A couple of years ago when Vinoteque first opened in their former Culver City location, I liked their creative policy allowing you to pick a wine from their extensive bottle list and drink it by the glass if you committed to 2 glasses. Once that bottle was opened, a TV screen would display the name of the special bottle now open for others to taste by the glass, as well. Not sure I was thrilled with a huge monitor as part of the decor but appreciated the very user-friendly policy behind it.
But I confess, the location was way out of territory for me coming from downtown and I never made it back.
When I heard Vinoteque had reopened on Melrose -- that alone tempted me to give it a try.
They took over what long ago was the Tommy Tang location near Gardner. Right away it projects a completely different vibe. In Culver City, the decor could be described as, er...Bunker/Lounge.
Here, the entrance finds you in a pretty garden setting that feels very Mediterranean on the side of the restaurant. It's lush and bathed in pretty ambient lighting. Plants growing in boxes against the brick walls are herbs and veggies used in the kitchen -- sweet.
I took a quick look at the interior looking for my friends but since they hadn't arrived yet ( I'll admit I am a pushover for a lush and comfy al fresco patio), I settled outside in an especially appealing corner banquette in the back, strewn with cushy pillows. Also was happy to be far away from that garish monitor hanging over the bar.
The Wine bar's transformation does not end with the atmosphere. The menu is completely updated with a new chef and what a good change it is.
The food offerings have a global feel with all sorts of sophisticated and delicious small bites including this enticing "all" charcuterie platter:
We were three and it was the perfect size to share but you can get smaller versions, too.
Also good: The lamb meatballs, the roasted bone marrow crostini - an acquired taste but I love and not always easy to find.
On the wine list, the by glass
menu is short and the bottle list is several pages long, encouraging
you to opt for exploring something intriguing with the 2 glasses deal
-- easy enough if you go with a friend.
The interior seemed perfectly fine with an impressive, curved sculptural wine rack but it is the back garden that makes me want to go back soon with friends to share more goodies.
7469 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA. 90046