Despite being blacked out on its black awning, you can still just make out the word “Michel” at the now-shuttered Bistro Michel (1501 14th Street). There’s no new signage yet, but its replacement TableVine officially opened today.
The exterior has been painted fern green. Inside, there’s a new cream-colored limestone wall, a pervading neutral color palette and vases full of burgundy-stained wine corks. It looks brighter, more open and gives off a wine country vibe, which is exactly TableVine’s goal.
First off, TableVine isn’t a fine dining restaurant. Owner Dan Sneed is going for something more comfortable and less stuffy. He has a fine dining background though, having worked at Gary Danko and the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco as well as, more recently, Ella Dining Room & Bar. At TableVine, there’s no prixe-fixe menu and diners can get away with spending about $20 each or splurge by building their own multi-course affair.
The executive chef is Scott McNamara, who actually headed the kitchen at Bistro Michel during its most critically-acclaimed years. He left Bistro Michel to open Brasserie Capitale, which has also received generally favorable reviews. At TableVine, he’ll no longer be preparing classic French cuisine, rather, eclectic European fare. Farm-to-fork? Of course.
Currently, the menu leans Italian: caesar salad ($7), cacio e pepe ($11), chicken marsala with polenta ($17). But there are other Mediterranean flavors, too: Portugese kale soup ($7), clams with chorizo ($15), a grilled salad topped with Spanish anchovy ($9). A pork chop veers toward Germany with Alsatian-style potatoes, sauerkraut, apples and mustard ($19). And, naturally, there’s a fancy burger ($12).