We sent our own Vine Geek, Kate Crowley, over to Virginia Senior's new wine bar last night, to check out the grand opening party -- as well as the food, wine and cocktail scene. Here's what she
Restaurant: Tertio, a wine bar inside Urban Beans Location: 3508 N 7th St. Open: About a month Drinks/Eats: Wine bar....but adds beer, apps and desserts Price: Between $15 and $25 per person
Tertio's interior is much the same as it was under the Urban Beans name, in fact the Urban Beans sign still hangs outside, since they operate during the day as a coffee house and change it up for food and wine table service. A little confusing til you get used to it. The modern mood lighting and charming patio make the space feel cozier than before but the overall decor is a bit sparse. It lacks the sophistication that most "wine bars" typically go for but it does keep it from feeling too pretentious. While the coffee bar is still the focal point of the room, there's a more formal bar area and group seating. And while the food at this bar is pretty good, the real focus for Tertio is the drink menu.
The menu isn't quite full-on dinner fare, it's mostly appetizers and small plates. But there is a "Chef's Table" option, a daily dish that the chef pairs with a wine or beer. Standouts include the Brat Sliders (order one, two or three: $4, $6, $7.50) and "Melts," ($9) which are lovely little flat breads that pair well with many wines on the menu. It is nice to see they didn't go the bruscheta route. Not so hot are the baked sweet potato fries ($5). They were a little soggy and too salty.... but again, to be fair, this place is really about the drinks. So let's get down to business.
The wine list with options from California, Washington, Argentina, Chile, Spain and Italy is not giant (about 23 in all) but very diverse with something for any wine-lover. It's clear Ms. Senior knows what she's doing with the alcohol. Standouts are the Red X blend from Napa ($8 a glass) and the affordable Washington Hill Sauvignon Blanc ($6 a glass).
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Malbec lovers will be at home with three to choose from, and while there are many more reds than whites available. If you're in the mood for something different the menu features a "Port for Two Platter" featuring two glasses of port with selections of fruit, nuts, cheese and chocolate.
For a wine bar, this place has some fun cocktails. We tried the Pink Diablo, which is made with tequila, muddled mint, lime, prickly pear juice, and an agave habanero syrup, poured over ice in a sugar rim glass.
We could have done without the sugar rim glass but its a delicious and refreshing drink with a little kick at the end. It's handcrafted and you can taste it. There's also some juicy sounding drinks like the "Dakota Derby," named for the owner's greyhound and the "Pickle Back," which contains pickles--the new item du jour at bars.