We skimp on the appetizers, order the cheapest entrée, pass over dessert entirely, and the dinner bill is still twice as high as we expect, so what gives? Ahh, yes, dinged by the drink prices again.
Sometimes the only way to beat back the booze sticker shock and guarantee that you'll still have a good time is to bring your own. With that in mind, we've gathered a list of BYOB places in the metro area along with some suggestions of what to bring.
Hana Japanese Eatery is known for making its customers happy, so leave the sashimi and sushi to them and they'll leave the choice of alcohol entirely up to you. To get the best view of all the action, sit at the sushi bar and chef Koji-san will treat you to a complimentary plate of poki chips.
Order from the menu board, it will have the freshest fish and current chef favorites, and bring a tall can - or two of Sapporo. They'll keep it cold for you, and at less than $4 for a 22 oz. can, this Japanese beer made with the tiniest amount of rice is the perfect match for the delicate flavors of the food prepared at Hana.
can be quite a trip, but the reasonably priced Vietnamese dishes paired with the restaurant's BYO policy and
no cork fee
make this eatery worth the extra gas.
A chilled white wine would an excellent choice for the spicy dishes on the menu, but skip the Chardonnay, the oaky flavors will be a little heavy. Try the Bahn Xeo, a crepe-like seafood dish paired with your favorite Sanvignon Blanc, like the well priced Brancott which was a Wine Spectator top 100 for 2009 and less than $20 a bottle.
You can't beat Giuseppes for neighborhood Italian. For just $3, they'll pour your favorite vino while you slurp down the minestrone or dive into the eggplant parmesan. To keep the wine reasonably priced, skip the Barolo or Chianti and try a Barbera.
We've had decent luck with the La Loggia Barbera D'Alba for less than $10 a bottle at Trader Joes. Order the heaping plate of Italian Mac n Cheese, it's almost big enough to split, and with price of the Barbera, you can still afford to order the tiramisu.
If you've been hanging on to that special occasion bottle, Atlas Bistro will open and pour it, for a small corkage fee. Atlas is known for using local organic ingredients, so order the braised pork and bring along a bottle of 2000 Merlot from organic wine maker Le Vin Winery.
You can also pop over to AZ Wine, conveniently connected to the restaurant and ask the staff to recommend something based on the current menu. We hear rumors of a $5 sale bin, but we'd suggest getting some expert advice before diving in.