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Wine Vault & Bistro

A dear friend of ours has been telling us about Wine Vault & Bistro for months. It’s not that we balked at the idea; it’s just there’s so little time to visit so many great places to eat. Well the fates finally got their stars aligned and we found ourselves one fabulous San Diego Sunday evening, absolutely spellbound by the simple bliss that is Wine Vault & Bistro.

The venue has many ways to enjoy the uncomplicated ambience and dining. We were fortunate to have selected a winemaker’s dinner of fantastic food and wine pairings emceed by the winemaker himself. Tonight, Cass Winery blazed in the spotlight with a six course dinner replete with sumptuous wines. Now we like to eat as much as the next guy, but six courses? Just dive in... The waters fine and the dishes are perfectly proportioned to satiate not saturate. The selections played beautifully with the wine pairings, with a surprisingly satisfying pour to accentuate the delicacies the wine brought to each dish and appreciate the qualities they bring to each other.

The setting itself is a secret delight. Three floors up on the far north end of India Street, Wine Vault made a delightful climb into a private inner sanctum. It could’ve been a quaint vineyard in Napa or a delightful cafe in Italy, the second you hit the top step you were transported into another world. A hypnotic fireplace greets you and, unless you’re the first to arrive, there are people mulling about engaged in conversation and laughter. Grab a glass of vino and pull up a chair.

An announcement is soon made, and your exploration of lovely wines and delicious fare is about to begin. Now it is everyone for themselves as you make your way into the effortlessly inviting dining area. Simple white linen communal dining tables greet you, most of them seating four. If you are a twosome, be ready to make some new friends which is half the fun and unique experience Wine Vault offers.

Within minutes a bevy of servers flow through the place, each bringing forth one splendid course after another. All the while you’re delightfully entertained and instructed through the ebb and flow of wine meets food. Cass Winery was top notch with every single presentation. There are many great wines out there but to have six distinct varieties grace our palettes was a distinctly welcome experience. It also should have involved a cab ride, but hey, who’s complaining? You also gotta love the winemaker wearing his "Madonna" headpiece while explaining the nuances of each varietal to the entire dining room. It was fun, informative and engaging.

We could go on about the luxurious nature of each dish. Suffice it to say that every one hit the right chord of unique flavor, originality and sheer decadence. The six course meal ran as such; Grilled Local Spot Prawn (w/salad of fennel & pickled ramps and a bacon forth….yes, you heard that right, bacon froth & paired with the 2008 Cass Roussanne); Kobe Beef Tartare (w/poached quail egg & mache….think a very cool steak & eggs paired with the 2006 Cass Grenache); Sweet Pea Agnolotti (with ham hock broth & pea tendrils….all we need to say is Ham Hock! with the Cass "Hacienda" Mourvede); herb Roasted Pork Belly (w/roasted asparagus & sorrel paired with the 2004 Cass Syrah….umm, the pork so tender and savory); Porcini Tagliatelle (with lamb shoulder & fresh horseradish….another masterpiece paired with the 2006 Cass "Rockin’ One" Rhone Blend) and finally the Prime Hanger Steak (w/green garlic rosti, porcini mushrooms with peppercorn au jus paired with the 2006 Cass Cabernet Sauvignon)’ What a great way to spend an evening, perfection!.

Dining at Wine Vault & Bistro is unlike the usual "night on the town". It’s like a private club where only a select few are members. Guess what? Pick up the phone and call them. They’d be glad to have you! Your host brings you into the fold and you become part of the evenings’ enchantment. This is not the usual flare where server meets customer. You are part of the experience and the night becomes part of you. That’s a rare thing to find and we plan to go back often. Our friends won’t need to wait long before we join them again at Wine Vault & Bistro. This is more of an adult venue and not recommended for children. Prices were phenomenally reasonable at $45 for the entire meal. Enjoy!

The Good – having the actual winemaker there talking about their creations, you can’t help but be swept away with their exuberance. Food, wine, food, wine, food, wine…call in sick.

The Bad – parking can be a bit of a stressful situation. Get there a bit early and be prepared to walk. Just remember to make a mental note of where you left the Lambo….


Details »
  • City: San Diego, CA 92103
  • Phone: 619-295-3939
  • Name: Wine Vault & Bistro
  • Address: 3731-A India Street