Since opening in 1980 as a German deli, European Street Cafe has steadily increased the scope of its menu to accommodate an eclectic mix of French, American, and Mediterranean influences. In addition to a beer selection that features 20 drafts and 150 bottles from foreign and domestic producers, the bistro-style eatery?s four locations ply patrons with hot and cold sandwiches. Bavarian bratwursts and spicy kielbasas appear alongside corned-beef sandwiches and pitas with homemade tabbouleh. Taking care to offer vegetarian and gluten-free alternatives, chefs pile sandwich ingredients upon the diner's choice of bread, including pumpernickel, sourdough, and ciabatta. Beyond the ever-expanding menu, certain locations also lure in passersby with trivia nights that test visitors' knowledge of food-fight physics.
There are two approaches to ordering at miniBAR. You could poll your tablemates for a consensus on passable edibles, allowing everyone to try a bit everything, or just order one of everything, allowing everyone to truly try everything. The menu consists of small servings of sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, salads, sweets, and more. There are mini sandwiches, such as the roasted tomato, olive spread, feta, and spinach ($4), and sliders such as the beef, bleu cheese, and arugula ($5). Choose from a variety of inherently sharable pizzas such as the hummus, kalamata olive, and red onion ($6), or snack on bite-sized tortellini bites ($4), papas rellenas ($5), or truffle fries with parmesan ($5). Accompany your lightly filling meal with a few stimulating beverages from the bar. Sip on red and white wine by the glass ($6–$8), local and micro-brews by the pint ($5–$12), and sake by the bottle ($36), as well as a variety of other beverages, both alcoholic and non.
The newly opened wine bar offers a rotating selection of wines by the glass, along with wine flights, and cheeses, charcuterie, and desserts. Absorb the warm and inviting atmosphere while enjoying a glass of crisp pinot grigio ($6) or fruity and spicy syrah ($8) paired with a combination of cheese and charcuterie selections—varieties of cow, goat, sheep, or blue cheese, served with triple-berry jam, caramelized nuts, and a baguette ($4/one selection, $11/three selections). Or placate a nagging sweet tooth with the decadent Viktoria Richards' Chocolates such as chocolate coconut ($7). The wine bar's welcoming and experienced staff will help patrons select a pairing that suits each diner's patented taste preferences. Post-wine bar, head to the wine shop to peruse a selection of hard-to-find small production wines, featuring more than 50 varieties playing limbo beneath the $13 mark.
Chef Scott Vogel calls upon fresh, seasonal ingredients to inspire his dynamic dinner menu of European-spun sustenance. Practice your dish-passing skills before Thanksgiving by sharing some tasty tapas with your table, such as lump blue crab cakes, which come paired with spicy aioli and Asian slaw ($12), or pulled-duck quesadillas, which will pull at your stomach's heart strings with a symphony of meat, asiago cheese, and roasted peppers ($10). The bistro specializes in fresh fish dishes; opt for the wild-Norwegian-salmon entree ($16) if you have the appetite of a Viking or if your body's omega-1 and omega-2 fatty acids need a mediator. Diners that prefer a finless feast can savor a citrus-soy- marinated sirloin with chipotle balsamic glaze ($18), and vegetarians can indulge in the creamy wild-mushroom and grilled-vegetable risotto ($17). Complement your meal with something from the bar's ample selection of craft beers, specialty martinis, and wines by the bottle or glass.
It's no wonder Vines gives equal weight to "Grille" and "Wine Bar" in its name. The Restaurant Row anchor is hugely popular for its top-quality meats and fresh-caught seafood; a meal could begin with grilled octopus or oysters Rockefeller before transitioning to a cut of Prime filet. But the wine list is at least as impressive, a catalogue of 600-plus bottles from around the world that's been recognized with a Wine Spectator Best Award of Excellence. After dinner on any given night, guests can linger over a fine cigar or a gentlemanly mouthful of chewing gold as they listen to live jazz music from the likes of Tonya Phillips Staples and Barbara Walker.
Seventh Street Wine Company's shop and lounge puts 2,500 varietals at the fingertips of eager enophiles, thanks to Italian-made machines that dispense pours by the ounce. Guests simply swipe a drink card to gain access to pours from 20 global regions including California, Slovenia, and Uruguay. The shop's events supply more tasting opportunities, and its stock of bottled wines—ranging from reds and whites to dessert and rice—can be enjoyed at home with friends or adrift at sea with a thirsty whale.