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Entries in Wine Bar (15)

Sunday
Dec062015

Gretchen Thomas of Barcelona Wine Bar Launches “Gretchen’s Selections”  

Exciting news from Barcelona Wine Bar and Barteca Restaurant Group!  Selections from their award-winning wine list, recognized by publications like Wine Spectator and The Wall Street Journal, are now available online.  Newly unveiled “Gretchen’s Selections” features approximately 25 wines that are directly imported and offered to Barcelona’s guests.  Each wine was hand-selected by Gretchen Thomas, acclaimed Wine and Spirits Director for Barteca Restaurant Group.

“I’m always looking for great wines for the Barcelona wine program, whether they are sold through my trusted suppliers or not,” says Thomas. 

Sometimes she comes across amazing bottles here at home.  Vineyards will ship wines to her or she will be introduced to someone in the area doing something new and exciting.  Other times, her quest takes her overseas.

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Wednesday
Dec022015

Basso Café Restaurant in Norwalk Adds Wine Bar + New Menu

Several years ago CTbites visited Basso Café Restaurant on New Canaan Avenue in Norwalk and was very impressed with many of the dishes created by Owner / Chef Renato Donzelli. Since that time Chef Renato has maintained his vision of creating a wine bar to complement the food, and that is now a reality as Basso Café Restaurant is now Basso Café Restaurant Wine Bar.

The interior has been updated with large, vibrant paintings along one wall, smaller modern pieces along the other wall overseeing the 60 seat dining area. The lighting is soft and inviting and acoustical tiles have been installed to reduce the noise level. After the recent receipt of a full liquor license, guests can now benefit from Chef Renato’s pairing of wines to balance the vibrant flavors of his cuisine and the rear of the restaurant now showcases the bar area with a selection of personally selected spirits, including organic vodkas. 

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Sunday
Jul192015

Lugano Wine Bar & Salumeria Opens in Greenwich

Going out for a meal can be an incredibly rewarding experience.  There is a reason restaurants are a popular spot for a night out and a number of people proudly refer to themselves as “foodies.”  However, it can also be a downright chore.  Do I brave the downtown traffic?  Where do I park my car?  How do I get there?  Will there be a table for me?

Lugano Wine Bar and Salumeria, newly opened in Greenwich, alleviates all of those hassles. The Italian inspired restaurant sits just off of exit 6 from I-95 on East Putnam Avenue in Riverside, far removed from the droves of people downtown.  It has its own lot next to the restaurant for easy parking as well as a valet service.

Indoors, the space is approachable, yet impressive.  When you walk through the front doors, you enter a spacious bar with plenty of seating and room to stand and mingle.  Wine glasses elegantly line the bar’s counter, as if inviting patrons in for a drink.

Just off of the bar to the right is a large dining room with high ceilings and a dome that serves as a skylight.  It is light and open, lined with large windows. Lugano even boasts a private dining room for special functions, or for guests who prefer a quiet dining experience.

The lovely space was the impetus for the restaurant.

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Sunday
Jan042015

Lunch @ The New Harvest Wine Bar in New Haven

The New Haven outpost of Harvest Wine Bar is the fifth restaurant for siblings Kleber, Nube, and Vincente Siguenza, the the trio behind Cava in New Canaan, 55 Degrees in Fairfield, Scena in Darien, and sister restaurant Harvest Wine Bar in Greenwich. CTbites reviewed the Greenwich location almost a year ago, and many of the same culinary observations apply to this newly opened New Haven outpost on Chapel Street. I stopped in recently to experience the restaurant’s $19 two-course prix fixe lunch, perhaps one of the best downtown lunch options among New Haven’s fine dining restaurants.

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Thursday
Dec112014

Napa & Co. Announces 2015 Wine Class Schedule

Napa & Co. announced its 2015 Wine Class / Tasting schedule that will span the world and offer classes for the novice, the experienced wine connoisseur and those looking for a deeper understanding of various regions and blends. Prices range from $50 to $120 per person (plus tax and gratuity) and includes up to six different varieties. All classes start at 630PM.

Monday January 12th - WINE 101 - Start the year with an interesting class for the novice wine drinker and learn how to better describe wines and pair each with food. Enjoy 3 whites and 3 reds. $50pp (plus tax and gratuity)

Monday January 26th - Jordan Library Wine Tasting 2001-06 - Jordan is one of the icons of Alexander Valley producing Old World style Bordeaux blends. We will try a vertical tasting of 6 wines and see how well they age, and how they’ve changed. $120pp (plus tax and gratuity)

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Tuesday
Dec022014

CTbites' Guide to Happy Hours in Stamford CT

The work day comes to a close and all I can think is “Holy hell I need a bottle of wine …maybe two… maybe three… who’s coming with me?” But where do I go? What places offer specials? What vibe am I feeling? I instantly start googling “Happy Hour Downtown Stamford” but nothing pops up and suddenly I am in a panic, yes a panic. We’ve all been there many times…so I have compiled the ultimate list to help fellow happy hour enthusiasts.

Personal favorites for each day are:

  • Monday - Cotto, with half-priced bottles of wine and delicious tapas it’s the perfect way to ease into a hectic week;
  • Tuesday - Lola’s Mexican Restaurant, Taco Tuesday & Margaritas…need I say more?
  • Wednesday - Brickhouse Bar & Grill, known to many regulars as “wing night” it’s a low-key, delicious and fun way to finish hump day;
  • Thursday – Barcelona, delicious tapas and great deals on a variety of wines, the young and vibrant scene is always served up;
  • Friday – Hudson Grille, come for the happy hour and stay for the DJ, just be sure to bring your dancing shoes;

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Sunday
Nov232014

Brick + Wood: New Neapolitan Pizzeria & Wine Bar Opens in Fairfield 

You know how you “just know” when a new restaurant is going to be good? That’s the feeling you get in the first ten minutes at Brick + Wood, a new restaurant and wine bar in Fairfield’s Brick Walk Plaza on the site of the former Ponte Vecchio restaurant. When you make a great find like this, it’s a double-edged sword: You want to share it with friends, but at the same time keep it your secret a little longer. We decided to share. You’re welcome.

On a recent lunch visit, as we perused the distressed-wood and worn-brick decor, an amuse bouche appeared out of nowhere—two crispy crostini topped with fluffy homemade ricotta, sautéed broccoli rabe and imported prosciutto—as if to say, “Let’s get this party started.”

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Sunday
May112014

New Chef @ Barcelona (SONO) : Introducing Chef Wayne Homsi

With a hip and lively environment, the Barcelona restaurants have consistently offered bold cuisine, inspired by the Iberian Peninsula accompanied with some of the best drinks and Sangria in the area. Each location adheres to the basic premise that a visit to Barcelona must combine great fun with great food. To continue in this tradition, Barcelona (SONO) recently introduced its new Executive Chef Wayne Homsi. Fresh from his culinary journey throughout Spain, CTbites stopped by to sample Chef Homsi’s new additions to the Spring menu.

Chef Wayne graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and joined The Waldorf Astoria Hotel where he became the youngest sous chef in its history. He subsequently worked at Picholine and then became the opening sous chef at its sister restaurant Artisanal Fromagerie and Bistro in New York. He next joined Il Barilotto as Executive Chef and Partner in 2002 before joining Barcelona SONO earlier this year.

The menu at Barcelona offers “Meat + Cheese,” “Tapas” plus a few smatterings of “Paella,” “Meat + Fish” and Mixed Grill.” The Tapas contains bar bites and others that are more closely described as small sharing plates.

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Wednesday
Dec042013

Luxe Wine Bar to Re-Open Soon in Westport 

Luxe Winebar (aka Luxe Modern Wine & Cocktails) at 190 Main Street in Westport will soon re-open on under new ownership. Former owner Robert Reilly has passed the torch to new owner, Dave Morton. The two are working together to make improvements to the menu and interior of the bar, while keeping things the way patrons liked it.

“We had a loyal customer base that was disappointed to see LUXE had closed temporarily,” said former owner Robert Reilly. “Dave and I hope they’ll come back and find LUXE better than ever.

Morton is working to make the setting warmer and friendlier, plus adding on menu items to complement the existing cheese and charcuterie. “The cheese and charcuterie have been well received,” Dave Morton says. “I want to give people even more options to choose from. New items will include desserts and chocolates from neighboring businesses, plus other wine-friendly noshes like hummus and pita chips, and olives.”

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Sunday
Apr142013

Vinted Wine Bar and Kitchen in West Hartford

Vinted Wine Bar and Kitchen

Cuisine: American, Tapas, Wine Bar, West Hartford
Price: Small plates range $3.95 - $17.95
Our Highlights: wine, charcuterie, tapas
Hours: Kitchen open Mon – Wed 4-10pm, Thurs: 4-11pm, Fri-Sat: 4-12pm (Bar open late Mon-Sat) Sun: Kitchen & Bar 4-9pm
Online: Official Website | Facebook

 Small plates reach new heights at Vinted Wine Bar and Kitchen, where food is anything but secondary. Add 68 wines by the glass and you’re well on your way to finding that perfect pairing. Sister restaurant to The Federal in Agawam, Vinted burst onto the West Hartford dining scene in late 2012 when owners Ralph Santaniello and Michael Presnal launched their newest venture in Blueback Square. A classy vibe, inventive array of modern American tapas, and encyclopedic wine list leaves little, if anything, to be desired.  

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