Vino brings Mediterranean influences to an English-inspired neighborhood

I love to unwind after a long week with a good beer, but sometimes a glass of wine, a delicious meal and good company are the only way to go. And that was the case on the final Friday of Birmingham Restaurant Week, when my friend Laura joined me for dinner at Vino.

Neighborhood restaurants seem to be the theme of my BRW 2012 experience, and that was again true with Vino. I got there before Laura, took a table on the patio and ordered a glass of wine. Laura walked over from her English Village home (which would have made me jealous if I didn’t also have great restaurantswithin walking distance). Though I arrived only a few minutes before she did, I had already picked out my dishes for the evening. I’d only been to Vino once before, and on that visit I stuck to wine and appetizers. I was eager to dive into the menu.

Roasted beet and pine nuts, field greens and Gorgonzola


Salmon artichoke skewers, grilled lemon garlic, dill Taziki and skinny fries

First up: Appetizers. I selected the roasted beet salad from the BRW menu, which was tasty, though I left quite a few beets on the plate. Laura decided to order a course to match each of mine, though she veered away from the special menu. The salmon artichoke skewers were a huge hit with both of us, and I’ll definitely get them again on my next visit. The dish included some of my favorite foods and was served with french fries. How can you beat that?


Pan-roasted chicken farfella, artichoke hearts, baby spinach and tomatoes in light lemon caper Pinot Grigio


Pan-seared grouper, Moroccan couscous, turnip greens and lima beans

The chicken farfella was as beautiful as my server promised, and it made for a filling dish that was also light enough for a summer meal. (I shouldn’t be writing this entry just before dinner time. My stomach is growling just thinking about it.) Laura’s grouper looked great, as well, and I think it’s hard to go wrong with a good piece of fish. Both dishes played to the restaurant’s Mediterranean influences. Now, if only English Village included a view of the sea!


Apple fritters and ice cream


Pot of chocolate

We discussed sharing my apple fritters, but Laura opted to get her own dessert. And once I tasted the apple fritters and ice cream, I was glad she did! They’re my favorite kind of donut, anyway, but these fritters were especially good and the leftovers made for a great breakfast the next day. Laura’s pot of chocolate was rich and satisfying, she claims, but I was so enamored of my apple fritters that I don’t even recall if I tasted it.

And here’s some great news if you missed this delectable restaurant week deal: Vino is celebrating its one-year anniversary next week, and that means great discounts all week long. The deals begin on Monday, and include half-off appetizers, apple fritters at a discounted price and a $16 pasta dish, the “Vino Bowl,” which includes spinach, chicken and a white wine sauce. A birthday party will be held Sept. 20, with 25 percent of sales during the event going to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Read more about those deals and the celebration on Vino’s Facebook page.

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