From the sidewalk sign to the nicely appointed restroom, Avery's Wine Bar is a welcoming spot tucked into a downtown side street of cottages, The bumpy tile underfoot, the dark wood chairs, and the warm olive green walls are accented by shocks of red in the form of a shaker-style bookcase and a huge burgundy glass platter. Upscale and intimate, the dining area is made up of a few tables and two comfy chairs. Small gold pendant lamps light the bar and standing lamps shed soft yellow light in the shape of flower petals on the walls and ceiling. Glass bricks defuse the only white light that comes from the tiny kitchen in which the chef known as "Chef Timothy" (Timothy Bodell, formerly of Pronghorn) creates the creative menu items.
Owned by the mother and daughter team of Mary Thompson and Kelly Ramey, Avery's is named after Mary's grandfather who was a longtime Central Oregon resident and invented the pump that brought water through Opal Springs Dam.
All of the wines offered on Avery's menu are listed with "Dine In" and "Take Home" prices. The menu is categorized by grape with sections dubbed "Interesting Reds" and "Interesting Whites," which encompass blends. Many of the bottles are familiar standbys; others are more original and pique curiosity. None of the wines are listed with vintages, a technique that allows the wine buyer some flexibility, but also doesn't guarantee what the diner will get. The upside is that the prices are reasonable, with most bottles ranging from $25-$35.
The wines by the glass are listed with tasting notes and appropriate pairings and the staff is happy to deliver tastes for no charge, which I find very appealing when presented with a large list. Kelly and Mary also mark their favorites as another helpful way to suggest a choice.
The food is designed to go with wine and is presented on a small-plate-type menu. Each day there are three special bruchettas, a soup and a special dessert. Everything is house made, and menu items change according to ingredient availability.
The night we stopped in, the bruschetta offerings included a black mission fig chutney with blue cheese, spinach cashew pesto and shredded Tuscan salami and goat cheese; roasted garlic and walnut puree with grated Manchego cheese rounded out the offerings - all excellent with the Knude Chardonnay.
The roasted mushrooms stuffed with Spanish Linguica sausage and drizzled with a chive crema were tempting, as was the "Bowl of Balls" - cumin and cilantro spiced meatballs in a chipolte tomato sauce, but we decided on the soup of the day and the Shrimp and Cheesy Grits. The soup was a smooth cream of fennel topped with walnut oil. The grits were rich, thick and infused with the nutty flavor of Manchego cheese, shaped into a decorative cake, topped with the grilled skewer of shrimp and a creamy remoulade. We paired all these intense flavors with glasses of Unti Zinfandel and St. Francis Red.
We finished the meal with a decadent baked apple, topped with homemade butter pecan ice cream and garnished with candied nuts, and paired with an easy drinking port from California, the Heitz Ink Grade.
Open just six weeks, Avery's already has quite a following and is offering monthly wine tastings and, starting in January, monthly wine dinners. The first will be a "Down Under" theme with dishes paired with a variety of Australian wines.Avery's Wine Bar - $
427 SW 8th Street, Redmond. 504-7111. 4-10pm Tues - Sat.