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New Restaurant: Peasant Wine Bistro Opens in Tarzana

Posted By Karen Young On March 13, 2013 @ 12:08 am In Bar/Pub/Taverns,Catering,Cuisine,Dinner,Eat,Featured,Food,Gourmet/Market Cafe,Italian,My Daily Find,Pizza,Restaurants,spotlight,Tapas | No Comments

kynewpic110BY KAREN YOUNG

 

 

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    Deviled Eggs (click to enlarge)
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    Kale Caesar Salad (click to enlarge)
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Tarzana has a new neighborhood restaurant — and from what I could tell in just one visit, it might just be around awhile — that is — if people can find it.  Restaurateur Greg Woodbury opened Peasant Wine Bistro  on February 21 in a strip mall anchored by IHOP just west of  Vanalden on Ventura Blvd., however, to get there you need to walk straight back past IHOP and into a little patio area. There’s no sign yet. Once inside,  it’s quite the “find.”

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs topped with Prosciutto. Photos:Karen Young

Woodbury was one of the principal owners of Bleecker Street (also in Tarzana), but bowed out after the first eleven months.   He said he opened Peasant  Wine Bistro at the request of customers who missed his presence and urged him to bring back his worldly brand of food and wine mixed with fun back to Tarzana.

His new eatery has a similar feel to Bleecker with a New York east village ambiance, but on a smaller, cozier, quieter, more sophisticated scale. Woodbury engaged Bleecker’s original executive chef,  Marcel Vinson (who has an impressive pedigree that includes training with Joël Robuchon and helming top L.A. restaurants), who has created an eclectic menu of moderately priced seasonal charcuterie and cheese boards, small plates, salads,  soups, pasta, pizzas, burgers (kobe and lamb), and entrees which are divided into “Flying” (coq au vin and chicken parmigiana or milanese), “Swimming”  (cedar plank salmon and red snapper en papillote) and  ”Running” (lamb shank and steak). The dessert menu includes a chocolate soufflé and crispy apple tartin which are both prepared in the pizza oven; mixed berries with a drizzle of Grand Marnier; Dandy Don’s homemade ice cream; and  a choice of mango or blackberry cabernet sauvignon, which Woodbury says “tastes like a full bodied glass of wine.” The menu is slated to change every couple of months with specials offered  a few days a week depending on what local farmers have available.

Salmon Tartar

Salmon Tartar

We started with the deviled eggs which were richly whipped and topped with prosciutto for a perfectly tangy, decadent bite.  Next up was densely stacked smoked salmon tartare with a spicy lemon ginger vinaigrette accompanied by a sesame tuille (wonton type crisp).  It’s a  refreshing change from tuna tartar that appears on most every menu.  The kale caesar salad has a mild anchovy dressing with a creative twist of  charred greens. I chose the red snapper en papillote for my entree which was cooked in the wood burning pizza oven.  It was incredibly moist and flavorful, wrapped in foil and parchment paper, and prepared with a white wine sauce, julienned vegetables and  lemon. My dining partner ordered the wood fired pizza topped with a very generous amount of spicy lamb meatballs, tomato salsa, kalamata olives and feta cheese.   There are about six types of  10″ thin crust  pizzas offered on the menu.

Kale Caesar Salad

Kale Caesar Salad

Woodbury put in a tremendous amount of work designing and building this location which had previous incarnations as a Chinese restaurant and a Mexican restaurant.  The space is long and narrow with a few private tables set in two separate enclaves, while the  main seating area is positioned against a long banquette. He has combined modern elements with a sophisticated western flair — rosemary plants slyly welcome in the entry, there’s handmade high and low wood tables built from old doors and glass, vintage glass chandeliers, candelabras, wood planked walls with sparkling lights peeping through, rustic leather tufted seating, and a long bar perfect for enjoying a glass of wine,  small bites and a cheese/meat board. The evening I visited, piped in music from the 1940s ( a la Artie Shaw) filled the air. Even the restrooms are worth the visit — the original spanish tile remains with the addition of rustic steel doors.

Lamb

Pizza topped with spicy lamb meatballs, tomato salsa, kalamata olives and feta cheese.

A surprise and highlight at Peasant Wine Bistro is the temperature controlled wine cellar (59 degrees) that houses nearly 250  labels (with more coming) from around the world and offers 40 by the glass that are hand selected as the menu changes.  Woodbury shares sommelier duties with Damon Barnett. There’s also 15 to 20 bottled craft beers.  In the bar area, there is a wine cuvenee  that prevents oxidation so wine can be dispensed for up to 90 days.

Red

Red Snapper En Papillote is cooked in the pizza oven.

Upcoming this Saturday is the first evening of soft jazz by the band Oui 3 beginning at 8:30 p.m.  Acoustic sets will be planned weekly with dates to be announced.

Peasant Wine Bistro is definitely a welcome addition to the west valley.

Peasant Wine Bistro, 19100 Ventura Blvd. Tarzana (just west of Vanalden). Free parking in lot. Hours: Tues-Sun 5 p.m.- midnight.) Opening on Mondays beginning March 25.  Peasant Wine Bistro will serve  Sunday brunch starting with Mother’s Day.  

Attire: Nice/Casual

Small plates ($4-$10), Salads ($8-$10), Soups ($6-$10), Burgers ($11-$12), Pizza ($10-$14), Entrees ($14-$19),  Pasta ($10-$14)

Got news? Tips? Email: Karen@mydailyfind.com  Comments? Share your thoughts below!

 

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