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ReviewCAVWineBarKitchen

Page history last edited by Mark P 15 years, 7 months ago

CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen Review

 

CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen served us okay or decent food. The experience was dramatically improved by the wine and cheese and the exceedingly knowledgeable waiter who helped us in selecting these, guided by our general preferences.

We each started with chilled butternut squash soup shots. Nicely scented, three of the four of us liked it, but people would've preferred it warm.

 

Next came an endive and apple salad. It was fine, not that exciting, and felt a bit thrown together. Oj appreciated the unusual presentation of the endive: cut into matchsticks. The cheese in the salad was pretty good.

 

The sweet potato fries we ordered came placed vertically in a tall glass. These were very spicy from cayenne pepper so as to be over the limit of some's tolerance. The accompany aioli did much to cool them down. Nevertheless, the fries were somehow boring; we'd have preferred real fries. Incidentally, we were surprised the portion was so small.

 

Seared squab breast on scrapple was the third item we had from the small bites portion of the menu. We were surprised when it arrived--it didn't look like squab at all. The slice appeared to be closer to red meat than white. It wasn't bad; most of us thought it was the best of the three small bites plates we ordered. (That, however, doesn't say much.) The scrapple (a mix of cornmeal and flour cooked in bacon fat) didn't appeal to people at all: much of it was a bit crunchy and tasted burnt.

 

Braised veal cheeks were one main course. Served with chard, "oven dried tomatoes," and baby turnips (or perhaps they were pearl onions; it hard to tell given the sauce), the cheeks were very soft and fatty, yet not unappealingly so. We generally appreciated the dish, identifying that it was a good quality cut of meat and prepared reasonably well.

 

We also got the house made charcuterie platter. This included a huge number of items: salami, fried pig trotter, duck liver mousse, chicken pate (or something like that), sliced tongue, prosciutto, pickled vegetables, mustards, apricot jam, apricot chunks, sunflower seeds, and more. We didn't have much praise for the platter as a whole. We liked the salami and prosciutto, but then we tend to like good quality salami and prosciutto. The duck lick mousse was very rich, I say without commendation or condemnation. I liked the fried disks of pig trotter but perhaps only because, being fried, they were different from anything else on the platter. Judging by the order of consumption, the chicken thing was the least liked item.

 

Next we advanced to the cheese platter, selecting, with the waiter's help, three cheeses. This platter was the best part of the meal. Each cheese was served with some items that complemented the cheese well. These ranged from pomegranate seeds and sunflower seeds, to figs and apricots, to walnuts and pistachios.

  • "Fior di Langa, Alta Langa, Italy: Mix milk sheep and cow, soft, bloomy rind." Our favorite.
  • "Ossau-Iraty, Pyrénées, France: Raw sheep's milk, semi-hard texture." We initially thought this cheese was a bit boring. Then we discovered how well it worked when eaten with apricots and sunflower seeds, the items placed next to it on the platter.
  • "Three Sisters, Serena, Lindsay, California: Raw cow's milk, semi-hard texture." Sharp and piercing, it had some similarity to Parmesan Reggiano. Although I liked it, it was generally too strong, too much of an aged cheese, for others to enjoy in quantity.

 

For dessert we had a coffee pot de creme with beignets. The pot de creme was much like pudding, causing some people to complain it was too creamy, and was very coffee-y. It was topped with good quality cream. The beignets, covered with cinnamon, were good. Like good doughnuts, they remained slightly moist in the center. One person complained they were too doughy.

  

Over the course of dinner, we drank an assortment of wine that the waiter helped us pick according to our tastes.

  • "Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Clos des Briords, Domaine de la Pepiere, Loire Valley, France 2006. Melon de Bourgogne: This is what Muscadet should be...squeaky clean with green apple, lime and chervil." I had it. It was definitely a good recommendation.
  • "Crianza, Bodegas Arzuaga, Ribera del Duero, Castilla y Léon, Spain 2004 Tempranilllo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot: Spicy with cinnamon, cola, tobacco aromas and cherry, plum vanilla tinged fruit on the palate." Oj had it.
  • "Givry, Clos du Cras Long 1er Cru, Danjean.Berthoux, Burgundy, France 2005: Pinot Noir. Raspberry, cherry fruit with a hint of licorice and a touch of smoke." Ow had it.
  • "Syrah, Bradgate, Stellenbosch, South Africa 2004: Syrah. Light-bodied with smoky, cherry, blueberry fruit." I had it. It was light but somehow still spicy and assertive. Decent.
  • "St. Laurent, Gernot Heinrich, Burgenland, Austria 2004: St. Laurent. Earthy with coffee grinds, plums, black cherries, blood orange and tea." Both Oj and Ow had it.

 

Some people also ordered coffee. The coffee was both bad and not hot enough. It reminded Ow of some bad coffee he had in Napa.

 

Cav's a long, zigzag restaurant designed in a modern fashion with chill music, metal tables, and long flexible tube lights (EL wire?) hanging above the bar. Although Cav has a bright sign on Market, the entrance is easy to miss.

 

Our waiter was of great assistance in picking wine and cheeses. Otherwise, however, he was a bit odd, sometimes treating us so deferentially that we thought he should be wearing a tuxedo. For example, he answered every request with "of course." On the other hand, he wasn't dressed anywhere near that respectably, and, at times, it felt as if he should be calling us dudes.

 

The total was $35/person including tax and tip but not including drinks. Most of us paid substantially more because we ordered drinks. In reality, it should've been even more for us, but it appears the waiter didn't charge us for coffee and charged some of the full glasses of wine as half-price tastes.

 

Original Announcement

 

This evening, for our last outing for the year, we'll converge at CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen.

http://www.cavwinebar.com/

 

Comments from Other Attendees

 


Note, this outing was on a Monday, which is unusual for us. Monday's are often a chef's night off. Perhaps that means one should take this review under advisement; it may not be directly compared to all the restaurants we've visited on Wednesdays.

-mark


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