Normally after experiencing a high-quality food establishment I tend to gush about it on these digital pages rather quickly. I don’t know if it’s yet another sign of my dwindling energy for blogging or that it simply slipped my mind, but I’ve been to Secco Wine Bar in Carytown four times since May 14th and I’m just now writing about it outside of Twitter.
Secco (Italian for “dry” – hence the up-turned bottle, I think) is the long-in-the-making brainchild of Julia Battaglini, the owner of next door’s River City Cellars, and it supplements RCC’s fine selection of wines, cheeses, and beer with a clever dining menu. That is to say if you enjoy shopping at RCC then you probably already like about 1/2 of what they serve at Secco. What you won’t find in the retail side, however, are some of the spectacular edibles such as their duck terrine with pistachios and dried cherries (wrapped in jamon Serrano, I believe), passatelli in brodo (a fresh pasta soup), pork confit sandwich, or flamenquines (pork cutlet rolled with more Serrano, breaded and fried).
The quality of the ingredients and the presentation are of a high level and, most impressively, quite affordable. The menu indicates “small plates” but the portions, while not the over-sized helpings of your average restaurant, are typically plenty for lunch. You can still put together dinner for between $10 and $20 pretty easily, and seemingly half of the excellent wines-by-the glass are around $5. Secco’s menu favors sampling and sharing, and the prices make it a great entry point to fine dining in Richmond. When I consider the comfortable atmosphere and friendly staff, however, Secco also invites you to become a regular, serving equally well as a place to meet with friends or simply chat with the bar tender.
I think I may stop by for a glass of cava tomorrow evening, in fact.