933 Garrett Street
Atlanta, GA 30316
Beauty and the Eats is catered to the state of Florida, however, I must share my experience at Vino Libro, a wine bar in downtown Atlanta. If ever I came across a website with false advertising, it’s this one. Because they obviously had someone with a large vocabulary (and clearly has never been a patron) write their “about us” on their home page, I thought I would take the time to break down the flaws in my experience.
“By night, Vino Libro transforms into a sophisticated lounge. Patrons will come to enjoy all the qualities of fine living while listening to soothing music, conversing with friends or participating in our frequent wine tasting…”
- We arrived around 8pm and there was no soothing music. There was a flat screen TV in the corner and a projector in the other corner, both showing some local meeting of the Atlanta government minds as they discussed the new mayor.
- I am a single parent whose quality of fine living experiences vastly surpassed that of the fine living patrons in this place. It appeared as if the most pretentious of young black business class were frequenters and are just learning the ins and outs of “fine living”. Fine living does not equate to sipping wine and eating an assortment of cheddar, Swiss, and pepper jack cheeses. It can however, equate to sipping “fine” wines (not paying $10 to taste from six $15 bottles), and eating fresh cheeses that are already known to pair well with the wines that are served. Who wants to pay $10 for less than a 2 oz pour from $15 bottles?
- There were several issues with the wine tasting event, one being the fact that there was no rinse pitcher. Just wine being poured one right after the other with no switch of glass between the flights of white and red.
“Vino Libro is a communal melting pot for the urbanite that enjoys a tranquil and inviting atmosphere which stimulates the mind while elevating the novice and sophisticated palate”.
- In a nutshell, the food was mediocre. And we all know that I give props where props are due when it comes to food. Maybe the novice palate found this to be tasty, but my sophisticated palate would describe the food at best as “edible”. The shrimp tacos were one seasonless shrimp wrapped in a soft taco shell with what they called pico de gallo (which turned out to be chopped tomatoes) and sour cream. The cheeseless quesadillas had a bean and chicken mixture inside with their famous pico de gallo on top and a side of “guacamole” that was not even a hint of green. Curried chicken which was the most edible of them all, was lacking salt, and the risotto was cooked a bit too long.
“From our carefully selected collection of fine wines and spirits, to our tasting plates, Vino Libro offers a unique combination that naturally invokes conversation and relaxation. This specialty wine retailer/eatery has a little something for anyone seeking to enhance their quality of living.”
- Here they go with the declaration to enhance my quality of living again. The carefully selected collection of fine wines consisted of the $15 tasting bottles and a few lower end wines. Note that there is no vintage listed so your guess is as good as mine what year it was corked.
- The “top shelf” row of spirits were mostly classic bottles passed around in low budget urban videos: Hpnotiq, Bacardi, Cruzan rum, and Absolut. However, most of the specialty drinks are made with “house” vodka and are $8 a glass.
I hate to say it, but it appeared as if this place tries to cater to the stereotype that black people do not like to spend money but like to look like they do. From my date being mistaken for the typical Hennessey drinker, to the wine sommelier telling me excitedly that the chardonnay pairs well with fried chicken, I felt very out of place. Vino Libro is far from what one would expect after going to the website. Unfortunately, they came off more like a high priced urban spot for the young black professionals to be seen rather than to actually enjoy fine wine and quality dining. My date said it best when he asked, “can we stop at McDonald’s on the way home, please?”
See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.