Saturday, January 24, 2009
VINO ITALIAN TAPAS AND WINE BAR
Wow....this place was really good. Exceptional food, wine and service.
When you enter Vino there are large leather sofas and a small bar area. The space is decorated to be reminiscent of an authentic Italian Enoteca...a colorful, casual and rustic wine bar. The crowd was a little older and all seemed to be consuming wine. Once again we were hosted by Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya. Chuck's wine pairings of one white from Italy and one red from France were fantastic. Our party of five ate family style so everyone could enjoy a variety of dishes. We started with Ceasar Salad with homemade dressing and a Spinach Salad. Both were excellent. We enjoyed the house homemade pizza of the day which was tomato, basil and several types of meat. This is a very small pizza that is perfect as an appetizer for the table. The tomato and basil flavors came through nicely. One good thing about dining at Vino's is that you can also order from their sister restaurant next door called Hiroshi's. With this in mind, we ordered the Froi Gras sushi from Hiroshi's. This sushi is superb. The Foie Gras melts like butter in your mouth. This dish is a must. The Spaghetti & "Il Grande" Meatball dish was by far my favorite ($16). I cannot wait to return to eat it again. This is Spaghetti and house made Pomodoro Sauce topped with two gigantic meat balls that are made with Maui Cattle Company beef stuffed with braised short ribs, brie cheese and sweet Maui onions. When you bite into the meatball, you get an explosion of flavor from the meat, cheese, onions and short ribs. Very unique dish that surprised everyone at the table. Several at our table fell in love with the Tuscan Style Flat Iron Steak ($18) which is served with herb butter, swiss chard, vegetables and whole roasted garlic. The pan roasted Onaga ($19) also was loved by all. Served with a saffron risotto, shaved fennel, Hamakua tomato brodetto and sauce rouille. This is a fresh and light fish that was served perfectly. The only dish that didn't knock everyone socks off was the home made Ravioli ($8). I liked the dish but felt that it lacked the bold flavors that we enjoyed with other dishes. The Ravioli is filled with sweet fennel sausage, baby spinach, ricotta cheese and then covered with a marinara sauce. Vino's was a great experience and I cannot wait to return.