bite-size

A Li'l SUMPIN' SUMPIN' for All

Avondale newcomer offers small plates and big value

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Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar, the newest spot in Avondale, will upgrade Ladies Night and make an intimate dining experience for two even better. It’s also a spacious, fun spot with a great wine selection and elegant food.

This is a wine bar, after all—in fact, the restaurant, inspired by Spanish, Italian and French cuisine, gets its name from a small oak barrel used in wine-making—so start with some sparkling, white or red vino. After sampling a bit, I ordered Opera Cava ($9). As it seemed like the bartender knew what he was talking about, we took his advice and also ordered the Gold Rush cocktail ($12), a ginger concoction in a tall glass topped with full slices of candied ginger.

Most of the food items are labeled as small plates, but my healthy appetite had no problem with the portions. Any good Spanish- and Italian-inspired menu starts with an excellent selection of cheese and meats for the charcuterie (2/$14, 3/$18, 4/$22). There’s a wide selection of meats including chorizo, salami and prosciutto, and an array of hard and creamy cheeses. We chose prosciutto and Midnight Moon, a hard goat cheese.

In the past year or so, I’ve been introduced to good oysters. And now I’m officially in love with them. The Oven-Roasted Oysters ($6/12) on the half-shell were roasted to perfection with wine, garlic, shallots and a little pecorino Romano. (If you’re eating them raw, it really does matter where they come from. Apalachicola has spoiled me!)

Most everyone I know is a sucker for good braised short ribs, so I had to try Barrique’s version ($15). Let me tell you, the “small plate” is a misnomer; these are regular-sized items. I’d be more than happy with this for an entrée. The tender, braised meat is atop a small mountain of creamy, chunky-style mashed potatoes with a generous amount of extra wine sauce for that next-level flavor boost. It arrives in a little crock, on-point presentation imho.

After meat and potatoes, we wanted something a little fun. The Duck Confit Tacos ($12) with crisp sweet-and-sour slaw is the most fun a non-traditional taco can have! The five mini-tacos in crunchy wonton shells are about two bites apiece. The slaw had a pop of mint that lingered—quite pleasant. The orange slice garnish added extra zing—I love giving purpose to a garnish.

I do have to raise one flag over the Cioppino, a seafood soup. I hate to see a bad tomato sauce broth and this one was tinny and bland. It also had an overwhelmingly fishy taste that was an outlier among the rest of the delightfully fresh and tasty food. Our server kindly and professionally removed it from the bill. With so many choices, it’s easy to find something else.

The friendly, professional staff made for an even more pleasant dining experience. And the menu has just enough variety so there’s something for everyone.
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If you have a dining venue recommendation, email Brentley at biteclub@folioweekly.com.

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