Recently, my longtime friend Lindsey and I sought out Buckhead’s Vine & Tap for a little post-workday R&R. What we found was a Lenox Road restaurant where the delicious bites pair just right with the libations this restaurant is named for.
From serving as wine director of the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas to the St. Regis Buckhead, Vine & Tap owner Ian Mendelsohn knows his wine. He and his wife, Susan, opened the spot because they wanted a place to hang out and enjoy wine that wasn’t based in a hotel.
“There were some cool restaurants with good wines, but nobody really focused on a casual place to hang out for a few hours,” Ian says. ”I wanted to create a space where friends and family can meet up in a very relaxed atmosphere, enjoy great hospitality, killer small-production wines from around the world and great meals at prices that won’t break the bank.”
That’s the beauty of this neighborhood bistro: it’s chic, but cozy. Think weathered wood tables accented with comfy white leather chairs and cushy gray banquettes where it’s easy to lose track of time — and the amount of wine you’ve consumed. And if you happen to catch one of those rare patio-worthy summer nights, definitely dine al fresco and enjoy a toast beneath one of the nosh spot’s oh-so-fancy Veuve Clicquot-yellow umbrellas.
Of course, the wine list is exquisite, as you’d expect from a place with vine in its name. (And FYI, y’all, Wednesday nights you can enjoy one of Vine & Tap’s wine flights for 50 percent off!) Not a fan of wine or rosé? Try one of the beers on tap or a signature cocktail, like the Apple on Cape Cod, which is a tasty concoction of manzanilla sherry, lemon and cranberry.
As for the bites we indulged in, Lindsey and I opted to share a selection of small plates. But if you’re looking for something more filling to complement what you’re sipping, there are also entrées and sandwiches that include everything from Uncle Ray’s crab cake (an old family recipe, I was told) to a pork belly BLT.
Now, back to our small plates … As I took a bite of my melt-in-your-mouth short rib lettuce wrap dipped in peanut sauce and a sip of my cool, crisp rosé, I thought to myself, “This is the perfect way to end a summer day.” They were worth every calorie I had to burn off at Cyc Fitness later that week. Then, there were the crispy polenta fries, served up with sautéed mushrooms and tomato sauce, followed by a few of the oysters of the day (paired with a tasty mignonette) and the pastrami-crusted, seared yellowfin tuna. Oh, and I can’t forget the shut-the-front-door-they-were-so-good Gorgonzola-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon and drizzled with aged balsamic. I died.
And you didn’t think we’d forget about dessert, did you? Lindsey and I went with the taste bud-pleasing coffee crème brûlée and warm cronut, and the chocolate croissant bread pudding. The perfect final bites to top off our evening enjoying this Buckhead spot’s many delights.
Vine & Tap is located at 2770 Lenox Road NE. Dinner and bites are served Tuesday to Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday, 5 p.m. until midnight. Vine & Tap is also open Saturday, from 3 p.m. to midnight. Brunch is served on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Monday. For more information, call (404) 600-5820 or visit vineandtapatl.com.