Tucson restaurant news: Elle Wine Bistro – opens Dec. 8, 2010
Last night I had the privilege of being invited to the pre-opening of Elle Wine Bistro formerly Elle Wine Country Restaurant. Change is good for the soul and that’s exactly what Elle’s owner Jeff Fuld did.
He uprooted his stodgy Broadway Village location and moved to the trendier side of town on Campbell Avenue’s restaurant row.
Elle resides in the former Ameci Ristorante on Campbell Avenue in the newly remodeled Campbell Plaza.
While Ameci’s was old worldly, with velvet floor runners, and filled with tchotchkes — Elle Wine Bistro is anything but. The look is hip and cool. Fuld has taken a box and given it curves. The open kitchen curves seductively into the dining room. The overhead soffit is soft and round like a big cloud with a whimsical cork. Chairs are curvy. The logo splat of wine is curvy. And even the wine rack display is placed on a curvy angle vs. a straight line. The front sign has a definite edginess to it.
Elle Wine Bistro pervades a feeling of intimacy where Elle Wine Country Restaurant felt more sprawling and separatist.
My friend Edie Jarolim, contributing food editor for Tucson Guide, and I shared the petite orders of butternut squash ravioli and steamed mussels with green Thai curry as appetizers. A thoughtful restaurant will offer petite and full portions. (Pastiche Modern Eatery does so also.) Each appetizer’s flavor was distinctively delicious.
For entrees we shared, once again, petite orders of Ahi tuna with bistro rice and braised fennel and pork medallions brushed with some kind of glaze, soul massaging mashed potatoes, and green vegetables cooked to perfection.
Two minor hiccups come to mind – the bread was cold but we used it anyway to soak up the green curry and ravioli gravy. The pork was slightly tough.
The wine list proved not yet available so Fuld worked the room asking preferences and making suggestions. Elle has 50 wines by the glass plus cocktails.
As of this writing, the menu is not online but expect to see a good choice of starters, pastas, and half a dozen entrees. According to Facebook, Elle is open Monday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 4 to 9 p.m.
Elle Wine Bistro, 2970 N. Campbell Ave, in Campbell Plaza (between Glenn & Blacklidge (520) 327-0500