It's wine store...it's a wine bar...it's dog-friendly (which always earns props from me)...and the guys who own and run it offer up surprisingly fresh and tasty fare considering the fact that they have no kitchen and basically prepare everything on the menu with a panini press, a meat slicer and a couple of large toaster ovens. Our party of four got fine service and all enjoyed sampling the fairly extensive offerings of wines by the glass.
Turkey and Brie Donut Hole Sliders (warm, bona fide donut holes sliced and stuffed with turkey, brie and rosemary infused honey) intrigued us, so this was a must-try. While the combo worked well as far as taste and concept, the presentation was a little lacking and the "holes" were a bit dry and stale...two factors which kept this novel appetizer from reaching its full potential.
Our Antipasto Platter was a fine rendition, featuring Prosciutto Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, roasted red peppers, marinated olives, manchego cheese, house-made toasted rosemary foccacia with herb-infused olive oil for dipping, grapes and nuts.
I always deeply regret ordering a salad as my main course and today was no exception (I never should've weighed myself this morning). Not that the salad wasn't good...it was. There were just a lot other things on the menu that appealed to me more *coughburritocough*. While not as satisfying as the Spicy Burrito with Mexican crema, cheese, guac and pico de gallo prolly woulda been (did I mention that the guys who run this place are from Mexico?), my cranberry walnut salad was nicely done nonetheless. Fresh field greens and spinach leaves were topped with chopped apple, brandied walnuts, roasted chicken breast, dried cranberries and goat cheese. Drizzled with poppy seed vinaigrette, this was one dolled-up and tasty salad. No stinginess with the "good stuff" going on here.
UD's Prosciutto, Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza was about as perfect as such an animal gets. I loved the crispy, paper-thin crust and the fresh basil touch.
Melina adored her Prosciutto and Fontina Panini (and what's not to love about prosciutto anything?). Hot and crispy, what was left of this savory combo of meat, cheese and roasted red peppers was carefully wrapped up by our tiny friend to enjoy later in the evening.
Mike didn't leave a crumb remaining of his Kentucky Hot Brown (an open-faced turkey sandwich topped with creamy bechamel sauce, bacon and tomato). I didn't partake of this sandwich, but he gave it high praise and added extra credit points for the freshness (and coldness) of the tomato slices (NO WARM TOMATO SLICES OR WIRE COAT HANGERS, DAMMIT!). And while we're at it, NO FOIL-WRAPPED BUTTER PATS. I feel better, now.
You can expect above-average light cuisine for the price point at Clearwater Wine Bar and Bistro...not to mention the opportunity to pick up a few bottles of wine while you're there. A lovely lunch for four with six glasses of nice wine set us back about $100. Recommended for price, quality and a child-free oasis on Clearwater Beach.