Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Tucson restaurant news: New-ish: Elle Wine Bistro

Butternut Squash Ravioli
Image by mhaithaca via Flickr

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

  1. So I guess the way to get covered on this blog is to buy the writer dinner. Do you ever write about anything that isn’t either a regurgitated press release or some exclusive bullcrap media dinner where you get fed for free? I understand it is common practice to suck up as many free dinners as possible when you write about food in Tucson, but have some dignity!!

    Isn’t there some sort of policy against restaurants basically feeding you so you’ll write about them?

  2. Hi Marcus
    Thanks so much for visiting our blog.
    As I did disclosed, I was invited to the pre-restaurant opening. I’m not hiding the fact. I think disclosure is very important.
    I don’t think there was too much media invited. The crowd looked to be like friends of the owner. I’m a friend of the owner’s girl friend. It’s not uncommon for a restaurant or any new business to invite the media first so we can start the buzz.

    Whether or not you like it, is irrelevant.

    I occasionally do post press releases. You must read this blog frequently enough to notice. Sometimes I am so busy with work, and life, and everything worth living for…a well tuned press release is the way to go. I also try to note when I’m simply “regurgitating” a press release. It’s like reruns on TV.

    And yes, I have posted some restaurant reviews that were not part of media events.

    You can read about one of my newish favorite restaurants at 47 Scott Street on July 22, 2010 as well as lots of Tucson happenings, original recipes, and more.

  3. Wow Marcuss
    You need to cool down. Elle is a very good restaurant making it in a very difficult environment. We should all support those you are out there doing their level best to provide a service, good food, wine and a nice time–unless of course you prefer some of the “fast food” place.
    For me—I am delighted Elle is back and I plan to support the restaurant and Jeff.

  4. Marcus… where do you work? I would love to leave comments for you that are not based on fact about your place of business.

    I am the infamous “girlfriend” of the owner of elle. I invited many of my friends, who had supported elle in the past, as a way of thanking them for their loyalty to the restaurant. I am friends with Karyn from our involvement with Arizona Greyhound Rescue. I thought she would enjoy attending, and was happy to be able to extend invitations to friends.

    I am glad that Karyn was able to share her opinions, both good and bad, as that was the purpose of having a pre-opening event.

    I hope you will try out the new elle wine bistro.


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