Wines, like a comfortable T-shirt or a hard candy left to ripen under the couch, only get better with age. Taste the passing of time with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Italian small plates and wine at Branica Wine Bar, located in Kirkwood.
Branica Wine Bar totes an expansive selection of international wines and a menu that showcase Italian-style small plates. Grapey purees include the Heavenly Retreat Riesling ($4.50/3 oz., $7.50/6 oz.) and the Capitain Gagnerot pinot noir ($6.50/3 oz., $11.50/6 oz.), which sommeliers-in-spirit can consume from delicate glassware, shared from a bottle, or imbibed from a tentacled sippy cup. Mouth bones can get a workout by gnawing on pizzetta quarto formaggi, a four-cheese pizza with sun-dried tomatoes ($8) or by applying a healthy coat of hummus ($6) to a jaw-sized elliptical machine. Branica's cheeses, such as Holland-imported gouda ($6) or smoked gruyère ($7), dually stimulate sippers' olfactory glands, and uvulas ring joyously when coming in contact with torta formaggio, a homemade cheesecake smothered in raspberry sauce ($6).
Northern- and Southern-Italian cuisines collide on Trattoria Branica’s menu, which has won acclaim from local press for its culinary acuity and fiscal reticence. Italian cheeses, herbs, and homemade sauces accent tender nests of pasta, market-fresh seafood, and succulent cuts of beef, veal, and chicken. Inside, sleek black chairs clip crisp white tablecloths prepped to prop up more than 300 wines from around the globe. A Mediterranean mood slips over patrons on the expansive patio, where umbrellas guard against the sun and waters cascade at a nearby fountain. For private parties, a balcony surrounded by wrought-iron railings elevates the dining experience and provides a better launching pad to catapult leftovers home.