Does your New Years resolution include more wine? Have I got the place for you! Bacchus Bar & Bistro has over 350 different bottles of wine to choose from and, unlike a trip to a retail store, you can taste before buying while relaxing in the comfortable wine country ambiance and noshing from a wonderful selection of shareable small plates.
Bacchus Bar and Bistro is a neighborhood spot that Irvine residents have enjoyed for seven years and is just a minute off the 405 freeway for the rest of us. Lunch, dinner, or date night, it’s the kind of place where you stop in for a glass of wine, and then realize they have much more to offer. Like sunset views, great food, and live music…
I was pleasantly surprised by the range of bites that Chef Charity conjures in the kitchen – everything from Spiced & Glazed Nuts to burgers, flatbreads, and crispy pork belly tacos. The staff, Alana, Julia, and Deb were friendly and knowledgeable about the wine selections. This is no small feat considering they offer “old” and “new” world wines from regions around the globe.
Chef Charity has created a menu of small plates with fresh ingredients, designed to share, and perfect with wine and beer. She has a small kitchen but that doesn’t keep her from creating some amazing dishes to accompany your libation of choice. For our first selection, we opted on a flight to try a few different varietals. I chose the “Euro Whites” and Patty, my partner in wine, selected the “New World Blends”. Pictured in the opening photo against the backdrop of another gorgeous SoCal sunset are the Rancho Sisquic Tre Vini (Santa Barbara), Orin Swift Abstract (Napa Valley) and The Possessor (Paso Robles).
Euro Whites wine flight included an Albarino from Spain, Grüner Veltliner from Austria, and a French Rosé.
An excellent and refreshing to start the evening. We were famished and the Glazed Spicy Nuts and Gorgonzola Tater Tots also ordered were devoured immediately. Several guests were enjoying the flatbread which looked very tempting, but we decided to try the meatballs (and learned that they were the chef’s mom’s recipe – even better!), the Glazed Pork Belly Tacos (chunks of crispy pork and a unique kimchi salsa that, for my taste, could have been spicier!) and, of course, a cheese board created with our favorites. And, all menu items are reasonably priced, ranging from $4 to $13.
Veal and Fontina Meatballs (Mom’s special recipe)
Crispy Glazed Pork Belly Tacos with Kimchi Salsa, cabbage, cilantro.
Our cheese board: Blue D-Auvergne (France); Barely Buzzed Espresso & Lavender (Utah); Chevre with Rose Preserves (France) | fig jam, apple mustard, cornichons
Charcuterie: Speck Americana, Salami Rosso, Spicy Sopressata
And did I mention the live music?! Yes, there’s live music on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – classic rock, jazz, blues, and alternative, depending on who is performing – and live music of any kind is hard to find in Orange County! The music might be the icing on the cake, but all the essential components for a good time are here, whether you bring your honey, pop in for Happy Hour (4:00-6:00, M-F), seek a quiet moment to sip on your favorite wine, or meet up with friends to catch up on life.
There’s not many wine bars offering 350 bottles of wine from around the world and a wine bar which utilizes a state of the art wine preservation system with 60 wines by the glass, served with a greeting and a smile, and delicious bites if you choose. You can create your own tasting experience or select from 12 creative flights. Bacchus also offers 6 craft beers on tap along with 20 bottled micro brews all lovingly curated by Beer Meister, Aaron.
Opening photo courtesy of Patty Mitchell, Culinary Promotions.