The long good pour: Brasserie Du Vin
Although wine snobs may insist on outsize ballons, I like a smaller glass filled almost to the brim. It’s the traditional way a host makes you feel welcome, and lets you know you’re in a generous place. Nor do you drink out of fishbowls in a French bistro, the inspiration for Brasserie Du Vin.
A long, gleaming wood bar with brass footrails stretches nearly from the entrance to the ochre-walled courtyard that must have been imported from the Left Bank. On a recent drizzly evening, I stopped in for a takeout order of crab. The cheery bartender offered a drink while I waited, and I thought: Why not? I was rewarded with a brimming glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Brasserie Du Vin, by the way, has won Wine Spectator’s Award for Excellence for five straight years.
Just across from the Hawaii theater, it’s perfect for a pre-show drink and pupu. Wines by the glass start at $8. From 4–6pm, blue crab cakes on a bed of Nalo greens are $7; baked Brie with Dr. Kliks’ Manoa honey is $9, as are moules frites.
The sweet short pour: Vino Italian Tapas and Wine Bar
When both taste and price are diverse, that’s sweet. Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya, of Vino and Hiroshi, its neighbor (also owned by D.K. Kodama), handpicks wines that partner with the Ligurian-influenced cuisine.
At Vino, a small pour comes with a small price. The “tasting pours” are $2.50-5.75 for 2oz., and $5.50-$8.95 for 5oz.
Every month comes with its special Vino menu. Oct. 18 is “Vintage Steak” night; Oct. 20 is “Taste of Tuscany”; on Oct. 25, “Standout Pinot Noirs” coincide with “Homemade Pasta Night”. Vino and Hiroshi also established crab nights well before the current trend. Such variety keeps everyone on their peeky toes.