Monday, March 19, 2007

Early returns on Aqua wine bar: 'Barely ... legitimate', 'clueless' help, 'might disappoint serious wine connoisseurs'

Alder Yarrow is a respected local wine blogger and thus particularly well-equipped to review the new wine bar from Aqua Development, Rouge et Blanc.

Which is precisely what he did a few days ago. Some key tasting notes:
  • "the list ... now includes about fifteen wines from all over the world, some that are unfortunately still pedestrian"
  • "disappointingly, the bar does not offer half-pours, however the staff tell me that it is their policy to offer a free taste pour of every wine on the list to anyone who asks, which allows Rouge et Blanc to barely hang onto its status as a legitimate wine bar according to my criteria."
  • "a modest list of wines available by the bottle ... will satisfy most ordinary interests at several price ranges, but ... might disappoint serious wine connoisseurs looking for special or off-the-beaten-track wines"
  • "I hope they'll eventually get rid of the few glaringly mass-market wines"
  • "both of the folks I spoke with were pretty much clueless about the wines on the list. One even told me he had been asked the same question about what varietals were in the white blend I was drinking several times over the past couple of months, but apparently that hadn't provided enough impetus for him to actually find out the answer, and all I was left with was a shrug."
By the way, this review earns Rouge et Blanc 2.5 stars on Yarrow's scale, which is insane. Until you consider that half of the scale is given over to fire code compliance -- operative doors, working extinguishers, that kind of thing -- and most of the rest is based on how many kinds of credit cards they accept. Who knew?!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Early returns on District: Horrible service, bad design, painful acoustics, rude overcharging, mixed food. But otherwise, uh, 'very good.'

Fatemeh at Gastronomie realizes District has only been open two weeks, and realizes that it's more of a bar than a restaurant. Nevertheless, she is pissed off.

I'm not sure what the trouble is.

Sure, her eardrums nearly exploded from the "acoustic nightmare."

Yes, the cramped design left her "bumped" every two minutes or so (paging Michael Bauer ...).

Oh, and maybe the bartender forgot her three-item order. Twice.

Granted, her Carpaccio was "swimming" in what appeared to be bottled Caesar-salad dressing.

But is this really such a big deal?

After all, to make up for all its mistakes, the bar-staurant generously berated her date for underpaying for a bottle wine, before grumpily admitting the humiliating incident had been their fault due to a misreading of the menu.

Such sweethearts!

Fatemeh worries:
Is it fair to judge a restaurant a mere two weeks after opening and post a negative review on a public blog? Probably not.
Actually, given that we're all adults and understand that the place may well improve in time, and given that it's open for business and accepting money, it's totally fair.

And given Fatemeh's review, it's totally awesome.

(I haven't found any other early reviews, except for a few written before District's opening. Including this one from the 7x7 blog that recommends District because it is owned by "these tall good-looking guys who could have stepped straight out of the cast of Melrose Place." Great. That really speaks to me!)

Full review:

Gastronomie: District Wine Bar. Just Another Pretty Face?

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