Monday, January 9, 2012

The Wine Vault

The Wine Vault is one of those awesomely secret places that one must be “in the know” to patronize. Well, consider yourselves in the know! Located in Little Italy/Mission Hills behind Shakespeare’s Pub, the Wine Vault is nicely tucked away from view. It is an elegant little spot, with a dining room illuminated only by candlelight, perfect for a date.

The menu changes nightly, with offerings printed on a sheet, with three features from a fixed price menu. The menu includes an appetizer, main course, and dessert, and is vegetarian and pescatarian friendly. At $20, this is a steal, particularly considering the quality of food offered. Inventive, fresh, and local, the food is exquisite. Pair this with one of their wine flight offerings ($15 for three tastes), and the night might just be perfect.

Consider this: a Thursday night, and we ordered for appetizers a bacon ravioli and beet salad with hazelnuts. The bacon ravioli was the star, with a beautiful cream sauce and wonderful salty flavor, but the crunchy hazelnuts was wonderful with the beets.

Our main courses were a thyme roasted wild salmon with risotto and shiitake mushrooms, and a braised wagyu brisket with mashed cauliflower. The fish was perfect, with a crisp outside and soft inside, and the risotto was incredibly creamy and flavorful. The brisket was so tender and flavorful! Braised for 14 hours, it was some of the best brisket ever!

And on to dessert! Our choices were a chocolate mousse with graham cracker ice cream and toasted marshmallow – something of a deconstructed s’more. Incredibly delicious, and the graham cracker ice cream was one of the most different things that I’ve ever had. And OF COURSE I loved the marshmallow. Our other choice was the brown butter panna cotta, which was sort of disappointing. The panna cotta itself was far too firm; it was more like flan than panna cotta. The caramel sauce and dulce de leche sauces served with it were also far too salty, particularly for a dessert. I realize that the addition of salt can do wonders for sweet desserts, but this was overkill.

Another problem that patrons might have is the portion size. Although there were three gourmet courses, and for $20, it was still a great deal, the portion size was tiny. It is quite conceivable that you could leave this restaurant wanting a slice of pizza, so keep this in mind when making reservations. Despite this, it is still quite a nice place, and the price is embarrassingly low. Definitely a great date place.

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January 09, 2012 / by / 0 Comments

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