One of my new favorite things to do is have a nice long dinner over a bottle (or 2… or 3) of wine and a beautiful cheese plate. Maybe I’m a bit late to this scene, not sure, but I know most days of the week this is an ideal dinner situation dinner for me. I am still learning about wines about wine and think I can finally tell the differences between some varietals, but I have a long way to go. As far as cheese, I am still not warmed up to Bleu – I try and try but just haven’t developed the palette for it…. I’m not sure I ever will.
I have been around several of Houston’s Wine bars and sampled several cheese plates (among other small plate items) and here are some of my thoughts:
Sonoma – this was very highly recommended, yet not my favorite. Located in Upper Kirby, Sonoma seems to have a lot of wine tasting events – which is great for a newcomer to the wine scene or for someone who enjoys variety. After sharing a bottle of Oregon Pinot – I opted for a Red Flight of wine which was very interesting and informative. The cheese plate; however, left something to be desired, I only enjoyed 1 of the 4 cheeses (Drunken Goat) Ordered a couple small plates here too – smoked salmon (good) mac and cheese (eh). Overall, the ambiance isn’t the best, but the prices seemed okay to me.
So Vino – Came here looking for a late night meal just after the kitchen closed – after the bartender noticed I was visibly upset about the lack of food, he whipped up a cheese plate that was delicious! I was so impressed I vowed to return during regular kitchen hours and did so about a week later (consequently the same evening an event was taking place, but nonetheless…) and enjoyed a beautiful meal and New Zealand Pinot Noir which was offered at a wonderful price. I heart SoVino.
Max’s Wine Dive (revisited) – Not your typical wine bar – (hello Fried Egg Sandwich!) but on my second trip, I was still impressed. I tried to recreate the Fried egg sandwich at home before I even tried it here and my version didn’t touch Max’s. Great wine prices, cool take on food items, and always – always crowded. If I can go on a less crowded night, I’ll be there.
Block 7 Wine Company (revisited) – Been here a handful of times now and I can’t say I’ve been disappointed. I’ve noticed the markup is a little higher than at other wine bars that offer “market price” but I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed with any wine I’ve tried. I particularly like the old warehouse feel /open or closed garage door aspects of Block 7 and this cheese plate is one of my favorites so far. Last time, I had the grilled cheese which was still a bit greasy for my taste and the Block 7 Krack (not impressed at all). I think I’ll stick to the wine and cheese.
Poscol – I was very excited to go to Poscol because not only do I love cheese, I love charcuterie. Rumor had it Poscol not only offers some great charcuterie, but also a lot of the meats are cured in house. Very cool. Our waiter was extremely well informed and eager to give suggestions, which I love! It always excites me to see the staff so excited about what they are serving. We had 5 meats and 3 cheeses (hard to choose favorite as they were all AMAZING – just take the waitstaff recommendations), the salted cod dip (very interesting but yummy) and risotto (I hear it was good). I read a review saying you could smell fumes from the dry cleaner next door. For me, not so much – but that might be because I sat probably the furthest away you could get from it. As for wines – I rely on other to make the pick but my companion was not so informed on Italian wines so our waiter stepped in and suggested some decent choices…not my favorite ever but still good- and nice prices. I will def be back.
**I’ve also tried Catalan and Ibiza, but I categorize those as more a restaurant than a wine bar. For the record, our server at Mark’s did obsess a little over the wine selection at Ibiza.
Any suggestions for wine bars to try?