Not your average wine bar 4

Vintage 95 shares new menu items and craft cocktails

Vintage 95 owners Craig and Tricia Hills opened their award-wining lounge four years ago. Having grown up in Chandler, Craig wanted to bring something unique to the Downtown area. The lounge originally opened with a smaller menu, but the influence of its chefs helped to expand into food that is quite amazing.

Most who have heard of Vintage 95 think of bruschetta, cheese and wine. What most people do not realize is that Vintage 95 offers much more. First, Vintage 95 offers a lunch menu, including an $8.99 select two feature. Think half of a Havana sandwich with crispy porkbelly and half of a pear salad.

On Sundays a brunch menu is also available featuring items such as Huevos Rancheros and Porkbelly Board. The Vintage 95 patio is the perfect spot for this weekend activity, including the half off bottles of wine.

Vintage 95 is well known for wine, but many customers may not know that it is home to two, level one sommeliers. This insight has created a thoughtful list of wine varietals that can accommodate any new creation on the menu. Another list that shouldn’t be missed is the craft cocktails. Cocktails range from the Mainstay Manhattan to the Ginger’s Peach with Prosecco.

Being known as the wine bar in Chandler is a stigma that the culinary team at Vintage 95 has worked hard for four years to overcome. Executive Chef, Jose Farias, has been with Vintage 95 almost since the opening. Starting as a line cook, Chef Farias was mentored by Vintage 95’s original Executive Chef, Mike Wahlberg. While Farias will be keeping some of the diner’s favorite dishes from Chef Wahlberg’s menu, this spring diners will experience a new menu. Chef Farias will feature an ode to fresh vegetables  and present classic dishes in a different way. Along with making ricotta cheese, fig honey and pastas in-house, Farias is also incorporating local food purveyors into his dishes including Hayden Flour Mills, Queen Creek Olive Mill and Hickman’s Eggs.

“I’m originally from Brazil, but grew up in Chandler. I started in civil engineering, but when the economy crashed, I decided that I wanted to be doing something that I really loved. I love the challenges that the kitchen brings to me, and I think you’ll see that in this new menu,” said Chef Farias.

Reminiscing of a dish that his father would make, Chef Farias explained one new dish from the menu, “It’s a take on a dish I had growing up. I’m using a great Pork, Beeler’s, for the chop. The pork chop will be on top of a wilted kale and rice salad. On top of that, a Hickman’s fried egg.”

Chef Farias explained that on this new menu you will see his style of cooking shine through, but he also wants to keep items that his friend, Chef Wahlberg created that helped transition Vintage 95 from a wine bar, to a true dining experience.

“I eat the BLT salad with steak almost every day,” Farias explained. And, I could see why. The fresh heirloom tomatoes, homemade croutons and crispy Beecher’s bacon all played nicely with the pungent blue cheese. A rosemary vinaigrette was the perfect way to bring the different ingredients together without weighing the salad down.

Other menu items include the staple bruschetta board. A favorite from the list was the bacon jam and whipped goat cheese bruschetta. The bacon jam created a sweet and salty flavor on top of the mild goat cheese.

The dish that reminded me that Vintage 95 is not your regular wine bar, was the salmon entrée. The perfectly cooked salmon was marinated with lemongrass. On top of the salmon was a Shitake Mushroom Salsa, that added a meaty flavor to the dish. The salmon sat on top of a bed of Coconut Almond Rice. The chopped almonds brought a welcomed texture to the overall dish.

Along with their new menu this spring, Vintage 95 has future plans to expand the kitchen and add more patio seating this summer. View the new spring menu at Vintage95.com.

To celebrate the arts, Vintage 95 has a special promotion for anyone attending Chandler Center for the Arts. During the month of March, before or after a Chandler Center for the Arts performance, bring in your ticket stub for a complimentary bruschetta board. Valid one per a table and only on the day of the show the ticket reads.