The Nova Wine Bar: A romantic getaway in Hudson

Located in quaint downtown Hudson, Wisconsin, The Nova welcomes guests with a cozy and intimate atmosphere. A flickering fireplace and the collection of Tiffany lamps give the setting a warm glow. Tucked away on the hillside overlooking the St. Croix River, the Nova is a quick 30-minute drive east on I-94. When we arrived we found that, much to our delight, the menu was suited to the season and left us to make some tough decisions.

The Nova boasts a collection of over 350 bottles of wine, 30 of which may be ordered by the glass. The prices range from $5 to $14 dollars per glass or $20 to $350 dollars per bottle. The selection includes wines from California to France, Italy to Spain, and everywhere in between. Despite this great selection, we couldn't resist ordering a Racer 5 IPA from Bear Republic Brewing Company as it is a rare treat in these parts. We did; however, try a Sangria which was refreshingly smooth and fruity.

The tables along the windows to the north side of the dining room featured ornately carved King and Queen Chairs with little notebooks for guests to write in or read while waiting for their food. The notebooks contained stories of love, recommendations for which dish to order, and other random musings. The dining room wasn't very big but had a very relaxed vibe, which would make it the perfect place for a romantic date. The main dishes ranged from $14 to $30, with many items under $20.

We ordered the pasta special with a garlic cream sauce, chicken breast, penne noodles, and tomatoes, accompanied by slices of fresh mozzarella. It proved to be a very satisfying dish and paired well with the Racer 5 IPA. The mozzarella and tomatoes gave the dish a fresh flavor not often found with heavier cream-sauce pastas.

The second dish we ordered was the chevre- and lemon-zest-stuffed chicken breast, which was topped with a calimyrna fig puree and served with blue cheese mashed potatoes and summer squash. The chicken breast was surprisingly moist, and the potatoes were velvety and tangy. The sweet fig puree added a nice balance in texture and flavor, and the perfectly crisp yet tender summer squash was a fresh complement to the richness of the rest of the dish

For dessert we decided that chocolate was a must. The chocolate lava cake was decadent, rich, and satisfying. As we headed out the door, we were sent off to the sound of live music being performed on the candlelit outdoor patio. It is safe to say we'll be back, perhaps in the winter to enjoy more of their seasonally comforting fare.

Nova Wine Bar 236 Coulee Rd., Hudson, Wisconsin 715.386.5333; Nova Wine Bar website

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