Continuing with Local Restaurant Week: Parings Wine Bar makes for a wonderful night out with great food
I’m actually not certain if I can honestly categorize Parings Wine Bar as a vegetarian restaurant. Much like another one of my favorite restaurants, it has a menu that changes, so while it provides a vegetarian option now, it might not later. It claims it’s a vegetarian restaurant on Urbanspoon, but…I’m cautious. So, fair warning right off the bat, this place may or may not be for you. As of Fall 2014, it’s a good stop for vegetarians and pescetarians alike!
A friend of mine serves at Parings right now, so she’s been inviting me to come in and dine while she’s working. Since it’s Local Restaurant Week, she’s working a little more than usual, which gave me and my husband a better variety of choices to come in and experience this wine bar.
I made reservations for 8 pm on Wednesday. Parings Wine Bar closes at 11 pm and I had insider information that there were several reservations for slightly earlier that evening, so 8 seemed a good bet. A good bet it was: when my husband and I pulled into their parking lot there weren’t a lot of spaces, but when we went inside and mentioned our reservation, we were lead through a full room to a table that had been freshly changed over.
Parings Wine Bar is in a renovated historic house in the Village of Williamsville. The inside has been remodeled well, but it does give off the effect that you’re walking into someone’s home once you’re through the door. Parings decor could use a facelift: it’s a bit dated in today’s booming restaurant business, but it’s not garish either…next year it might be garish, but right now it’s OK.
My server friend, Dominique, came over in short order to greet us and see if she could answer any questions about the LRW menu. She said they had been slammed all evening and it was just now letting up, so our timing was perfect. She let us take another minute to look over the menu and decide on something. My husband and I settled on the LRW special of two wine flights and a cheese plate for $20.14. Since we hadn’t eaten anything since about noon, we also we ahead and ordered dinners: he ordered the Small Plate of Asian Chicken Skewers served with homemade tahini sauce, and I ordered the entree of Pumpkin Ravioli.
When Dominique came back to take our order, we were ready. For my wine flight I ordered the Greystone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, the Artazuri, and a third red that’s not on Parings online wine list, but it was excellent to finish on. My husband went for the Il Bastardo, Sangiovese 2011, to which Dominique immediately responded with “excellent choice,” the 2011 Padrillos Malbec, and…I’m not certain what his third was, I wasn’t paying close enough attention. My bad.
First she brought out the cheese plate. The cheeses were cubed swiss, cheddar, and pepper jack, served with grapes and a variety of crackers. Not too long after that she and another server returned with our wine flights. After about the first wine in, she had our entrees at our table, so Parings kitchen gets two thumbs up for promptness! There’s really nothing worse than waiting forever for your food at 8 in the evening, is there? Right, they seem to be on to that.
My husband and I kept a side plate so I could share a pumpkin raviolo with him. I was expecting perhaps four or five large raviolo, but there were several hearty-looking homemade ravioli on the plate sautéed with a maple brown-butter sauce and topped with a few chopped pecans. The pumpkin ravioli was incredible: the filling was scrumptious and seasoned with cinnamon. Certainly while the dough was homemade, the pumpkin filling had originally been canned but altered very well. As I’ve cooked with baking pumpkins, it’s hard to get the smooth consistency that comes out of canned pumpkin, and why make life harder when the hard work is done for you? I believe the filling was savory, but between the selection of spices used and the sweetness of the sauce, it was all a touch too sweet for my current taste buds. Had I been served this dish when I was 22, you wouldn’t hear the end of it. It’s exactly what I had been trying to make as a budding home-cook in my youth. That being said, my husband and I cleared the plate. He doesn’t like squash in the least and he ate four of the ravioli; I was surprised.
Parings Wine Bar delivered a fantastic dining experience for me and my husband. Once all was said and done, the price was very fair for the value we received. Not only was the wine list to choose from extensive and the service wonderful (not only from Dominique, but as I watched the other servers I could see everyone was very attentive to their tables needs and comfort), but the food was excellent. Sometimes wine bars don’t deliver in the food arena, but that’s not the case here. Everything we had was perfectly cooked and tasted wonderful! If you’re pescetarian, you can eat here at any time and I certainly recommend it.
I enjoyed the Parings experience so much I reached out to them through their Contact Us page and asked if there were vegetarian options available all times of the year. They quickly responded (think of your upcoming parties, people) and said this:
Thank you so much for your wonderful review!
Our standard menu has a lot of vegetarian options:
Stuffed Banana Peppers
(the above two are stuffed with feta, roasted red peppers and spinach)
Italian Sampler – may be made without meat and double cheese
Crostini – goat cheese and apples
Nut glazed Brie
Spinach Artichoke Dip
along with various paninis , flatbreads and mac n cheese ; all without meat!
On our current specials menu we have the Pumpkin Ravioli (which you had)
– and Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower ( tastes like a Buffalo Wing)
We also have a lot of seafood options.
Hope this helps…and once again Thank you for the great review!
It was so kind! They were very gracious, kind, and quick to respond. Definitely huge points for that! So now we know for sure Parings is certainly accommodating to vegetarians, and with that I can recommend this wine bar with full confidence to our readers!
Read our Yelp review of Parings Wine Bar!