Wine and dine

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Vino: Despite being blacked out on the restaurant’s black awning, you can still just make out the word “Michel” at the now-shuttered Bistro Michel (1501 14th Street). There’s no new signage yet, but its replacement TableVine officially opened today.

The exterior has been painted fern green. Inside, there’s a new cream-colored limestone wall, a pervading neutral color palette and vases full of burgundy-stained wine corks. It looks brighter, more open and gives off a wine country vibe, which is exactly TableVine’s goal.

First off, TableVine isn’t a fine-dining restaurant. Owner Dan Sneed is going for something more comfortable and less stuffy. He has a fine-dining background though, having worked at Gary Danko and the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco as well as, more recently, Ella Dining Room & Bar. At TableVine, there’s no prixe fixe menu and diners can get away with spending about $20 each or splurge by building their own multicourse affair.

The executive chef is Scott McNamara, who actually headed the kitchen at Bistro Michel during its most critically acclaimed years. He left Bistro Michel to open Brasserie Capitale, which has also received generally favorable reviews. At TableVine, he’ll no longer be preparing classic French cuisine, rather, eclectic European fare. Farm-to-fork? Of course.

Currently, the menu leans Italian: Caesar salad ($7), cacio e pepe ($11), chicken marsala with polenta ($17). But there are other Mediterranean flavors, too: Portugese kale soup ($7), clams with chorizo ($15), a grilled salad topped with Spanish anchovy ($9). A pork chop veers toward Germany with Alsatian-style potatoes, sauerkraut, apples and mustard ($19). And, naturally, there’s a fancy burger ($12).

At last: Two long-discussed, much-delayed businesses should be open any day now. Hawks Provisions and Public House (1525 Alhambra Boulevard) is the casual gastropub sibling to the fine dining Hawks Restaurant in Granite Bay. It promises the same Hawks dedication to seasonal, locally sourced ingredients but with simpler Italian dishes for lunch and dinner. Though Hawks Provisions isn’t taking reservations during its soft opening period, you can snag a table starting Monday, December 21, via OpenTable.

On the drinking end of things, the Shady Lady Saloon team’s B-Side (1430 S Street) is taking over the old Monte Carlo Club space. Though there won’t be live music, there’s an emphasis on sound via deejays spinning records, which matches the vintage 1970s decor.