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Minneapolis-St. Paul Wine Bar

Sunfish Cellars Wine Bar - Lilydale


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Sunfish Cellars Wine Bar - Lilydale

Brad Ballinger | Apr 19, 2013 08:03 PM

I didn't even know this place existed until I pulled an insert out of the Highland Villager (local newspaper published bi-weekly for the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul). The advertisement was for a wine sale in the adjacent wine shop, but also mentioned a wine bar and listed some very attractive prices. For example, a 5 oz. glass of Francois Chidaine Vouvry "Le Bouchet" is $7. A 750ml bottle (roughly 25 ounces) runs approximately $28.

My wife and I went there tonight. The ambience is what it is. There is some living room type furntiure and tables furtherst from the door and the rest is high table with backed stools spilling out into the foyer. My wife and I were able to score a love seat with a small table in front.

There are about 5-8 white and red wines by the glass, two sparklers, and three dessert wines (desser pours are 2.5 oz.). There are also featured flights (3 wines), and the pours appeared to be healthy (we didn't order a flight, but just about everyone else in the place did). Recently, they have added cask wines (they call them keg wines). The selections vary from all corners of the globe. Patrons can also purchase a bottle of wine next door and have it served to them in the wine shop. No additional corkage charge.

The menu is limited to what can be prepared in what looked like a makeshift kitchen. Good cheese and charcuterie selections (cheese and charcuterie can also be purchased to go at the counter). There are some flatbreads furnish by St. Paul Flatbread. There are a few crostini options, and some sandwich options. I'd like to see them add a couple of salad choices.

We ordered a cheese plate. 3 selections for $15. There is also a 5 selection option. You can select which cheeses you want or ask them to surprise you. We opted for the latter. Those who do will be asked if there is anything they really like or really don't like. We replied we like it all. The Alemar Bent River Camembert (from Mankato) was sublime. There was a lso a good goat cheese and gouda (don't recall more details). The cheese tray was adorned with dried apricots, dried cherries, and marcona almonds. We also ordered a charcuterie plate (also available with 3 or 5 selections). Got speck, sopressata, and something else.

The Sunfish Cellars Wine Bar is a nice little find. Every table was full by the time we left (7:30, Friday night). I was told Friday was usually their "slow" night, and that this particular Friday was an aberration??? All the same, I think I'll stick to arriving on the early side.

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