First Look: Vino Vino

A wine dinner offers a fresh look at the revamped Hyde Park classic

Dimly lit and sumptuously lined on one side with a wall full of wine, for over a decade Vino Vino has been serving good food and great wine to the neighborhood. A specialty dinner with wine pairings offered a glimpse of the updated restaurant.*

Photo courtesy of Vino Vino

Although small, the tweaked menu is smart with its small plates focusing on quality ingredients that give you just enough of a mouthful to really brighten up a glass of wine selected from the revamped and extensive wine list. Naturally, hazarding a guess as to the perfect pairing runs the risk of a false choice, but thankfully, you don’t have to select alone. The knowledgeable staff seems well versed in offering recommendations to suit your choice.

From the snacks section, almost anything you pick will pair beautifully with a mellow and buttery Chardonnay. Naturally, there are plenty of other whites to choose from, but the bitter chicory salad with lacy fennel, or the delicate mixed greens dressed in a pickled vinaigrette, offer a pleasant acidic foil to a warm-bodied wine.

After the bright flavors of your starter, staff will expertly nudge you in the direction of a Syrah or Bordeaux blend to accompany a small plate of roasted poussin or mussels. The mussels are fragrant with herbs, and chaperoned by a few thick slices of toast to make sure that none of the aromatic juice is wasted. If you’re in the mood to use a knife and fork, the poussin is succulent (if not petite) and will give you a few satisfying bites to complement whichever glass of wine you happen to be sipping on.

For those who need something a little heavier to satisfy themselves, your best bet would be the steak. Served with potatoes and roasted mushrooms, this woody dish goes wonderfully with a deep purple glass of vino.

The menu is rounded off with a few other carnivorous dishes, like a burger made with meat from the industry favorite 44 Farms. Escargot with a white wine chili flake sauce makes an appearance, as well as a harmonious assortment of seafood in a delicate saffron broth.

For those with a sweet tooth, the menu offers two choices of dessert: butterscotch pot de crème and chocolate porter cake, which admittedly, have the appeal that all comforting classics do. However, our table was privy to some more inventive sweets like sweet potato mousse with a curry leaf meringue. The dark chocolate tart with hazelnut miso caramel wonderfully suited the earthy Washington Dead Horse Cabernet Sauvignon* that was lingering in the bottom of our glasses.

The kitchen’s passion for invention shines through brilliantly and points to a future as the continued watering hole for this old neighborhood dive.*

*The Chronicle previously reported that Adam Brick was the executive chef at Vino Vino. In fact, Brick left the restaurant in December. Also, to clarify: This post reflects the writer's experience at a specialty dinner hosted by Washington State Wines, and some items are not currently available at Vino Vino. The post has been updated to reflect the corrections. We regret the error.

Vino Vino
4119 Guadalupe, 512/465-9282
Daily, 5pm-12mid

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