Heard on "Dining With Dills" KABC 790 TalkRadio / Wine Country

WINING & DINING IN THE WEST VALLEY…BY THE GLASS

There aren’t very many places in the West Valley that offer more than half a dozen “wines by the glass” and sometimes, the wine selections are limited at best.  Call me picky, heck call me a wine snob but having enjoyed some of the best wines bottled around the world, my palate has become somewhat sophisticated over the last several years. I’m not a wine expert per se but having been drinking wine for the last 15 years and participating in a number of wine tastings, I think I know a thing or two about wine. I’m not afraid to utilize the knowledge of wine experts, or sommeliers as they are professionally known as (if I had the opportunity for a “do over” on a career choice, I would either own a winery or be a professional sommelier). Sommeliers have educated me in the art of wine and there is still so much to learn!

I want to see a greater selection of wines by the glass without having to splurge on an entire bottle and I also want to see a menu that offers a variety of reasonably priced wines by the glass. There are two restaurants in the West Valley that go above and beyond the obligatory wine by the glass list which inspires one to taste outside of their comfort zone and expand their individual wine repertoire.  Both restaurants feature wines from all over the world: Australia, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, and Italy to name a few, as well as U.S. bottled wines from California, Oregon, and Washington.  Both offer a generous collection of wines: from your Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and Sauvignon Blancs to your Merlots, Syrahs, Cabernets and even Champagnes and Ports! And both offer wines by the glass which are reasonable in price and premium selections for those who want to kick it up a notch!

FLEMINGS STEAKHOUSE & WINE BAR is a well-known prime steakhouse with several locations throughout the U.S. In addition to their exceptional food, they are also known for their extensive wine list, of which 100 different varieties from regions all over the world are available…by the glass! Known as Fleming’s 100, this award winning collection offers 30 wines from this list for $10 a glass or less.

Fleming’s also offers a unique Wine Flight Tasting Program which allows guests to taste a trio of two ounce servings of wine from the Fleming’s 100 list. This allows the wine enthusiast to enjoy and try out new wine varieties that may become personal favorites.

Fleming’s Happy Hour features “5 for $6 ‘Til 7” which means 5 cocktails, 5 wines by the glass and 5 appetizers at $6 each, served at the bar until 7:00 pm. You can enjoy a sparkling Cava Aria from Spain or a Red Diamond Merlot from Washington for $6 a glass. Hungry? You can order Tenderloin Carpaccio, Sweet Chile Calamari, Wicked Cajon Barbecue Shrimp, Seared Ahi Tuna or a Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail for $6 each. They’ve even added Fleming’s Prime Burger with Cheese and Bacon to the Happy Hour menu for only $6! Now that’s a deal!

BLEECKER STREET is a hidden gem in the newly redeveloped area of Tarzana located off of Ventura Boulevard. Inspired by the eateries in New York’s Lower Manhattan, Bleeker Street’s wine collection is nothing short of amazing—it boasts an 1,800 bottle wine cellar! The restaurant offers a respectable 64 different wines by the glass from all over the world.

Happy Hour at Bleecker Street is 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily, with half off of select wines served at the bar only. On Wednesdays, the restaurant hosts Master of the Magnum where a featured premium wine is introduced and served below cost until the wine runs out! And for those of you who enjoy food & wine pairing events, every third Tuesday of the month will feature a themed menu which is not normally part of Bleecker Street’s dinner menu. A variety of wines from one region will be paired with each of the four entrées to be served. July’s theme (July 20) is “Spanish” so of course, the wines featured will be from Spain. August’s theme will be South Pacific and the theme for September will be Moroccan. It is highly recommended that you make a reservation if you would like to participate in this monthly event.

Bleeker Street offers a Bar Menu separate from their regular food menu to enjoy with your wine such as a Cheese & Fruit Plate ($10.75), Proscuitto with Asparagus, Cantaloupe and Lime ($9) and Steamed Manila Clams with roasted garlic, Spanish Chorizo Sausage, Tomatoes in a Chablis broth ($9).

How does one keep all this wine in premium condition, especially if you are offering it by the glass, so that it taste as good as the first time the cork comes off of the bottle? Bleecker Street employs this really cool state of the art system that keeps wine killing oxygen out called an Argon Cuvenee to preserve uncorked wine for up to six weeks. Think “wine on tap”. Bottles are artfully displayed like a backsplash on the wall behind the bar in glass-fronted stainless steel refrigerators with taps on the outside and hoses that are looped so that the oxygen is kept out by forcing in argon, an inert gas which aids in preserving wine longer than if stored in the conventional way. My understanding is that Bleecker Street is the only restaurant in the West Valley that has this type of system.

 

Bleecker Street's Argon Cuvenee System

 

Both Fleming’s and Bleecker Street are two great places to experience different types of wines from around the world, by the glass without having to get a passport stamp! Now that’s something to toast about!

BLEECKER STREET
18640 Ventura Boulevard (corner of Ventura & Yolanda)
Tarzana, CA 92356
(818) 996-3008
Website: http://www.thebleeckerstreet.com

Special thanks and shout out to Bleecker Street’s Gary Woodbury (Operations Partner), Joey Nader (Manager) and our fabulous server, Jason.

FLEMINGS STEAKHOUSE & WINE BAR
6373 Topanga Canyon Boulevard (corner of Victory & Topanga Canyon)
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
(818) 346-1005
Website: http://www.flemingssteakhouse.com/

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