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Cav -- my new favorite wine bar

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Restaurants & Bars

Cav -- my new favorite wine bar

Joan Kureczka | Oct 22, 2005 01:15 PM

We decided to try Cav last night and it is now perhaps tied with Lulu for my favorite place for great wine and a bite.

The wine list is substantial -- about 40 wines by the glass with a global focus, with tasting pours also available for most. Two things were standouts about the list, IMO -- first, they had a number of wines from regions I'd never tried, as well as the tried and true. Second, the list included several older wines, such as a 1979 German spatlese (sorry, don't remember the producer) which was wonderful and $11 a glass. Prices ran from quite reasonable to mid-range high on both the glass list and the bottle list, with the majority of glasses running between $7-9, and quite a few bottles under $30.

The food was interesting and varied too. The menu had three different ceviches, here called "crudo" and three different charcuterie plates, along with an antipasto plate. The specific selections vary.

There is also a selection of entree plates which are available in both large and small versions, as well as a selection of very interesting vegetarian sides. We sampled two of the latter -- a nice fritto misto with fennel, onions, caper berries, little potato balls and thin, fried lemon slices served with a harissa aioli, and wild mushroom risotto cakes (3) scented with truffle oil. Both these were priced at about $6. We also ordered a small plate of a rich oxtail sauce on cavatappi pasta, which was wonderful with rich earthy flavors, and also $6 or $7. Many of the other plates were characterized by Moroccan spicing and ingredients (preserved lemons, harissa, sweet spices, etc.), without being authentic Moroccan.

They also have an outstanding cheese selection, featuring about a dozen, changing selections with the appropriate accompaniments. We took the opportunity to compare several different blues: a good, creamy Stilton, the Roaring 40's blue from Tasmania, and a cabrales. These came in good sized portions, along with walnuts, almonds, honey,dried apricots and quince paste. They also came with 3 different breads, a whole wheat walnut, a raisin bread and some bagette slices.

We are rarely dessert people, so I didn't pay attention to the offerings there last evening... but they existed.

Definitely worth a repeat visit.

We also got word of coming attractions... Our bartender said he has in the works an Alsatian winstub for San Francisco... opening in the next 18 months. Yay! Tarte flambe, baekoffe, choucroute and coq au riesling! They have several possible properties in mind, most in that same area as Cav and Zuni.

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