When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions. Share a few photos, some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: Vintage 95 Location: 95 West Boston, Chandler Open for: About a month Eats: Wine bar and contemporary American food, including classics with a twist Price Point: $12-$25
Originally the first post office in Chandler in 1926, then a series of businesses (the last being sushi restaurant Siracha), the building at 95 West Boston in the city's historic downtown has shown off many looks. Its latest, as wine bar Vintage 95, comes courtesy of Gavin Jacobs, a former bartender and manager at House of Tricks in Tempe.
Jacobs, along with partners Craig and Tricia Hills, gutted and refurbished the space, adding a fireplace, wine room, and an updated lounge-worthy patio that's nearly the same square footage as the interior space. They also brought along Mike Wahlberg, another House of Tricks alumnus, as their executive chef.
Now ease back into that leather chair and let's take a bite.
Vintage 95 truly gets cozy. With leather seating, dim lights, and that oh-so-nice fireplace, it's the kind of spot you could easily spend a few hours sipping wine and catching up with friends or getting a bit more familiar with one. (Hubba! Hubba!)
The menu features classic dishes with a twist and the prices are affordable, so you can't help trying a glass of wine or two from a well thought-out selection.
And what better with a glass of wine than some tasty bruschetta? Vintage 95 offers a choice of four for $12. Each of mine was stellar: Brie, pear, and onion jam; mascarpone, pistachios, and dates; housemade gravlax, caper goat cheese, and pickled onions; and fig chutney, housemade ricotta, and prosciutto. My one wish would have been for more substantial pieces of roasted bread to better complement the amount of delicious toppings.
Along with the bruschetta and a few starters like cheese and charcuterie boards, Vintage 95 offers sandwiches, soups, salads, and flatbreads.
In the sandwich category, I missed the shrimp in my shrimp BLT panini, but the sandwich still had a wonderful flavor, thanks to tomato jam, Tenderbelly bacon, and goat cheese on toasted sourdough. If Vintage 95 can make the adjustment regarding the shrimp, this hoagie's a home run.
Less successful was the AZ Cheesesteak, which my server said was a staff favorite. The twist, a citrus-marinated New York steak, went awry here. The citrus overpowered the other ingredients in each bite.
And if you can persuade one of the friendly servers at Vintage 95 to give you a choice of sides with your sandwich versus sticking with the defaults, skip the salty dill potato salad and the average chipotle pasta and head right for the orzo salad, or hell, just get a bowlful of it. Light and wonderfully tangy, it's a serious standout.
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Overall, it looks like Gavin Jacobs and team have a good start on Vintage 95 -- a nice little wine bar and restaurant where tasty eats, wine, and unwinding make for three good reasons to stop by.
What say you, Chandlerites? Have you been to Vintage 95 yet? What did you think?