It may look like a beige nightmare, but it actually tastes great
It may look like a beige nightmare, but it actually tastes great

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I’m liking the Bar at Park Avenue Fine Wines right now. Apart from the wine list, there are two main attractions.

1. 'Guess the flight’ (on Tuesdays). Three mystery wines are poured—your job is to name the grape and region. The flight is $15 unless you get all three right, and then it’s a dollar. It’s not easy, but fun if you’ve got a bit of wine knowledge and want to goof around.

2. The food. It’s seriously good. The chef is doing things that would raise all kinds of fuss if this was an actual restaurant. The Salad of All Things Winter ($13) had wonderfully balanced flavors with pears, pickled squash, granola, and quince vinaigrette, though the best part was the texture, which seemed to evolve with each mouthful.

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The 100 Layer Pasta ($18) was a kind of deconstructed lasagne, consisting of thinly sliced noodles with a chanterelle duxelles, all resting in a cheese sauce. I haven’t had a dish I was so excited about in a long time. They also got me liking tempura ($11), which is a first. Winter vegetables in rice batter are served with a (cold) bagna càuda sauce. It’s playful and it works. I have the sense the chef is enjoying himself.

Full menu available Tues-Fri, parkavenuewines.com, 626 SW Park