This is a great new wine bar in South Salem, with a medium selection compared to the other two wine bars I know of in town. I've stopped in twice to pick up a couple of bottles and chatted a bit with the owner, Tim. He regularly hosts live music, and since SO is a musician, I got on their e-mail distribution list.
Saturday, after Thanksgiving, the shop hosted an Italian dinner for $15. The e-mail about it said that there would be salad, pasta, bread, a glass of wine, and perhaps a dessert. They also had 5 for $5 wine tasting all weekend. There would be live music, and two seatings, 5:30 and 7:30. I called and made reservations for 5:30.
Since they were also hosting general wine tasters as well as diners, the two-top that we would have been seated at was still in use by a couple of young ladies who had been there for a couple of hours, so we were seated at a table for six, which would not be in use during that seating.
There were two people working, Tim and another woman. We were shown what appeared to be a single, shared copy of the wine list and decided to do the 5 tastings as our wine included with dinner. 2 whites with the salad course, and 3 reds with the pasta course.
We started with a taste of a California Pinot Grigio, and a nice small salad. The salad was romaine lettuce with a dressing of oil and balsamic vinegar, a couple of black olives, a pepperoncini, and some nice herb bread. The salad was a bit over-dressed, but very tasty overall. The second white was not as tasty as the first, but we're not at all sure what it was.
After the salad dish was cleared, our first red was brought. Again, we're not sure what it was, but I'm sure if we were to go back in and ask, Tim would know what it was.
The pasta course came and was great. A few large spinach ravioli with a great fresh basil sauce, and a wedge of nicely spicy meat lasagne. Since pasta tends to fill me up, the small portions were perfect between the two of us. We were served a Chianti Classico, then a blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon, which we were not thrilled with.
I finished off the dinner with a small slice of tiramisu and a full glass of the Pinot Grigio from earlier. The tiramisu was still chilly from being recently thawed.
The live music was new-age-ish music by a keyboard player - not too loud. Then a singer came in and did a couple of mellow songs, one by Lionel Ritchie.
This was the first dinner event by the wine bar, so there are a few kinks to work out before the next time. The food was fantastic, the atmosphere was cozy, friendly, the wine very nice. What I found lacking was written documentation. It wasn't clear between the original e-mail and the bill, was what exactly was included. At $15, I'm not complaining, and would happily have paid more for the meal. Having the wine list left at the table would have been a big help in knowing what we were drinking, and perhaps planning on buying a bottle or two of what we liked on the way out the door. I find that easier if I'm looking at the list.
1130 Royvonne Ave SE, Salem, OR
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