What a week. Terzo Vino Bar is now open, and the Broder family have hit a home run (as they are apt to do). More importantly, they’ve opened exactly what the cities has needed, in the perfect location, with a perfect wine program and outstanding food.
I’m not a restaurant critic, but every plate we enjoyed last night was beyond delicious. As somebody who has traveled to Italy more than anywhere else, I can say that this is as close as it gets without leaving Minnesota (Luci Ancora and I Nonni are right up there as well). More importantly, the wine list and menu (along with strong staff knowledge) allow you to enjoy regional focuses in a way not possible at other local Italian restaurants. The seafood salad with a Friulian Sauvignon Blanc brought me back to Venice. The cured meats and cheeses with an outstanding Vino Nobile di Montepulciano took me back to Tuscany.
The wine list is perfection, with regions clearly laid out (along with varietals when appropriate, such as the “Super Tuscans and such” section). Riedel stemware allowed the wines to show at their finest. The temperature of the wines was carefully controlled. And best of all, order any bottle on the list under $100 and you can take half of the bottle for half of the price. We enjoyed half of the Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is $50 a bottle, while the other two glasses available went up on the board.
The right sized list, the right sized space, the right sized plates. It adds up to a whole that fills a void in the local wine scene, one that is partially touched by Toast Wine Bar, partially by Sunfish Cellars Wine Bar, partially by Black Dog Wine Bar, and partially by Kings Wine Bar. The opening of Terzo Vino Bar is going to mark the emergence of a local wine bar scene that will blow your mind in a few years. Guaranteed. A full profile of the Broder family and their restaurants will be coming this summer.
Birdhouse restaurant has closed. I appreciate when anybody tries to push the envelope and shift standard thinking. It’s a shame that “healthy” and “balanced” are often not part of describing a menu but Birdhouse sought to change that. They also worked hard to try to introduce the Twin Cities to wine in a keg, citing the benefits it brings (lack of glass to recycle, ease of service, etc). I was intimately involved in the Blue Plate Restaurant Company’s introduction of keg wine in the Twin Cities in late 2010, when they opened Scusi, so I know some of the hurdles involved (there are many … maintaining the tap lines which is normally done by a beer supplier, retrofitting equipment, temperature control especially for the first few glasses served every day, lack of selection from local wholesalers, and more). Sadly, the small cost benefit of kegs (and it’s a very slim benefit in the end) doesn’t yet trump the work involved in acquiring and transporting the kegs across the country. Progress is being made on the keg wine front, and I firmly believe it will be common in Minnesota in 5-8 years, but not yet. Bigtime kudos to Stewart and Heidi for giving it a go and being ahead of the curve. Sad to see BH close.
Over at The Wine Company’s website I posted Wil Bailey’s rose’ pick of the year part three, along with some great recipes from local food bloggers @freshtartsteph, @foodstoned, and @amanda_paa. Rose’ is such a wonderful option to turn to when it comes to difficult to pair foods, and I explain why in the article. Have you not yet “Liked” The Wine Company on Facebook? Time to change that: facebook.com/WineCoMN.
And finally Bill Ward wrote a great piece on wine and friends, recapping our recent over the top Syrah night at Mission. Many thanks to Bill, Joe, Mike, Mark, and the whole table for loads of laughter and sharing incredible wines. (photo from decant-this.com)