Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Restaurant Review: Flamenco Sundays at Vinoteca

Last Sunday, I went to a cute, trendy wine bar called Vinoteca Wine Bar and Bistro.  From what I can tell it is a fairly new spot on 11th right off of U Street.  My friend/ex told me about the weekly event so we figured we'd check it out.  I hadn't seen any Flamenco dancing since I saw a show in Madrid a few years ago.

We arrived about 20 minutes early for our reservation so we took a seat in the bar area.  Over the last year or so, I've been trying to develop into a wine connoisseur, so  I appreciated the fact they had a very large selection to choose from.  The bar staff was also friendly and very knowledgeable about the wines.  Even better, they have 3 prices for all of the wines by the glass which allowed you to choose from a tasting size, 5 oz, or 8oz.

So quarter to 8 comes and still no table.  The place is fairly small and a large party seemed to engulf most of the dining area so we were left to wait.  Eventually we were seated at a table around 8:00.  It took nearly 10 minute for our waitress to come over.  Fortunately, I had my glass of wine and the flamenco music had just started playing so I was cool.  Around 8:30 I had to ask for bread since it seemed as if everyone around us was enjoying it.  The waitress made an excuse about it not coming out of the oven yet.  Five minutes later the bread arrives at our table and it's cold, as in not even remotely warm.  It sure as hell hadn't come out of the oven in the last hour.

Fortunately, the food saved the experience.  I had the Cornish Game Hen with warm potato salad and my friend had the House-made Sweet Potato Gnocchi.  Both dishes were very good and neither of us had anything left on our plates. After dinner, we got up just in time to see the flamenco dancer's final performance for the evening. (She performs along with the band from about 8-9:30PM).

If we had a better waitress I would give Vinoteca high marks, but the services from her left much to be desired.  My friend had been before and said he had an excellent waitress last time he went.  Fortunately, everything else was good so I won't let having a sorry server spoil my experience.  I will definitely go back.  As a recommendation, you should sit in the bar area.  They were way more attentive and you have a better view of the performers and the interesting, diverse crowd coming in.

Vinoteca also has wine classes on Tuesdays for those who are interested in learning more about wines native to particular regions.  For more information, visit

Food A-
Ambience B
Service (bar) A-
Service (dining) D+

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