"We want to try and get people to try things they wouldn't try themselves," says Don Sritong, Beverage Director and Partner at Coppervine Restaurant in Chicago.
When you think of pairing menus, many typically don't associate them with flexibility. More often than not, I opt of out dining at such establishments since the portions are typically small and the fare is usually overpriced. If that isn’t enough reason to avoid such restaurants, I’m a wine fan and don’t like every spirit under the sun and can only do so much beer. The fact that I eat predominantly plant-based doesn’t help my cause either. Prix fixe, pairing menus, are set in stone 95% of the time and Chef’s are not keen on switching things up to make you happy.
Coppervine, a dimly lit, contemporary, pairing concept, located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago offers guests flexibility in their dining experience. Just seven months young, each menu item is thoughtfully harmonized with a beer, wine or hand crafted cocktail. If you don't like hard liquor, no worries, you can pair your dish with a beer. If you dont want to pair at all, you can order water or whatever you'd like (which is quite nice). But if you are a wine snob, you’re in for a treat, Beverage Director and Partner; Don Sritong is a trained Sommelier and managing partner at Just Grapes in Gold Coast.
"We want to create a magical experience through pairing," says Sritong.
My experience at Coppervine was unique in that I was joined by a small group of other Chicago Food Bloggers, of which, I was the only one eating predominantly plant-based. Executive Chef David Wang did a good job at accommodating my dietary needs and omitted dairy on most every selection. However, he did not do a fully vegan menu for me as I said some seafood was okay.
"When we first wrote the menu, we didn't fully understand dietary restrictions. Now we do and we do our best to accommodate," says Sritong
I wish I could have tried a 100 % plant-based menu to give Coppervine a fair review, as this is the way I prefer to eat. As far as the drinks go, they were good. The Four Grapes cocktail was noteworthy and the food was decent. I think they have some work to do on the plant-based front, but my company seemed to thoroughly enjoy each dish that was served.
My advice is to try Coppervine for yourself. Go with friends; order a bunch of plates and share. Discuss the pairings, take a sip and pass. The service was good and the owner is very passionate about his work. If Coppervine were to offer a full vegan or plant-based menu, I would go back. It’s fun to try a bunch of different flavor combinations and drive the experience.
If you are going to eat 100% plant-based or vegan, give the restaurant a call in advance of your reservation so they can plan ahead. It is the polite thing to do.
Have you tried Coppervine? What were your thoughts?
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