City Group Hospitality is opening its latest concept next week in Long Farm Village. Proverbial Wine Bistro is about thoughtful pairings of food with not just wine, but craft beer and detailed cocktails as well, says City Group Hospitality managing partner Stephen Hightower. For the last few months, Hightower has been quietly working on opening the concept, located in the spot recently held by Wildwood Pizza.
“We really wanted to do something different here, and let the cocktails, wines and beer help tell the story of the food,” Hightower says.
City Group’s strategy in refining the concept has included hiring mixologist Alan Walter, well known for transforming the Loa Bar at the International House Hotel in New Orleans into one of the city’s hottest spots. With cocktails awash in foraged local ingredients and tedious preparation methods, Walter is famous for applying a culinary approach to each layer of cocktail construction. Along with establishing Proverbial’s bar program, he will help City Group Hospitality’s other restaurants rethink how drinks support their menus.
“I think the (Proverbial) staff is going to have a blast making clever suggestions about what might go with this or that,” Walter says. “The eating experience is very relaxed and casual; it’s more like grazing.”
Chris Culotta is Proverbial’s general manager, and Steven O’Neill is its executive chef. O’Neill most recently worked under executive chef David Dickensauge at Beausoleil Coastal Cuisine, another City Group establishment. Here, he turns out a menu that’s approach is deliberately communal, and asks you to park your protein-starch-veggie entree prejudices at the door. That hottest of current culinary trends—food boards—come in many variations for dinner, dessert and brunch.
The steakhouse-inspired “Godfather” board, assembles a grilled 16-ounce ribeye with duck fat-roasted fingerling potatoes, spinach Rockefeller, roasted cauliflower, roasted garlic, sautéed mushrooms, and an inviting ramekin of housemade Worcestershire sauce. On the vegetarian board, grilled and marinated Portobello mushroom caps mingle with harissa carrots, pressed watermelon salad, roasted golden beets with feta, fresh bread slices and a bee pollen-dusted honeycomb, with fresh granola.
The menu also includes other shareable appetizers, salads and small plates, as well as some traditional entrees.
Along with detailed cocktails, the restaurant aims to introduce diners to new wines, says wine manager Hilary Haniff.
“Our biggest focus on the wine list is going to be to try and introduce people to unfamiliar varietals or regions,” she says. “But we’ll also have those regions and varietals you’re more familiar with. I’m looking forward to asking customers what kinds of profiles they’re looking for, and suggesting something they’ll enjoy.”