When it came to comfort food, we opted for the Duck Confit Mac-n-Cheese and Riverside Inn Fried Chicken. There has been a lot of buzz about the fried chicken, and it did not disappoint. Named in memoriam of Riverside Inn, the fried chicken at the Wine Dive is brined and coated in a house blend of flour and spices. It’s deep-fried for just a couple of minutes and then brought up to temperature in the oven to keep the batter from burning. You can order a large plate version of this dish, but the small plate came with one piece of chicken, mashed potatoes and chipotle honey. The mac and cheese is made with a three-cheese blend of Gouda, white cheddar and Parmesan. To prepare it, the Wine Dive crisps the duck before plating and then sprinkles the top of the dish with panko breadcrumbs for texture. It was creamy, cheesy and satisfying.
For our lighter options, we chose the coconut curry steamed mussels and the grilled hanger steak. The coconut curry sauce was bright and not-too-sweet and paired well with mussels without completely overpowering them. The hanger steak came out perfectly medium rare, just like we ordered, and was topped with chimichurri, but what really set this dish apart was the white bean spread. To make the spread, which had more of a consistency of a sauce, the chefs ferment and then boil white beans. The fermentation adds an unexpected level of flavor. For dessert, we settled on dark chocolate mousse, which was just as tasty as it was pretty.
It’s clear that Pope’s years in the restaurant industry have ultimately shaped his vision for the Wine Dive. In fact, it was at Flame that he fell in love with wine. When Pope was still a server there, the wine director would hold informal wine club meetings, and it was through those meetings Pope gained much of his vino knowledge. As someone who enjoys wine but lacks much wine knowledge, I’m just going to throw it out there that if Pope decided to start hosting his own club, I’d be the first in line.