Friday, April 12, 2013 at 7:34 a.m.
A stunning new space inside, and a list of more than 100 wines
The late-afternoon light was spilling through the wall of windows at the new location of Spill the Wine. An early happy hour crowd had already begun to collect inside the new restaurant space at the corner of Bryant Avenue and West Lake Street. Wine glasses were softly clinking as plates were delivered from the kitchen to nearby tables. Although it has only been open for a little over a week, it already feels like a neighborhood hangout.
Their old space was a long room. The new spot is a wide-open room with plenty of seating (once the weather warms up seats will also be available out on Bryant).
A mix of warm wood and cool metals make up the interior
The full bar serves more than just wine (although there is plenty of wine), and a list of cocktails included a tasty take on the Sidecar and an imaginative Tangled Up, a vodka drink infused with lemongrass and topped with sparkling white wine, both $10. They offer 30 wines by the glass and over 100 bottles. At happy hour several glasses are only $5 and select bottles are $15.
Happy hour means gooey cheese curds
Several plates of food are only $5 during happy hour, including puffy, light cheese curds with flecks of black truffles, which pair nicely with a little cava by the glass.
The menu is mostly made up of small plates, though there are some entrees and even a chef's tasting menu for $45. The chef is Craig Johnson, whose background includes D'Amico Cucina and Santorini's. The menu professes their dedication to local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible. They have connected with the Minnesota Zoo's Fish Smart program and have committed to serving only sustainable seafood.
Charred octopus with red peppers and grilled lemon
Speaking of seafood, the tender and charred octopus for $9 were great for grazing and paired well with the happy hour garnacha wine. The red peppers were sweet and the grilled Meyer lemon added the perfect hit of bright citrus.
Grilled shrimp, pickled peppers and the Sidecar
The perfectly grilled shrimp were tender and smoky. Eaten with spicy piparras, the pickled peppers served with them, they were delicious, although we wished there were more than four to an order for $12.
Addictively spicy fried rice
The lap cheong fried rice for $8 was full of wonderful heat with just a little hit of sweetness. The golden rich yolk oozed over the rice, creating the kind of dish that could be eagerly gobbled up any hour, night or day.
The pork belly (which I think all restaurants are now required to serve) was tossed in a subtly sweet sauce and only $5 at happy hour.
Overall the new space is a stunner, with a menu worth further exploring, and it was all made better by the skilled and friendly service we received. Spill the Wine is a welcome addition to this food-packed neighborhood.
901 W. Lake St., Minneapolis