Catch your next flight at the alluring Vertical Wine Bistro in Old Town Pasadena.
The best place to catch international flights in L.A. is not the Tom Bradley Terminal. It’s Vertical Wine Bistro in Pasadena, a wining and dining destination that caters to a different breed of “flight enthusiast.” For those who appreciate superb wines by the glass, bottle and flight, this delightful boîte is a welcome departure.
Leave your luggage at home, but bring your spirit of adventure, because a trip to Vertical Wine Bistro promises a world-class wine tour without the customs inspection. The wine list features a stunning collection of over 400 wines and ambles blissfully through France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Greece, Chile, Australia and the USA.
Chic and charming, the Vertical vibe is refreshingly balanced — just the right amount of swanky, yet not a bit pretentious. Awash in golden hues and rich chocolate tones, the warmly lit dining room casts a soft, appealing glow. Elegant, comfortable booths and a sleek fireplace add to the inviting ambience. A stunning glass-enclosed wine cellar separates the dining room from the vibrant lounge of this stylish, cordial wine bistro.
In the lively bar area, be sure to try the warm, wonderful corn fritters topped with cured salmon and a drizzle of crème fraiche. Or, splurge on a decadently fun pairing — order a glass of Les Mesnil Blanc de Blancs and enjoy it with the crisp shoestring fries perfumed with magnificent black truffle oil. There’s also an exquisite selection of artisanal cheeses such as Vacherin Mont d’Or and Quadrello di Bufala.
The dining room features bistro-inspired favorites and refined adaptations of rustic fare. Standouts include the Steak Tartare with Quail Egg and the Black Cod in lobster peppercorn jus, lovely with a full-bodied white or even a light, fruity red. A yellowtail salad with daikon sprouts is overpowered by bits of grapefruit. But another excellent choice is the Sonoma County Lamb Top Sirloin on a bed of Israeli cous cous. The cut is succulent and nicely seasoned, and pairs wonderfully with the spiciness and dark berry flavors of the Lioco Michaud Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Executive Chef Doug Weston’s inspired menu of fresh, seasonal cuisine and satisfying small plates is creatively conceived and beautifully presented. His cooking shows flashes of invention without trying too hard. Best of all, it’s perfectly calibrated for the bistro’s extensive wine list.
Wine novices can feel at ease in the very capable hands of their servers who will deftly guide their food and wine exploits. The staff is attentive, friendly, knowledgeable, and of course, wine-savvy. Thrill seekers should order the “Wine Dude Flight” for a custom wine-tasting experience designed for each guest’s particular palate. Whether one is going vertical (different vintages of the same wine) or horizontal (same vintage year of a wine from different wineries), the availability of nearly 100 wines by the glass provides the ideal opportunity to explore, compare and contrast vintages.
Vertical’s versatility as both a wine bar/lounge and a dining room presents two distinct yet equally enjoyable scenes. The lounge has become a favorite spot for after-work unwinding and casual group gatherings. Happy hours are so happy here that Vertical does it twice — Tuesday through Sunday from 5 – 7 p.m., then a late-night version from 10 p.m. to midnight on Tuesday through Thursday. Guests receive 25 percent off food along with discounts on specialty cocktails, beers and select wines by the glass. On the other side of the glass-enclosed wine cellar, the dining room’s fabulous food, service and atmosphere are perfect for a special date or treasured meal with friends.
This modern wine bistro delights the senses with an intelligent wine selection, inventive food pairings and luxe design sensibility. More importantly, Vertical Wine Bistro authenticates Pasadena’s recent emergence as a legitimate dining and wining destination.
Perhaps the only caveat in an evening at Vertical is akin to jetting off to the Louvre in Paris; it’s impossible to experience all the spectacular offerings in one excursion. There are so many delicious, imaginative choices and pairing possibilities that it’s certainly worth a return trip.
Feeling flighty? Stricken with a case of wine wanderlust? Then book your escape to Vertical Wine Bistro.
Copyright © Michelle Gigon / 2010 Singular Communications, LLC.