Destination: Bocci Wine Bar
This spring marked a new beginning for Bocci Wine Bar, which reopened in Clayton at 16 N. Central Ave. after winter renovations to develop a redefined menu and concept. Frank Schmitz, the owner of both Bocci Wine Bar and BARcelona Tapas Restaurant, decided to expand the original Italian concept to include a menu of modern, internationally inspired small plates and an emphasis on a state-of-the-art wine program.
Rather than being broken down into the expected appetizer, entrée and dessert, the new menu crafted by executive chef Neil Alkobri allows diners to create their own ideal meal from a list of small plates categorized by “farm,” “sea” and “land.” Start off with a roasted heirloom beet salad topped with goat cheese, pistachios and a beet ganache along with a drizzle of honey-thyme vinaigrette or indulge in thick-cut truffle fries made from Kennebec potatoes that are served with a smoked garlic aioli.
Pescatarians have plenty of options, ranging from seared scallops and steamed mussels to charbroiled oysters. Rain Crow Ranch sliders topped with smoked cheddar and ketchup are a good go-to for a casual bite while other “land” options boast international flavors like the Argentinean flank steak served with chimichurri or the Korean barbecue pork.
Along with the redeveloped menu, Bocci Wine Bar has rolled out a new list of specials that focuses on a specific cuisine. This month the menu is inspired by the flavors of Southern France in classic Provencal dishes, such as salad nicoise made with fresh tuna, haricot vert, potatoes, field greens, olives and a mustard vinaigrette. The traditional take on Provencal bouillabaisse is a decadent bowlful of shrimp, halibut, mussels and clams swimming in a rich saffron seafood broth. End the meal with the bright, summery flavors of the tarte au citron, a lemon cream-filled pastry tart.
The monthly feature also focuses on the wines that are unique to the area. Given that Provence is the world’s largest wine region specializing in dry rosé, Bocci Wine Bar had to include a handful of the vibrant varietals. Like all of the wines at Bocci Wine Bar, the rosés are kept in carefully controlled coolers so each pour can be enjoyed at the ideal temperature.
Open Monday through Friday from 11am to 10pm and Saturday from 5pm to 10pm. 16 N. Central Ave., Clayton, 314.932.1055.