Sip Wine Pours it on at Riverside
Innovative wine bar features 40 by-the-glass options.
After 13 years as the River Room, the restaurant in the Post Riverside complex quietly morphed into a new concept two weeks ago. Now as Sip Wine Riverside, the space boasts a refreshed, lighter interior that matches the approach to dining.
The idea is to give diners a variety of dishes as well as wines, all while keeping the prices affordable.
Veteran chef Daniel Massie's menu is anchored by 20 small plates that are more than bite-sized samplings. His well-executed servings are reasonable portions that diners can savor: Two pistachio-crusted scallops are fat, juicy and crunchy atop baby zucchini and drizzled with an orange juice reduction.
Crab cakes are gently-grilled rounds spiced with an avocado cream sauce. Three bacon-wrapped shrimp are plump and bursting with a filling of jalapeno and cheddar. Just don't order the truffled, twice-fried potatoes with the homemade ketchup first - the crunchy strips will capture everyone's attention until they're gone.
Other popular plates are Kobe beef sliders, a tuna tartare Napoleon, crawfish spring rolls and a vanilla and brown sugar creme brulee. Plate prices range from $5 to $9.
"There's something here for the most finicky eaters," said Massie. "And it's not only diverse; it's value-based."
The same can be said of the 40-bottle wine list that owner Foster Smith serves in 1-, 3- or 6-ounce pours. Among the options are several bottles rarely offered by the glass, including a Barolo Prunotto and a Vineyard 29 Cru Cabernet Sauvignon. Don't worry about being overwhelmed by the variety: Each dish on the menu comes with a suggested pairing.
"We have lots of customers who will start with a sip of the pairings, then return for a half or full glass," said Smith. "Then they'll move onto some of the exclusive bottles that they can't usually taste elsewhere."
For those who just want to focus on wine, Smith has installed an innovative, computerized pouring system in the bar. Just insert your credit or gift card, then pick a wine and how much you want to sample. The bottles are kept under pressure that's akin to recorking, ensuring the quality of each pour.
Smith has perfected his concept at the first Sip in Milton. For the Riverside location, he let Massie go a step further, adding a full dinner menu with entrees of mushroom risotto, butternut squash ravioli, smoked beef short ribs, veal rib chops, grilled kingfish, beef tenderloin and more. Dinner prices range from $15 to $27.
Unlike the Milton location, Riverside does not have a retail component. But setting up a shop that will allow diners to take home a bottle of their favorite wine is in the works. Stay tuned.
Vinings diners will also want to keep tabs on Smith and Massie as they take over the Vinings Inn. Though the landmark eatery is still open, the two have plans for a complete overhaul of the menu and the building's interior, including an expansion and a restoration of the exterior.
Sip Wine Riverside
4403 Northside Parkway, in the Post Riverside Town Square
Lunch, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays
Dinner, 5:30-10 p.m. daily