Restaurant Review – Wine Vault & Bistro
With a friend visiting from out of town, I wanted to savor a simple, tasty and enjoyable dinner for the four of us. We all met in Little Italy at the Princess Pub. Great place to enjoy an afternoon beer, by the way. When my friend Shawn told me that our dinner reservation was at 6:30pm, I felt like we were trying to catch the sunset dinner special or some senior discount. In fact, we had reservations further up the road at The Wine Vault & Bistro. Here you are served a set menu of five courses, paired with five wines and everyone in the restaurant is enjoying the same meal. Me likey. When you are hosting an out-of-town guest, it’s nice just to sit down and have everything decided for you. Perfect for catching up with a friend I haven’t seen in nearly a decade!
The atmosphere of the Wine Vault & Bistro is a homey setting, literally within a house on the hillside of India Street at Washington. The soft lighting and white interior make for a warm glow, but bright enough you can see what you are eating. And boy did we eat. The five course portions are perfectly sized, and yet really fill you up.
A well rounded menu, we were served spring vegetables, a deliciously petite and well seasoned fish ‘n’ chips, a crispy chicken roulade with a tasty curry cous cous, lamb osso buco and pistachio cake. The lamb was the least creative and therefor my least favorite dish. The 3-bites of the fish ‘n’ chips were simply perfection.
Each course was paired with a wine, which you can purchase from the Wine Vault Bistro. In order, we were served a 2009 Mauritson Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 Cass Viogner, 2005 Garmendia Tempranillo, 2006 Tobin James “Blue Moon” Syrah and finally a 1999 Domaine Fontanel Rivesaltes Ambre. I’m not a big fan of dessert wines, and so the Domaine Fontanel got only one taste from me. The Cass Viognier is an absolutely perfect summer wine, very bright fruity tones and nearly sparkling. I loved this one. On the reds, I rather enjoyed the bold tones of the Tobin James. It was a perfect selection for the lamb.
With wine flowing and well-timed dishes landing before me, I could easily relax and enjoy my friends, which is exactly what we wanted for the evening. Our meal lasted well over four hours and with great satisfaction. The set menu and wine flight were $50 per person, a very reasonable price for the meal.
While I loved my visit at the Wine Vault & Bistro, it is not the style of restaurant which becomes a weekly habit. It’s great for a date, a gathering of friends or for wine enthusiasts and foodies who want to test the skills of a capable chef and see what creations he’s come up with for the evening. The calendar of events on the website is wonderfully full of winemaker dinners and tasting events. Every Saturday is the Chef’s menu, as we enjoyed. I’ve signed up for the newsletter and to learn about singles events. I can see a potential business opportunity here as the Wine Vault & Bistro is nowhere to be found on Twitter or Facebook.
On a side note, I’d make sure you have a designated driver. With a 3oz. pour per tasting, and all that delicious food, best to have someone with a clear head drive you home.
Likes: Great wines paired with a tasty menu with lots of variety. Tasting notes provided for each wine, as well as the set menu. Generous pour.
Dislikes: Location is tough on parking. A visit to their website crashed my computer.
Wine Vault & Bistro is located at:
3731-A India St.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 295-3939