Lexington’s restaurant scene has always been one of its greatest assets, and new local eateries continue to pop up across the city to add flavor to our days and nights. I recently had a great dinner experience at Enoteca, located at the corner of Second and Jefferson Streets downtown. Meaning “wine bar” in Italian, Enoteca features a tapas style menu with a wide variety of small plates, wines to fit many tastes, and a plentiful selection of Kentucky bourbons and craft beers.
As more of a visualist than a foodie, my favorite part of Enoteca is its decor. The restaurant’s atmosphere feels inviting from the moment you walk in. It’s housed in a building that dates back to the 1830’s or 1840’s, and the front room showcases beautiful exposed brick that Iooks original. Clear pendant lights illuminate the modern white bar top and the open metal and glass shelves holding many nicely arranged bottles of spirits. Off to the left is a lounge with beautiful wood on the walls and floors, a multi-level wine rack that adds interest to the back wall of the room, and three sets of accent chairs and low tables for informal gatherings. The next room is quite a bit more modern, featuring bar seating on one wall and multiple small tables with chairs and a bench on the other wall. Trendy mirrors reflect light from candles and recessed ceiling lights to create a great dining room. The back room has a warmer, woodsy feel with a restored brick fireplace, traditional white chandelier, and reclaimed wood dining tables. A wooden, carved bust of a buck deer watches over the room from above the fireplace with a wreath of greenery around his neck.
My friend, Sara, has been to Enoteca many times, and her recommendations were perfect. From our table next to the fireplace, I enjoyed grilled brussel sprouts and stuffed mushrooms, both including manchego cheese, and marcona almonds. Sara also tried the mushrooms and had a green salad. To top off the evening, we each had bread pudding with Willet Bourbon sauce. I would definitely recommend each option, and I look forward to going back to trying other enticing items on the menu. Next on my list are the Cauliflower Gratin with country ham, garlic, gruyère, and cheddar and the Chicken Pincho Skewers spiced with paprika, oregano, garlic, and wine. Enoteca’s large wine list allows guests to order wine by the bottle, glass, or small pour for tasting. Considering that the owners of Enoteca also own Wine + Market across the street, it’s not surprising that all three varieties of red wine that I tried were delicious and allowed me to sample from wineries that I might never have heard of otherwise.
Just a few short years ago, Jefferson Street featured only one restaurant and little foot traffic. Now, the area is a flourishing downtown restaurant district, and Enoteca provides a perfect anchor to the line of local dining destinations. Its welcoming atmosphere and varied menu definitely made me want to come back for a return visit. I encourage you to try it if you haven’t yet!
© Copyright 2015 Amelia Adams