Its time to review one the local restaurants in Cleveland Ohio. Up for the review is the Wine Bar in Rocky River. Myself and a few foodie friends set out to see how this eatery would fair, would it make for a great place to go visit and dine for the evening if you are visiting the west side of Cleveland, or is it a place you should not even bother with? Let’s see what we thought.
Finally after finding the place and walking in the outside showed a unique festive atmosphere. It does look like a nice place that you would like to go inside. In fact it looks larger on the inside, however once inside it was a big of a place like it looks like. Do not let that deter you in coming in. The place was very clean and was very inviting decor wise.
One complaint that have, I had a party of 8 for this review. I did call about making reservations. A man I talked to said to me on the phone “Please play mother and tell your party to be there as close to possible to 7, we get busier 730-8pm” This was in response when I told him I was bring a party of 8 there, when he asked the time I said 7 but most the times they all show up closer to 730. Did they wait till everyone was there before they seat us. Never did he take my name, he said to me as soon as at least 5 of my party was there they seat us. I told him that would be fine, he said good, see you tonight and he hung up. I thought since he never took my name, they really didn’t take reservations. My party when the first few showed up, found out quickly, him not taking my name did cause a small issue. They had a reservation for a party of 8 but was under the name of “Becky” The hostess, quickly figured out how to seat my party since we were not “Becky” and told the ones that were there early that they had to wait till all 8 came. They explained that we were told once 5 were there they seat us. The hostess she got them seated quickly, so the issue of the communication was handled they said very well. Still it does show there is a small issue with communication there, I did call but the man I talked to either is new or maybe doesn’t handle calling for reservations often.
We were seated in a very nice room with a fireplace. This room is perfect for creating a romantic setting in winter the fireplace and decor made wine crates really brought this establishment to a great level. Our waitress was very nice and friendly. She was knowledgeable of the menu, however many the foodies said the service was slow that night. They were busy, but the slowness some said it did make wonder if they may be short-staffed, which is possible. This being winter, many people I know in the Cleveland area are sick and this could be why the service was slow that night for our table.
Another note worthy observation from the foodies was that although our waitress was nicely dressed, there were a few other staff members that we did feel that wasn’t dressed appropriate for a wine bar. What I mean by that we spotted a few in sweat shirts that was of a rock bands. One looked like he just woke up and threw something on, I thought may be he was a customer, but he was serving food. You expect to see that in a regular beer bar, not in a wine bar. One the other foodies did say the Wine Bar, Rocky River is a relaxed atmosphere, that could be why they allow such a casual dress of the staff.
The wine selection at Wine Bar Rocky River is tremendous. You will not be disappointed, They have some blends of wine you haven’t seen at other wine bars. Also the martinis were very well made. You will not be disappointed by the selection of wine and drinks here.
For the appetizers we had:
Goat Cheese Fondue ~ Warm Herbed Goat Cheese, Seasonal Vegetables and Grilled Baguette
Baked Brie ~ Brie Cheese Wrapped in Puffed Pastry Cherry-Walnut Compote
Wild Mushroom & Pea Arancini ~ Risotto, Peas, Mushrooms, Parmesan Cheese, Marinara, Truffle Oil on the Side
The appetizers were all very well made and had flavors that combined very well. The only commnet I got from the foodies was that there needed more cherry walnut compote on the brie. It was very good.
Next up the entrees and what we had was:
Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple Bisque
Blackened Tuna Tacos ~ Ahi Tuna, Asian Slaw, Wasabi Aioli, Warm Corn Tortillas
Bacon Flat Bread Special with Truffle Oil
“WB” Spinach Salad ~ Heirloom spinach, bacon, brown sugar walnuts, grape tomatoes, red onions, honey Dijon vinaigrette
Fried Green Tomato Focaccia ~ Roasted red pepper mayo, provolone, arugula, house made herb focaccia bread
Crab Cake Sliders ~ Pan Seared Crab Cakes, Arugula, Mustard Aioli, Wheat Bun
Pulled Pork Sliders ~ Braised Pork, Pickled Carrots, Fried Shallots, Apple BBQ Sauce, Potato Buns
The food did taste good, the flavors, like the appetizers went very well with each other. The foodies were pleased with the way the food was present and over all flavorings in each the dishes. However there was some concerns when came to the actual portion size. Many felt for the portions ran small. This is mainly with the sandwiches. The tacos for example, it felt that it really should have 3 tacos not 2. The pork sliders needed more sauce on them, they were a little dry.When it came to the value of the meal for the price, there was a division in the group. Where I saw they were divided was the ones that ordered something off the sandwich menu, and the comments I got was the sliders were smaller than normal sliders, the portions are small, and It needed one more to be worth the price.
Overall, it was a pleasant place to dine. The taste was good, but it the portion size that was holding the Wine Bar Rocky River back from being a stellar place to dine. It is worth going to for a night to relax with friends and try out some the wines they have over the brie. On the scale of 5 stars, The Wine Bar Rocky River got:
What really held them back was the portion sizes, if they increased the sliders sizes or added one more to the plate, they would be a 5 star place to dine in the West Side of Cleveland. The food really does have a great taste and flavor to it.
So since The Wine Bar Rocky River passed the foodie test as a place to dine. What item off the menu inspires a recipe for Seduction in the Kitchen? We all agreed it had to be the Spinach Salad. It is the Honey Dijon dressing that really makes the salad stand out. So I went to work in my kitchen to make the Seduction in the Kitchen’s version of the WB Spinach Salad.
That dressing with the combination of the spinach, walnuts, bacon, and grape tomatoes really does make it stand apart from other spinach salad recipes. I choose not to add the red onion, only because I just did not want to, normally I would, but since this was my dinner, I wasn’t in the mood, but you can add the red onion to this if you want to.
Honey-Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette combined with spinach, bacon and candied walnuts is what makes this salad and will delight your taste buds. A recipe from Seduction in the Kitchen.
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 -4 teaspoons honey or to taste
- 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil plus
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- black pepper
- 1 leaves large bag of fresh spinach washed
- 1 6 oz container of grape tomatoes
- 1 4 oz bag of bacon recipe pieces
- 1/2 bag of Diamond candied walnuts
- In a bowl whisk together garlic, salt, Dijon, honey and balsamic vinegar; add in olive oil in a slow steady stream until emulsified.
- Season with salt and black pepper and chill for 2 hours before using.
- Place the spinach in a bowl and add the bacon, tomatoes, and walnuts.
- Slowly pour the dressing over the salad and give it a really good toss so that the dressing, tomatoes, bacon, and walnuts are distributed through out the spinach leaves.
- Take some out, place on a salad plate and ENJOY!