I can’t say U street is the first neighborhood that comes to mind when I’m deciding where to eat dinner. Sure, there are a few choice spots and classic haunts; however, if you ask what word comes to mind first, it’s “drinks,” not “dinner.” But now, I’ve got the right place up my sleeve that delivers on both the drinks and the dinner fronts: Vinoteca.
Having previously thought of Vinoteca as the place where I could satisfy a craving to play bocce while having a good glass of wine (what? Sometimes those things coincide), I somehow forgot that the five-year-old wine bar also served dinner. There’s a mix of small plates for sharing, as well as larger entrees that could even be split if you’re not starving. There are the appetizers you might have seen before, such as pan con tomate topped with jamon Serrano and manchego cheese, or an Appalachian cheese paired with green apples and candied onions. But then there are more unusual bites like the petite, pickled kiwiberry with onion or more jamon layered over a housemade, salty fish cracker.
I know you might not think to opt for liquor over wine at a wine bar, but start off with a cocktail–the kind with interesting ingredients that you’re unlikely to stock in your own home bar but wish you could. For example, the light and refreshing “Bonal sparkling cocktail” combines aperol, grapefruit juice, St. Germain, Bonal Gentiane-Quina, Toso Blanc de Blancs and a dry sparkling wine. Or the “Spanish Spirit” that combines gin with two types of sherry, a French aperitif called quinquina and a housemade thyme syrup.