bagged I don't know for sure. But you can't tell someone who ham in paella or every entree coming with same side that it didn't happen.

              And all the wines were served in the same glass. Maybe there are other glasses available, but we didn't get them. And yes, I do judge a place that calls itself a wine bar on how it presents that wine. Call yourself a restaurant, I will give you a bit of leeway, but if you say you are a wine bar, you do it right (and I agree there are probably none in Edmonton that do it properly, but that is because Edmonton has no good wine bars...).

              Why would I go back? One horrible experience, in terms of food and service, is enough.

            2. MsHayworth Aug 30, 2010 04:05 PM

              My fiance used to live across from 4th and Vine so it became a default stop for after-theatre drinks or a glass of wine at the end of a long day.

              We were almost always dissapointed with our experience there. I think mostly b/c it is called a wine bar but, in actuality, it is just a restaurant. At a wine bar, I expect a thorough wine list, cretive wine flights and a few challenging wine choice options. But 4th and Vine is just a restaurant, and as a restaurant it's, imho, a lovely spot.

              The wine list is traditional and pedestrian. The glasses are indeed all the same, which is dissapointing at a "wine bar." The flights rarely (if ever) changed and were dull, obvious choices.

              I have never had an issue with the food--I find their mussels the best in Edmonton and our desserts were always fine. Also, the service we had is always very attentive and friendly, without being obstrusive. The service (and location) are what kept us coming back. But, as Dan said, it should in no way be called a wine bar.

              However, now that my fiance has moved in with me we will no longer be going to 4th and Vine unless we happen to be in the area. If you are into wine at all, it is very dissapointing. I do hope they ilsten to the criticism on this board and expand their wine list and update their wine flights. Edmonton has so few nice spaces like 4th and Vine and I'd love to be able to make it a regular spot.

              For now, we will enjoy our wine at Moriarty's, Passo Tempo, and Jeffrey's. Any other recs appreciated.

              Also, @Stepper, Passo Tempo (Bibo now), The Bothy, and a handfull of restaurants in Edmonton do have the right stems for wine. For me, it's not a huge issue, but I do think if one is using the title "wine bar," they should pay attention to details like that.

              5 Replies
              1. re: MsHayworth
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                cleopatra999 Aug 31, 2010 09:28 AM

                I am surprised to hear you mention Jeffery's. We used to live there and were so disappointed in their wine selection. Perhaps it has changed since then? I was appalled that they call themselves a wine bar as well.

                1. re: cleopatra999
                  MsHayworth Aug 31, 2010 10:49 AM

                  @ Cleo: Yes, we went once a long time ago and didn't like it at all. We recently returned to see a friend sing. The wine selection was considerably better. Still, not what I think of when I hear "wine bar," but decent if you happen to be in the area and need a glass. Don't go out of your way though.

                  1. re: cleopatra999
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                    Dan G Aug 31, 2010 10:53 AM

                    Calling a small restaurant a wine bar seems to be a trendy thing now, but most have no idea what they are doing. A few years ago I went into one in downtown Calgary for lunch. It was extremely hot outsideand there wasn't much air conditioning. All the reds were sitting on the counter open. I ordered my food and a glass of zinfandel, and when they brought it I asked if they could put it in the cooler and bring it back with my food. They actually said no because red wine is supposed to be served at room temperature. No accounting for different varietals, no accounting for different rooms...

                    1. re: Dan G
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                      Bob Mac Aug 31, 2010 11:33 AM

                      >They actually said no because red wine is supposed to be served at room temperature

                      LOL...that is a classic Dan G....ya gotta love the "service" or is "lack of service" industry...so much for the customer always being right, even if he is wrong.

                      On the other hand I remember having dinner on a hot and humid Quebec City evening where the server suggested that she bring an ice bucket for the red I had ordered as everything was so warm and muggy to cool it down as an Italian friend of mine says so that it isn't so "soupy"

                      1. re: Bob Mac
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                        cleopatra999 Aug 31, 2010 12:35 PM

                        I have had this reaction at a few places when I ask for an ice bucket for my red wine. At least we all know we are right...LOL!

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