I ate at Vinnie's tonight for the first time. As you may know, our long friend the Savoy restaurant closed and reopened under this Italian concept by owner Eric Scheffer about a month ago. I've heard that it's been a hit and full almost every night. Tonight, I left work about 7:30 pm and wanted to grab a bite. My wife decided to go to the Spa at Grove Park Inn with a friend and they were making it a full day so I was on my own for dinner. I drove the short distance to Merrimon and Vinnie's and found a parking packed with cars. One little spot in the back was still unoccupied so I grabbed it before anyone else could drive in the lot.
Walking around to the front and entering I found a restaurant as full as the parking lot. Being in the biz I immediately became green with envy - it's a Monday night! Actually I'm very happy for my friend. He has worked hard to bring a quality neighborhood restaurant and he deserves the attention. Anyway, I had two options: first a seat at the bar next to a couple I didn't know or a lone table in the back dining room which I chose. Knowing I would be taking a few notes on the evening I didn't care for my note taking to be a spectator sport.
Once at the table I ordered a cup of the minestrone and a glass of Monte Antico Rosso to start with and a side Greek salad to come with a small order of Eggplant Parmesan. The minestrone was good with vegetables cooked al dente and a nice flavor to enjoy with my wine. The wine is a simple red with dark fruit, firm but balanced tannin and a touch of earthiness - I liked it. My server Heather brought out a basket of bread offering olive oil on a plate for dipping. The ciabatta bread that was served came hot and fresh, very tasty. I had to ask who made it and was not surprised to find that it is from our friends at City Bakery. They always seem to have a wonderful product wherever I eat it.
The salad and the Eggplant parm arrived together as requested and I was a little shocked to see the portion sizes for small. I did come in hungry so powered through. A typical Greek salad with cracked pepper offered by Heather when it was served. Very enjoyable. The Eggplant was a 4"x4"x2" slice that was delicious. Yes, I ordered a second glass of wine to go with this - wonderful together also! Heather also offered fresh ground Parmesan to top off the Eggplant. She apparently knows I like all the little extras. Give her a raise Eric!
I should have stopped, but it is difficult for me to say no to tiramisu. I wanted to sleep tonight so I ordered decaf coffee (something that I rarely do - it just seems wrong). Again, I was not disappointed in either the tiramisu or the decaf. The dessert was moist, topped with dark cocoa just right and made obviously for me. The coffee was smooth and wonderful. If you're counting - yes, it was a big meal with way too many calories. Sometimes you have to stop counting.
The dinner for me came up to just over $50. including a 20% tip. So, that was four courses, two glasses of wine and a cup of coffee for one. Wow, makes me sound like a pig! Let's keep this to ourselves and not tell my wife. I don't want her to be jealous after all.
This is a must dine locale in Asheville, North Carolina.