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Jun 17, 2009 11:47 AM

Wine Thief Steals My Heart...

Okay - title post is cheesy, I admit it...but I am still a little giddy over the most recent addition to neighborhood spots in in Mt Airy that we can walk to. Located in the former Bitar's space on Germantown Ave, The Wine Thief officially opened for business last night, and we were there with what seemed like the rest of the neighborhood! The interior layout hasn't really changed much from its previous incarnation, with the exception of the removal of the awkward counter and case, replaced with a carved wood bar with plenty of seating for a smallish space. Warm colors, wood floors and subtle and simple lighting warmed the once purely utilitarian grab and go considerably. Unfortunately the liquor license is "pending" (what is it with that block of Germantown??), but the owner's offered a glass of wine or beer last night with their compliments, and plan to operate as a BYO until the all-important LCB license arrives. The menu is not huge, but varied, and the prices imminently reasonable. Sitting at the bar, we took the advice of our gracious bartender Dennis, and the two of us shared the "Thief Roll", ahi tuna rolled in black and white sesame seeds and a tempura style batter, with wasabi crema on the side - big, flavorful without overwhelming the sweet taste of the ahi, and served with a small side of seaweed salad. The P.E.I. mussels in thai curry made me weep for lack of bread to sop up the amazing broth with just the right touch of heat - only fear of embarassment in front of the neighbors kept me from grabbing a straw off the bar and slurping it directly from the bowl. Finally, the "Thief Salad" blew us both away - mixed greens with slivers of jicama, cashews, craisins and topped with a vanilla-orange vinagrette were so deliciously rich that we could have foresworn dessert...we didn't. The grand finale was a coconut rice pudding with fresh strawberries. Honestly, I was so full I couldn't really do it justice. The full tab for two people, three generous portions (and these were on the 'starter' menu) plus dessert was under $35. Yay new neighborhood place!!

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  1. As a neighbor, I'm glad to hear the good news. Have you been to NXNW yet?

    1 Reply
    1. re: hungry100

      Not since it re-opened - it had really deteriorated from its early days, but I am willing to give it another chance. They used to have a pretty good pulled pork sandwich (southern style) and fried green tomatoes that would call to me with their sweet siren song, but the kitchen went down hill over the past few years.

    2. Great news! Can't wait to try it. Another (seemingly) great place within walking distance!

      1. I went tonight for drinks and was very pleased to hear that the approach will be "affordable wine" at like $6-$7 a glass. In this day and age of the $12 glass how wonderful is that? Will visit for a full meal soon.


        1. Ok so I go last night again (just for drinks) an paid over 30 bucks for three glasses of wine (which were good). The place was sold to me before as an affordable wine bar. These prices are quite typical (a reason I don't drink as much wine out anymore). Besides the fact that their prices aren't posted yet they also didn't include the tax in price; so an extra ten percent is tacked on to the $9/glass price tag.
          I'm not saying that I got ripped off but please don't come off as an affordable alternative when you don't plan to be one. I could have gone to EB+B and at least known what I was getting into. Bottom line though is to always ask the server the price.


          3 Replies
          1. re: Chinon00

            Wow! What were you drinking? We went back on Friday night, and a full carafe of wine was $32, and three of us got 4 glasses each. It was almost too much and I though it an excellent deal. Next time try the half carafe - they seem to be around the $16-18 range and judging by the fact that our carafe was in excess of a bottle of wine, should be more than enough. EB&B is good, but they only do one thing - they do it well, but they are all about the Breads. Try the food - I think you may get over your disappointment! All I can say is I am thrilled we were walking home after our wine experience.

            1. re: doxiemom

              Thanks for the report. The menu looks interesting and worth a try. Do you know if Umbria is still open? Is it any good?

              1. re: Den

                Umbria is still open. I was there on Valentine's Day. Good food, not cheap.

          2. I forgot to ask, do you need reservations or can you just walk in?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Den

              I am not even sure if they are taking reservations, but we've been 3 times and just walked in each time. Twice we ended up sitting at the bar as we didn't want to wait for a table, but that was fine with us. The bartenders are knowledgeable and made great suggestions, so we don't mind eating at the bar and making new friends!

              1. re: doxiemom

                I like Wine Thief, just wish they'd dress their salad's a little more lightly.