Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bacchus Bar and Bistro (Irvine, CA)

by guest blogger @btsunoda

I recently visited Bacchus Bar and Bistro in Irvine. It is an upscale wine and craft beer bar. They also have a small kitchen where prepare a selection of appetizers, burgers and entrees. The exterior of Bacchus is deceiving because it sits in a shopping center but once you step inside, you are in an inviting and spacious area with a wine bar on one side and a retail space on the other.
Bacchus offers over 350 bottles from around the world and has a wine bar where they can pour up to 60 different wines by the glass.
I learned that they received the Wine Spectator award in 2014. Bacchus also offers 6 craft beers on a rotating tap along with 20 bottled craft beers. Glancing at the list of twenty, only five were from California. Belgian beers were prominently featured; there was a selection from Iceland and one from Italy.

Like their wines and craft beers, geographic diversity seems to be the desire for the focus of their cheese offerings. France topped the list with five different varieties. Holland was second with two and the US only had a single offering: Barely Buzzed from Utah. Fans of cheese from California, Oregon and Wisconsin may feel snubbed to not make the cut. Nuts, olives and various crackers and breads were also available. I was intrigued with the yuzu marmalade and the fig jam offerings as they probably go well with the crackers and breads. Some items are gluten free.

I repeated what my server said, “lobster grilled cheese” several times thinking that he had it mistaken for lobster mac & cheese. Brie and cheddar were melted with pieces of fresh lobster and served on toasted sourdough. Brie cheese added to the ‘gooey’ factor making each bite a multisensory and delicious experience.
Lobster is one of my passions and so I ordered the lobster and Spanish chorizo fondue.
As you might expect, the fondue, too, was extra gooey as it contained manchego cheese, cream cheese and smoked peppers. The oozing spicy mixture was enjoyable with the baguette slices. Because of the rich sauce, it’s a dish best shared with others.

I should have tried one of their desserts, but instead, my eye veered towards the pork belly tacos.
I hadn’t seen them combined with shredded cabbage, kimchi salsa and spicy sweet soy reduction and cilantro. This item was spicy and sweet, crunchy and delicate creating a satisfying culinary experience.

I indicated to my server that one of my wine preferences was pinot noirs from Willamette Valley.
Coincidentally, they had J Christopher Pinot Noir as one of the wines available by the glass. This was a bit unique for pinot noirs of the area as this was light bodied with hints of cherry. Given the chorizo in the lobster fondue, I ordered a full bodied cabernet: Plumpjack Winery - Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Reserve. This was a full bodied wine with notes of raspberries and currants that was absolutely amazing to enjoy.

Bacchus Bar and Bistro recently opened for lunch. Their lunch hours are Monday through Friday 11:30am - 2:00pm.

They have Happy Hour from 4pm - 6pm and live entertainment on Thursday through Saturday starting at 7:30pm. After the movie The Bucket List came out, many of us, including me, created one. Mine was focused on travel destinations, but being a ‘list maker’, I thought that it would be interesting to itemize other desirable accomplishments as well.

If you enjoy wine like I do, you may want to consider making a bucket list from Wine Spectator’s top 100. Prior to visiting Bacchus, I thought that was only for the well heeled customer that could afford to travel for a particular winery. Thanks to Bacchus, they bring it all together in one beautiful location. And unlike a “bar”, they have delicious food to boot!

Bacchus Bar and Bistro 
6735 Quail Hill Parkway
Irvine, CA
Bacchus Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer: this meal was hosted


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