I had a preview dinner at the new Glass & Vine restaurant in Peacock Park, at the Glass House. The restaurant will be open for business starting Friday, March 18, according to Francesco Balli, one of the partners from Grove Bay Hospitality Group, owner of the business along with award-winning chef Giorgio Rapicavoli (shown here). They will do dinner only at first, maybe for a month or so, from 4 to 10 pm weekdays and until 11 pm weekends and then they will ease in lunch. The bar will be open later and they'll play that by ear to see how the crowd is. But it looks like they have a hit on their hands. Giorgio was in the kitchen the whole time and his hand touched every dish that came out.
Jessica, Diana and Diana, greeted us when we arrived. We got there when it was light out and ended up leaving after dark. The staff is very well trained, they can tell you anything about anything - where the olives come from, how the panna cotta is made, etc.
Our waiter Julio Zwez was proof of that. He was a walking dictionary on everything that was served including the wine.
We started out with what I think will be one of the most popular items - the marinated olives, prosciutto la quercia and crispy warm bread from Zak the Baker with warm butter and olive oil.
I think my favorite item was the Lamb Ribs with "305" spice, peanut and mint. It's spicy and tender.
The place is warm and inviting, there is plenty of seating (enough for 200 people) and it's got a cosmopolitan feel to it since it's right out on McFarlane Road. From where we sat, we could see Peacock Garden Cafe lit up across the street and the non-stop movement of traffic in between. We were also surrounded by trees from our vantage point, so it was like a hideaway at the same time.
The bar is half inside and half outside, with a wall of windows that can close up and separate the two. Barbaro Dominguez, the bar manager, was on top of everything there and general manager Emilio Eliades was everywhere at once. The assistant general manager Patrick Devine was at our table a lot, very attentive, as is the whole staff. There is a large staff, and they all seemed happy and proud to be there. It's a far cry from when it was the Chamber of Commerce office.
The housemade Bucatini was perfect, made with sea urchin butter, citrus and rock shrimp. The pasta is made in house daily.
Inside is cozy and there is a lot of room for seating. There's one very long table in the center of the room that seats 20 or more people.
We finished with the penna cotta with mint and tomatoes.
We also had white wine, a Peacock Punch and Parkside Sour drink, Whole Roasted Broccoli and a Raw Scallop Waldorf salad.
Even more than lunch and dinner, I can see people just stopping by to spend time at the bar, it's right on the park, right on a main road, the night we were there was breezy and cool. It's a place where you'll want to hang out.
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