Two of Portland's Best Wine Bars Just Upped Their Food Game

Two of Portland’s best wine bars, Southeast Wine Collective and Bara Casa Vale, recently overhauled their food menus, both choosing to focus on larger plates for full meals, moving away from the smaller bar snacks that defined them before. 
 
Opened in fall of 2016, Bar Casa Vale quickly made a name for itself as a destination for wine and cocktail lovers. The wine list is exclusively Spanish with an eye towards sherry, while gin tonics and other “Pan-Latin” cocktails round out the drink menu. The food menu is similarly focused on Spanish cuisine, and originally was primarily smaller tapas and pintxos. It’s always been high quality, but was unlikely to be a destination for full meals.

Now, the bar has brought in Chef Jacob Hart of the lauded French inspired St. Jack, along with a number of his crew, to renovate the food menu with a a focus on larger fare. Appropriately, Harth’s menu is centered around the hearth at BCV, which he’ll eventually be using to make paella, fideos, cazuelas, and even vertical rotisserie meats. For the moment, guests can find items like black cod and turmeric fried chicken, or even larger sharing plate likes grilled sea bass and pork t-bone.

Those that prefer the smaller drinking snacks that helped define the bar need not worry, though--the menu still dedicates a sizeable portion to pintxos, tapas, and charcuterie. And the sherry is definitely here to stay.

Southeast Wine Collective
An institution in the Portland winemaking scene, Southeast Wine Collective is a group of wineries that share a production and storage room, with an adjacent wine bar pouring wines from the collective, as well as guest wines. For years the menu at the wine bar focused on cheese boards and the like, but Chef Althea Grey Potter is changing things up and presenting a full menu as of December 1st, and the space now has its own name: Oui! Wine Bar and Restaurant.

Seasonally focused and locally sourced, the menu includes great new shareable plates like chicken liver mousse; spaghetti squash stuffed delicata with harissa, chickpeas, and squash hummus; roast half chicken with crispy potatoes and lemon aioli; and a shaved cabbage salad with crispy prosciutto and sage. While there are still some smaller plates, like deviled eggs, valencia almonds, and popcorn, the cheese boards are gone from the menu.

For those that don’t know what to select from the many options, a $35 chef’s choice menu served family style is also available, with the staff more than willing to help select the right wines for the perfect meal. The restaurant is taking reservations for the first time, and offers both early and late night happy hours.

Photo via Southeast Wine Collective 
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