Grapes are among Nature's most versatile fruits—if squished they become wine, if dried they becomes raisins, and if included in a catered lunch, they become tools to playfully pelt your boss. Sample earth's diverse treats with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of small plates and wine at Volo Restaurant Wine Bar in Roscoe Village.
Available by the glass, bottle, or mini carafe, the wines at Volo hold their own next to elegant New American small plates, and both harmonize with the wine bar's rustically chic décor. Three-pronged wine flights ($13–$17) are arranged lightest to heaviest like a sumo tag team and include a parade of Spanish reds—with trumpet-bright blackberry, licorice, and coffee from the ‘08 Proyecto Garnachas Moncayo Savage; notes of espresso and plum swirling through the smooth ‘07 Telmo Rodriguez Al Muvedre; and complex aromas of candied fruit, cocoa, cedar, and toasted spice in the '05 Quatro Pagos Rioja Reserva. Seasonal and shareable, small plates might include mouth-melting Wagu steak tartare ($7) or a crispy flatbread with heritage-breed Berkshire bacon, mushroom, and goat cheese ($12). A prix fixe meal ($23) circumnavigates the small-plate selection with an optional outboard motor of three 2.5-ounce pours ($12) selected by the oenophiles on staff. Volo's winter menu boasts generous offerings of game and fresh-catch oysters, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options, plus desserts and artisan cheeses. The colder months also bring a bevy of red-wine pairings, drawn from an ever-rotating collection masterminded by wine director Shad Martin.
Volo's chef and coowner Stephen Dunne grew up ladle in hand, apprenticing in New Orleans and honing his culinary identity in a number of Wolfgang Puck restaurants. Managed by seasoned restaurateur Jon Young, the boutique-level bistro provides an urbane vintage charm amenable to tasty explorations. With its century-old barn and fountain made from chimney bricks reclaimed from abandoned Chicago buildings, the patio has attracted the attention of both Chicago magazine and TimeOut Chicago, as well as more than a few envious lawn umbrellas.