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Wine Vault Bistro 02/06/10

Ridge Feb 15, 2010 07:18 PM

We are from the Bay Area and I was in town for a work meeting and to visit a good friend. After reading reports here we decided to try the Wine Vault Bistro. All I can say is that if this place were in the Bay Area I would eat here every single weekend. The food was uniformly delicious and the price can’t be beat.

Here is the dinner we had:

Asparagus Salad | Shaved White Asparagus | Wild Greens | Watermelon Radish | Sherry Vinaigrette –simple and amazing

Cauliflower Bisque | Caper + Golden Raisin Emulsion | Roasted Florets | Fried Herbs- very satisfying

Hoisin Glazed Duck Breast | Fresh Peas | Fava Beans | Pea Tendrils- duck breast is ubiquitous at fancy restaurants but usually it’s overly rare bland and/or tough. This was the best duck I remember having in recent memory.

Grilled Flatiron Steak | Roasted Fingerlings | Braised Mustard Greens | Hen of the Woods-excellent

Housemade S'mores- I am very picky about dessert, but this ws chocolaty, rich and deeply satisfying

San Diego is lucky to have such an amazing and affordable restaurant. We just had dinner in a highly reviewed new place in San Francisco which was double the price. The food wasn’t nearly as satisfying. There was a vibrancy in the food at Wine Bistro often lacking in typical Alice Waters/ Thomas Keller inspired restaurants.

If the owners are reading this please open a restaurant in SF or the east bay.

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  1. Beach Chick RE: Ridge Feb 16, 2010 08:10 AM

    Wow..the menu for that night was stellar..cauliflower bisque with a caper golden raisin emulsion..that sounds sublime!
    Thank's Ridge for taking the time to report back!

    1. s
      stevewag23 RE: Ridge Feb 16, 2010 09:15 AM

      Great report.

      1. m
        mmjgam RE: Ridge Feb 16, 2010 09:51 AM

        I love WV!!! Such an amazing place. The owners are so nice.

        1. 4
          4wino RE: Ridge Feb 16, 2010 02:02 PM

          Ha, that's why we try to go there every Saturday. Great food, the wine is extremely well matched to the food by Chris. Mary is a wonderful. And Spencer is fantastic.

          1. m
            MrKrispy RE: Ridge Mar 2, 2010 09:44 AM

            We go to Wine Vault fairly often, and in general have been very happy with our meals.
            Last night we went for the Seghesio Winemaker dinner and probably had the best overall meal in a very long time. Service was very attentive, the menu was fantastic, and the execution was near perfect. Beef Cheeks and pork belly at one meal, I'm in heaven!

            Course 1-Beef Carpaccio | Pecorino | Saba | Micro Watercress | Fennel | Pickled Grapes Arbequina Olive Oil

            Course 2-Cannelloni of Duck Confit | Butter Braised Morels | English Pea Coulis | Shaved Asparagus Salad

            Course 3- Pan-finished Potato Gnocchi | Wild Ramps | Wild Mushrooms | Parsley Root Puree | Parmesan

            Course 4- Herb Roasted Pork Belly | Spring Onion Confit | Potato Puree | Gremolata

            Course 5- Rack of Lamb | Creamy Polenta | Baby Swiss Chard | Caramelized Onion Chutney | Rosemary Jus

            Course 6-Red Wine Braised Beef Cheeks | Cannellini Beans | Pancetta | Marjoram | Tuscan Kale

            Of that, the only miss was the cannellini bean/kale side. They didn't seem to mesh with the cheeks, and the beans weren't cooked quite right. The beef cheeks were succulent. The pork belly was much improved the last time I had it there (much better cut). The rack of lamb was cooked absolutely perfectly, what a great dish with zin. Not exactly a healthy-leaning menu haha

            If you haven't attended a Winemaker Dinner check it out, a lot of fun.

            1. m
              mjill RE: Ridge Mar 2, 2010 09:27 PM

              Wine Vault is AWESOME. I am a recent convert since December and have been eating there pretty much once a week since it's close to my place. Heading in this Friday to keep with the trend in fact. The value is unbelievable and the food is even better. They recently had a Beef Cheek with black truffles at the end of January that made me visit twice that week it was so good. Hard to believe that the Chef is only 26. If you haven't visited, do yourself a favor and go, it's a San Diego gem for sure. Menu changes frequently.

              BTW, that Asparagus Spear Salad also has Burrata in it. Maaaaan I love Burrata. That Duck breast with the Housin sauce has been a favorite the last couple weeks between the wife, guests we drag along and I. Just top notch stuff for what you pay, can't say enough good things about the place.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mjill
                MrKrispy RE: mjill Mar 3, 2010 11:51 AM

                probably the only thing I dislike about it is the communal table thing (just a personal pref), but we have only been seated at them during "events".

                1. re: MrKrispy
                  mjill RE: MrKrispy Mar 3, 2010 03:25 PM

                  It might be only a special event type deal. I've never had to share a table when visiting. One thing that I will admit is a little annoying is that if you order the wine flights they make you get the glasses yourself. Just a small gripe on my part but they do seem to have plenty of wait staff to handle if they time it right to take the order and bring out the wine with the courses. Only thing I would tweak about the place though. Paella this week. Can't wait to see what the Chef puts together.

              2. 4
                4wino RE: Ridge May 1, 2010 07:42 PM

                Tonight's dinner was simply superb. Here's the menu:

                Red Spinach Salad | Goat Cheese Fritter | Pickled Shallots | Shaved White Asparagus | Shaved Radish | Fennel | Sherry Vinaigrette

                Halibut | Dungeness Crab | Coconut | Ramps | Nira | Curry Froth
                Shelton Farms Chicken Breast | Pearl Barley | Hen of the Woods Mushrooms | Bacon | Mascarpone | Thyme Jus
                Red Wine Braised Beef Cheeks | Green Garlic Potato Puree | Cipollini Onions | Black Truffle
                Passionfruit Custard | Candied Ginger + Chocolate Mousse | Coconut Macaroon

                This place is consistently amazing!

                1. Beach Chick RE: Ridge May 2, 2010 10:03 AM

                  Does anyone know if you don't eat red meat but seafood, will they accomodate?
                  I don't see the wine vault serving a 'patty melt' as their entree for me..

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Beach Chick
                    foodiechick RE: Beach Chick May 2, 2010 10:35 AM

                    You don't have to order the multi-course pre-fix menu. There is a "Bistro" menu that you can order from and the portions are quite a bit larger. Still a good value as well. And no, I doubt they have ever served a patty melt. ;D

                    1. re: foodiechick
                      honkman RE: foodiechick May 2, 2010 02:44 PM

                      I am not sure by I think on Saturdays they only have the 5-course tasting menu with no other option.

                      1. re: honkman
                        4wino RE: honkman May 2, 2010 05:53 PM

                        That's correct.

                      2. re: foodiechick
                        Ms. Verde RE: foodiechick Sep 25, 2010 10:57 PM

                        How did I miss this place! We investigated it for Restaurant Week, but ended up opting for their Saturday night 5 course meal for $30. Some of the best, creative food I've had in a long time. Celery root soup, chicken breast with a chicken leg mouseline was the best chick I've eveer had in San Diego! We joined the newsletter and can't wait for the next menu listing!

                        1. re: Ms. Verde
                          4wino RE: Ms. Verde Sep 25, 2010 11:33 PM

                          We were there tonight and the first 2 courses were fantasic. I loved the pear salad and the celery soup. Purchased a couple of the Syrah. Everything was great.

                          1. re: Ms. Verde
                            Josh RE: Ms. Verde Sep 26, 2010 10:41 AM

                            Agreed. This is one of SD's best-kept secrets.

                            Hopefully Guy Fieri will never hear about it.

                            1. re: Josh
                              stevewag23 RE: Josh Sep 26, 2010 11:09 AM

                              Is Guy Fieri that guy with the spiky blond hair and white sunglasses?

                              Anyone knows if he knows Malarkey?

                              1. re: stevewag23
                                Josh RE: stevewag23 Sep 26, 2010 11:20 AM

                                I believe they have the same haberdasher.

                              2. re: Josh
                                phee RE: Josh Sep 26, 2010 11:24 AM

                                Thankfully, it doesn't quite fit the description of a 'diner, drive-in, or dive'.

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