vinoteca flatbread

Restaurant Week stop #3 was dinner at Vinoteca, and it was by far the best of the four! This charming wine bar is located off of 11th Ave., just a short walk from the U Street Metro station. It’s got a warm woodsy interior that’s so inviting you’re tempted to stay all night sampling the wines and cheeses on their extensive menu.

Their RW menu was no where to be found online, so we went in there running kind of blind. This was somewhat new for me, since I like to study the menu ahead of time to go over my options. It turned out that there was no need to prepare in advance, since everything we ordered was absolutely fab!

They offered a 5 course dinner, beginning with an amuse bouche, first and second courses, chef’s cheese plate, followed by the final course of dessert. There were about 3 options for first course, ~5 for second and 2 for dessert. You can order the wine pairings for an additional $20, and they’ll give you perfectly matched wines to go with your first, second and dessert courses. A couple people from my group opted for it, but I just stuck with my one drink – a fine sparkling rose.

But before the 5 course tour de force, a few starters were ordered. I got a plate of prosciutto di parma, which was excellent. Pictured above is the grilled flatbread with duck confit, caramelized onions and gorgonzola cheese. I didn’t have any, but I’m assuming it was really good, as it was tackled with so much gusto by the others at my table that I barely had time to shoot this photo before it disappeared! XD

The five courses revealed, under the cut:

vinoteca amuse

The amuse bouche was a spoonful of refreshing citrus! There was mandarin orange, feta cheese, red onions, black olives and a green mystery herb cut chiffonade. There was a dill-like flavor to the green, though it certainly didn’t look like dill. The sweetness of the orange coupled with the salty olive and tartness of the dressing made this quite a lovely combination of flavors.

vinoteca beet salad

beets marinated in sherry vinegar, wilted tops, house made ricotta, and pistachio orange dressing

First course. I got the beet salad, which at first does not sound like a stellar choice. I like beets, but I don’t necessarily love them. But I was influenced by the recent Top Chef Masters episode where Hubert Keller wow’d the judges with his beet salad. I too, wanted to have a taste of that Mastery of beets! The plate arrived in a flurry of color, bright red and yellow beets that were so small they looked like cherry tomatoes. They had a wonderful crunchy texture and a none of that unpleasant flavor you might associate with beet juices. Even my beet-hating friend (who hadn’t touched a beet since middle school?) loved it.

vinoteca gazpacho

charred tomato gazpacho with sesame croutons and tomato salad

Whoa, soup and salad in one! XD This was relatively thick for a gazpacho, but it definitely had a lot of flavor.

I’m sorry to say I didn’t get a photo of my friend’s field greens with orange blossom vinaigrette. But it was a wonderful salad, complemented very well with slices of grapefruit and a flowery dressing that was like none other I’d ever had.

Second courses:

vinoteca cornish game hen

cornish game hen with mixed greens, fingerling potatoes

I try to order the most unique things at restaurants, and cornish game hen isn’t something I see too often when I eat out. Naturally, I had to order it, and it was definitely a good choice for me. Not too heavy, and wonderfully flavorful. I loved the marinade they used, which gave it a great flavor of smokey and spicy.

vinoteca bison

bison ribeye with seared fingerling potatoes, marinated roasted red peppers and dill chimichurri

I was the lone cornish hen eater, as everybody else at my table got this dish, the bison ribeye (and they all order them medium rare, too). I had a bite of it, and it was very tasty indeed…EVEN the dill chimichurri. And I don’t even LIKE dill! Seems like this was a night of revelations, where both my friend and I were pleasantly surprised by how good something we’re normally opposed to can actually taste.

The bison was definitely more substantive than the hen, so I’m not sure I could’ve finished it, myself. (Everyone else cleaned up, though!)

vinoteca cheese

Cheese course was a manchego, a nice nutty flavor that went well with the side of prosciutto that accompanied it.

vinoteca sticky toffee

OMG this sticky toffee pudding was out of control! (*______*) The cake was moist and gorgeous, and went perfectly with the thick toffee sauce. A crowning triumph to this fabulous dinner. Doesn’t look like much in this fuzzy photo, but I think it’s one of the best desserts I’ve had in the city.

vinoteca figs

A generous helping of marinated figs was the other dessert selection. I’m not a huge fan of figs, but I found these pretty good. The came with a yogurt sauce.

Btw, if this dinner were not on a week night, I totally would have ordered their coffee with dessert. French press, full bodied, rich and aromatic. I had a sip of someone else’s, and loved it!

Vinoteca is definitely up there now amongst my restaurant favorites, and I can’t wait to go back! The happy hour menu is a little different from their dinner menu, so I’d like to try that out as well. They also offer a brunch, which I think would be lovely and quaint.

Mmm…best RW experience ever! ♥

Wow! everything looks so sophisticated and yummy!!!

Thanks for your review and your pics!


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