BEST RESTAURANT TREND - 2006
The last five years have seen wine lists in the Twin Cities getting better and better. It's almost hard to remember the days when a restaurant's manager would just sit down with the biggest wine supplier in town and let them write the Ravenswood-and-Turning-Leaf-for-all list that used to be the norm. Today, wine selections are more diverse, more interesting, and sourced from more suppliers seeking out wine from more regions than ever before. So does this mean that prices are rising? Heck no! Prices have fallen, and dramatically. It's possible to find an excellent $20-something bottle at most of the Twin Cities' finest dining restaurants today, like 112 Eatery , W.A. Frost, and Café Barbette, to say nothing of the fascinating $20-something bottles available at places we have no reason to expect good wine at, like Chiang Mai Thai and Pizza Nea. However, when La Belle Vie, a super-fine-dining destination restaurant opened this year with an $18 bottle of French rosé on its list, we had to rub our eyes in disbelief. That's how much it would cost to park the car in other cities! Soon after that, the stylish downtown Mexican restaurant, Masa, opened, offering $21 Spanish reds to pair with your $23.50 steak. Then, Salut, the French bistro, opened in tony Edina with $12 carafes of crisp white to pair with their oysters and mussels. Budget wine for the Coach bag set? Who would have thought we'd ever see the day? It's been a phenomenal year for people who drink with their wits about them, so raise a glass—or two, you can afford it.