PIC and I had a blast atÂ Vue Wine Bar and Restaurant’s Wine Dinner last Wednesday, December 1st.
I say we had a blast because it was an experience filled with very good food, very good wine and very good people. And by people, I mean other diners as well as Vue staff.
Vue has changed. New owner, new Executive Chef, new staff, new menu, new pricing, new attitude.
Before going farther, be warned that this review is “image heavy”. Some may not be the best shots due to very low lighting, but they’re included so you can see what I’m talking about.
We chose our seats at the nicely set tables and settled in.
Executive Chef Mike Atkinson put together a lovely five-course French menu that began with a VERY generous Charcuterie Board. Two of these luscious beauties were delivered to our our table of seven.
Put a board piled withÂ sumptuous meats, cheeses, olives, pickles and condiments in front of a hungry group of strangers. Add bagel chips, mousse and pate and you have an icebreaker.Â Everyone wants to try a little of everything, while at the same time, making sure there’s enough for everyone else to do the same. Conversation flowed as we compared opinions on the various board items and how they tasted with the Jean-Claude Thevenet Blanc de Blancs NV, a sparkling Chardonnay.
That arm you see pouring the wine belongs to Mike Tiano, co-owner of Haw River Wine Man. He did an excellent job talking about each wine, it’s history, characteristics, etc.
Normally I think of Bouillabaisse (the next course) as a stew jam-packed with fish, shellfish and vegetables. Chef Mike’s version was perfect for this occasion because I would have been too full to enjoy the rest of the dinner if he hadn’t created a restrained version of saffron tomato broth over grilled French bread, with vegetables, one good-sized scallop, shrimp, piece ofÂ poached fish and aÂ huge clam. Chateau Soucherie Anjoy Blanc ’09 poured with this course, blossomed when sipped along with the bouillabaisse.
Usually made with chicken or capon, our third course was indeed Coq au Vin “with a twist” (as billed on the menu), made with Duck Breast and Confit that had been simmered in Red Wine with Bacon, Onion, Mushroom and Herbs. Chef Mike then rolled the mixture in Wild Rice Crepes and garnished the plates with what I think was a cute and perfectly cooked Pattypan Squash, whipped sweet potatoes and multi-colored chips. I really enjoyed the duck prepared this way; tender, bite-sized pieces, reminiscent of stew. James Petit Bourgeuil “Les Galluches” ’07 nicely complimented this dish.
Following the duck, we were treated to Beef Black and Bleu. Sliced rare/medium-rare pepper-crusted beef tenderloin served overÂ RoquefortÂ mashed potatoes with spinach souffle and au poivre sauce.Â Let me just say, this was delicious. And to drink, my favorite wine of the night, Domaine Cristia Chatearneuf du Pape ’06. Gorgeously smooth, this wine had wonderful flavor. Alternating plates were garnished with orange or dark purple carrots.
And then for some fun, Chef Mike made a Bananas Foster dessert tableside, flambe and all. PIC and I used to frequent a waterfront Seattle restaurant specifically for their Bananas Foster. The traditional vanilla ice cream topped with bananas flambed in butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum and banana liqueur. Yum! This version was a little different, but just as delicious. A warm Black Walnut studded waffle was topped with home-made Grand Marnier Ice Cream, topped with classic Bananas Foster sauce and finally topped with a singleÂ kumquat. To drink, we had Chateau La Rame St. Croix du Mont ’05.
As we were finishing our desserts, it was requested that we save a bit of wine for a toast. As we held our glasses up, Chef Mike spoke about the sudden loss of his good friend, long time member of Hendersonville’s culinary scene and owner of Flat Rock Wine Shoppe, The Back Room and most recently Blue Note Grille, David Brannock, just days before the dinner. For those who knew David, he will be missed.
Vue’s main dining area is an absolutely wonderful space. It’s welcoming, cozy, dark and enveloping. Two additional rooms (with fire places) upstairs are just as terrific. What we experienced during this wine dinner was a space that lent itself to warm camaraderie with no pretense or arrogance. Expect to dine on very good fare, priced (entrees) as of this writing from $18 to $24.
See more pictures of Vue here.
On a funny side note: during the evening, someone at another table said to their friend, “oh, is this dinner going to end up on Hendersonville (Carolina) Epicurean or something?” I smiled . . . just a little.
Vue Wine Bar and Restaurant
123 5th Ave E
Hendersonville, NC 28792