A good wine bar can be like a speed dial to the wine world, allowing customers to quickly try dozens of styles. Unfortunately, many treat food as an afterthought, offering little more than charcuterie, cheese or the occasional panini. With only a few lonely shards of Parmesan cheese or slices of soppressata to try with a Carneros Pinot Noir, diners interested in learning more about pairings miss half the action.
But in the past year, the American wine bar has captured the imagination of a trio of outstanding chefs, all of whom have devised places where the menus, as well as the wine lists, explore favorite regions. Daniel Boulud’s new Bar Boulud in Manhattan focuses on the pâtés and bistro dishes, as well as the wines, of the Rhône Valley and Burgundy. Luke Mangan’s South Food + Wine Bar in San Francisco showcases the flavors of Australia and New Zealand. And Tony Mantuano’s forthcoming Enoteca Spiaggia in Miami’s South Beach will explore the food and wine of the Mediterranean. Ambitious as these spots are, all three have communal tables where customers can share tastes with each other, keeping the casual spirit of the wine bar alive.
The following pages contain nine exquisite recipes from these three pioneering wine bars, along with the chefs’ favorite wines to pair with each dish.