With a meld of Old-World clubbiness and metro piano bar, Cave à Vin on State Street in New Haven is the culmination of Linda Fitzpatrick’s lifelong love of wine. Having spent years traveling to grape-growing regions throughout the world and domestically, later working for a winery and then a wine distributor, she saw a need in New Haven for a restaurant that targets wine lovers.
Offering over 60 wines, arranged by description (fruity, floral, etc.), ranging from the well-known chardonnays (Fitzpatrick’s favorite) to the more obscure Cigarzin, each offering comes with detailed description in the menu to assist in choosing. Still stumped? Wine flights are a great way to taste your way through the myriad choices.
Chef Jamie Trumbull, working out of a tiny, one-person kitchen produces light fare to pair with all that vino. Hand-cutting the many cheeses for each platter slows down the serving time, but it’s worth the wait. The fresh fruit and meat additions to the platters – like grilled New Bedford linguica with Jamie’s own brown mustard – paired with yet one more wine choice makes for the quintessential wine-bar experience. For entrees, Trumbull turns out paninis, bruschettas and salads, usually with the restaurant’s featured cheeses as star ingredients.
Fitzpatrick, along with her beau Tony Fernades and chef Trumbull, easily make visitors feel they have found new best friends as soon as they walk in the door.
Restaurant Website: http://www.caveavinwinebar.com/
• The Detes: 975 State St., New Haven • 203-777-6206 • Open daily at 4 p.m.
• Price Range: Salads $12-15, Appetizers $8-10, Paninis $10
• Style of Food: Wine-bar light
• Most Popular Dishes: Bruschetta, pulled pork, hand-cut cheese boards
• Wines, wines, wines: 60-65 different wines; wine flights of three, two-ounce pours $4-12
• Good to know: It’s a tiny, one-person kitchen. When you order a cheese platter it’s hand cut from the wheel so food can take a bit longer to get to the table.
• Music and Art: Enjoy acoustic music on Fridays and jazz on Saturday nights (Cave à Vin is one of the New Haven Jazz Festival sites on Aug. 10 and 11) and changing art exhibits by local artists.