Thursday, July 01, 2010

Vino Paradiso (now Coppia), a second--and similar--opinion

417 NW 10th
Happy Hour: 4 - 6 PM

A six dollar happy hour menu can be very promising. It often means that what you are about to be served could easily become dinner for the evening. After ordering two items off of the happy hour menu at Vino Paradiso, I was ready for dinner. Perhaps it’s because I’m such a hungry girl, maybe because I had just spent an hour doing cardio at the gym…but, since we all seemed to reach consensus before paying our bill and leaving the wine bar, I think it’s safe to say that the food options on the happy hour menu are not quite enough.

Four of us ordered the cheese plate. If only we had seen just one of those cheese plates beforehand, we could have avoided the too small order. The cheese was fancy…too fancy, I think, causing the price to be a little too much for such a small quantity of food. There were two small chunks of cheese, two slices of walnut bread, no more than a quarter of an apple sliced paper thin and presented in a fan, and a few pumpkin seeds sprinkled atop an unnamed chutney. The server was kind enough to bring out additional bread when the request was made by someone left hungry by the small plate.

After hearing that everyone else was ordering the cheese plate, I decided to order the margharita flatbread and a salad. Like the cheese plate, the salad was a little too fancy causing a high price for a very small amount of food. The salad was tossed in a light vinaigrette and topped with gooseberries and a few slivers of cheese. The flatbread was probably the most filling item on the happy hour food menu but was a little oily in places causing it to be a bit messy.

During happy hour, specialty cocktails and wines are discounted by two dollars. This can be quite the benefit when ordering a seven dollar glass of wine. If you end up selecting a $15 glass of wine, however, the discount doesn’t seem to make that big of a dent in the bill. I did enjoy my wine quite well but was a bit disappointed to learn that the previous deal (something I enjoyed during my only other visit to Vino Paradiso a couple of years ago) for a bottle of wine at half price was no longer available. The discount is still available on bottles of wine to go but not something that is listed on the happy hour menu.

Despite the high price, the wine bar does have quite a lot to offer. The atmosphere is pretty fantastic. They’ve got art displayed on the walls, a beautiful glass wall with stacks of wine in view, and an attractively presented bar area. Service at Vino Paradiso is also done well. We were welcomed when first entering and attended to regularly. Plus, he did not put up a fuss when we paid the bill with four different forms of payment. (That’s always a good test for service at any restaurant.) I’m not sure how often, or if, I will return specifically for happy hour at this establishment…but, that doesn’t mean I will not return. I enjoyed the experience and appreciate the high quality wine that is available. I'm also curious to see if the three-course meal is something that will last past the anniversary. I love, love, love the idea of multiple-course meals at a predetermined price. So fun. It's fancy...but safe for someone concerned about the price.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Does Not Meet


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