Monday, April 22, 2013

Storm Chasers--Wine Cellar Restaurant

As March turns into April, Mother Nature is supposed to be having beautiful spring showers that grow lovely May flowers…expect if you live in the Black Hills!  This spring sprouted major blizzards and snowstorms leading to many road closures and poor driving conditions! In between weekly storms, my husband and I found a day that the weather slightly cooperated (but my migraine headache did not), and we made a much anticipated trip to the Wine Cellar in downtown Rapid City. Of course, any restaurant called the Wine Cellar would have piqued my interest.  I also started following the Wine Cellar months before on Facebook, and the great daily specials and pictures of food made me pray (even more) to Mother Nature to let our drive take place to finally get to experience this establishment. 

Warm, intimate ambiance of the small seating area.

            Since we visited the Wine Cellar on a Friday night (and the seating area in the venue is quite small and intimate), I called ahead to make reservations.  The staff member who took our reservation was incredibly friendly, and we were greeted in the same friendly manner when we arrived.  We were given a menu filled with absolutely mouth-watering choices and also handed the wine menu to peruse.  I was immediately impressed with the by-the-glass options on the wine list:  over 20 different wines to choose from—which is uncommon for a restaurant of this size.  The by-the-bottle options were also very nice.  We ordered the Vero Pinot Noir from Burgundy, deciding that it would pair well with whatever food items on which we decided.  (My only wish is that restaurants in general would NOT push for patrons to order wine before patrons know what entrĂ©e they are choosing; instead, restaurant staff members need to be trained to wait for the food to be ordered before having patrons order wine, thus allowing for a better food-wine pairing.) 
Some of the by-the-glass options.
Our Pinot Noir

            The winter seasonal menu was still in use, and it was filled with multiple items I would have loved to try, both small plates and large plates.  However, the Facebook special that I had been dreaming about all day was the butternut squash lasagna, so I went with my gut instinct (pun intended) and ordered this.  I was not disappointed!  The lasagna with a slightly sweet cinnamon sauce was even better than I had imagined all day.  My other half ordered the beef special for the night, a filet with the most scrumptious garlic butter!  I really love that the chefs here do seasonal menus.  I enjoy going back to an establishment multiple times and having different options from which to choose.  Today’s Wine Cellar Facebook post stated that the spring menu will be available shortly; I look forward to returning to try it. 
The "back alley" seating area.

            After our lovely food and wine, we did have some room left for dessert, and the Wine Cellar doesn’t disappoint here either.  We were told about their signature flourless chocolate cake, but we opted for the apple cheesecake.  Oh so good!  We were too full to have coffee or dessert wine, but both were options on the menu—again, another reason to go back soon.

            Though we were forced to dodge storms to get there, the Wine Cellar is a great little jewel in downtown Rapid.  The warm, ambiance of the intimate atmosphere started a pleasant experience that was sustained through good food, quality wine, and tasty desserts.  I hope this summer the weather is less of an issue, and it is an easier attempt for me to try my taste buds on the spring/summer menu!