Hunting for Happy Hour: D’vine
Thursday night I was home alone and itching to get out of the house – on foot – and go in search of the often elusive (in other cities I’ve lived) Happy Hour. After walking a few blocks I was distracted by a ray of sunshine (seriously) and had to take a few photos which led me across a parking lot to get just the right angle. Finally satisfied with the shot I looked up and saw a restaurant with spectacular curb appeal and decided it was as good a place as any to begin my search.
The outdoor seating area at D’vine is dotted with flowers and strung with lights for evening diners. Perfect. At least, I hope its perfect.
I soon discover that Happy Hour is Monday-Friday from 4pm-7pm and specials include $2 Domestic Beers, $4 Mixed Drinks, $5 Select Wines, $5 Specialty Martinis, 1/2 off Pizza and Apps. Still perfect in my book but there is more to the equation than just cheap eats so I decide to find out more.
Seating is sometimes a deal breaker. No, I don’t want to sit at the bar to order a special. I will, but I don’t like being restricted. At D’vine it’s diner’s choice and this diner chooses a street side table.
The atmosphere is cozy with a mix of seating styles including what can only be described as the Love Bench from the looks of things. I’m referring to the couple who were eyeing each other across a glass of wine when I arrived and canoodling side by side by the time I left. But I digress…
Since I’m new in the neighborhood I also want to create a stash of take home menus. Sadly, that’s not an option at D’vine. However, they get high marks for a website that’s user friendly, well designed, and provides all the info I need – including their Twitter Link and Face Book Page.
They also offer my favorite drink choice – a Flight of Wine. I adore sampling three varietals in one sitting without getting toasted and have thus discovered labels I might not have tried. Tim tells me the real deal is Monday and Tuesday night when bottles between $50-$100 are half price. On Wednesday all flights ($15 and less) are also half-off. Next Wednesday I’m thinking a group outing may be on the calendar!
Who is Tim you ask? Only THE BEST bartender/server I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I quickly learn he lives in the neighborhood and works at D’vine and The Naughty Mermaid. His personality is casual and inviting. His knowledge is spot on. His local tips are all now scribbled in my book of things to do. He even caught me by surprise during dinner. He remembered (and used) my name after only a quick introduction when I arrived. When was the last time you had a server call you by name when they checked on you?
Tim clues me in that Chef Robert Broka (which may mean a lot to Clevelanders but I’m new in town so I’ll have to google him later) can sometimes be found cooking up Tuna Nachos on local television programs. How fortunate, that’s exactly what I’m ordering!
Before they arrive I’m almost driven inside by an unexpected storm cloud of rain, but quickly realize D’vine also has covered seating and simply move myself, my cocktail, and my belongings over two tables.
Oh – I almost forgot to tell you about my cocktail. Perhaps because I’ve been feeling so in love with Cleveland since moving here, I pass on the flight and order The Flirt. It’s a specialty martini featuring Cherry Vodka, Triple Sec, Pineapple and Cranberry. It arrives with a frothy top, not too sweet, a single cheery submerged in the stem of the martini glass, and half an orange floating on top – and at just $5 it’s a steal. Especially since they don’t stock cheap stuff at this bar, even during Happy Hour. Nice job Tim!
My Tuna Nachos arrive after the move to cover. The first thing to impress me are the lighter than air wontons. I can see how light they are before I even touch, much less taste the dish. In the first bite there are creamy flavors, a little salt, something slightly sweet… I think this may be what is referred to as Umami. The tuna is lightly seared but still cold. A delicious bite punctuated with a hint of scallion. A tasty way to spend $5.50 (or $11 for that matter).
According to the menu (because I know some people want specifics) the dish is seared Ahi Tuna, bell peppers, green onion, wonton chips, wasabi, sour cream and soy sauce.
What else can I tell you? They have internet – a perk for a blogging diner. The space can be booked for parties and small events – a good thing to remember since I’m also an event planner. I recall a something about ladies night, but I forgot to ask when that happens. Maybe you can tell me in the comment box below?
Total with tax $11.30 – a sweet deal on a sweet night in Cleveland. Yes, I paid for my meal and was not swapped good food for good words. That’s just what you get when you impress me.D’vine WINE * BEER * TAPAS 836 West St. Clair Ave 216.241.8463 Mon-Sat 4:00 – close Sun call for hours
On the way out the door a local artist’s work caught my eye. Wouldn’t you know, Tim appeared with her card after he noticed me taking a closer look. I’m telling you, he is on top of his game.
Colleen Marie Smith’s work is also on top of the game – literally. My first impression is that her work is composed of sporting images (like helmets and team names) layered over other sporting images (like news clippings and collector’s cards). Very cool. Very Cleveland. I’ll have to check out Colleen Marie Smith’s website when I have more time. You should too – just click the photo below.