Gervais and Vine

Gervais and Vine is a great place to enjoy a nice glass of wine and dine with friends. They specialize in tapas style dishes; which means you can expect smaller portions here.

Tapas are mostly meant to be shared, so if your like me and like to pick off of peoples plates, then this is the perfect place to go. Here “sampling,” as I consider it, is encouraged.

You might be surprised to find that a glass of wine here can be as expensive as your entrée, averaging around $7-$9. Wine is one of the main events at this restaurant and the staff knows their stuff. There are special wine tasting nights where you can pay one price to sample an assortment of wines and enjoy free appetizers. If you like that, you can check out their website at www.gervine.com and join their wine club; you may even be the next “Wine Goddess” and have your picture displayed on their site.

I have been to Gervais and Vine many, many times. I like to bring my out of town guests here as a chance to catch up with old friends or family members that I haven’t seen for awhile. Just know when to cut off those crazy cousins of yours. On this particular occasion, I was thrilled to find some new selections on the menu. I ordered the seared pork tenderloin with cucumber noodle salad and tzatziki sauce. It was like eating an elegant gyro - one I didn’t have any problems trying to fit into my mouth. The cucumber-noodle salad had a light vinaigrette which was nice and flavorful. The tzatziki sauce tasted like your usual gyro dressing, but it had unique elements like a hint of mint.

My husband enjoyed a new menu listing as well. He had the Pink Peppercorn seared Tuna with Red onion jam and preserved lemon vinaigrette. The tuna was cooked perfectly (super rare) and the onion jam added a slightly spicy aftertaste to the dish leaving your mouth wanting more. Our friends each had their own personal size pizzas. Choose from a variety of gourmet topped pizzas off of the menu or create your own. These are great if you are looking for something that will fill you up.

We had also ordered a couple of appetizers but they ended up becoming more like desserts since we were finishing our entrees by the time they came out. That is one thing you have to be aware of when you attend Gervais and Vine. Since the food is meant to be shared, it is served as it is finished cooking. This means you may get your food while your guest waits for theirs. You could always order a salad or appetizer first and wait until it comes out before placing your main entrée orders. This is what I normally do but since we had a good 45 minute wait for seating I put all the orders in at once to speed up the process.

Our appetizers of choice for the evening consisted of two cheese spreads- a goat cheese with spinach & sun-dried tomatoes and the warm brie with apricot chutney and slivered almonds. The goat cheese was nice and light, not overly strong as some can be but the brie is my cheese of choice. This just melts in your mouth and is as sweet as a dessert. I have tried to make this at home but it doesn’t even come close to being the same.

I like most of the food at Gervais and Vine, whether it be their hot tapas, salads, pizzas, or spreads but here is a list of recommendations. Everyone raves about the petite filet mignon and I think it is a great deal to get such a nice piece of red meat for only $8 and the balsamic reduction and feta cheese that tops it really makes the dish. I like to pair this with the Spanish asparagus for a nice carb-free dinner. Another favorite of mine is the gambas - spicy shrimp cooked in a sherry, garlic, tomato, and bacon sauce. I also think it is one of the bigger meals and it comes to you in the pan that it was cooked in. I would save your money on the grilled shrimp or duck breast though. These portions are extremely small. I was rather embarrassed when I brought my mother here for the first time and she had ordered the grilled shrimp which came out as literally only four pieces of shrimp. Again, order the gambas if you want shrimp, you’ll get a pan full instead. Same with the duck, I love duck and am excited to see it on any menu, but when this was placed in front of me I felt ripped off. Four small slices of duck is all that came with this; not even enough to share.

I give Gervais and Vine a 4 out of 5 stars for their originally designed and flavorful entrees. My only complaint, like most restaurants in downtown Columbia is the wait to get seated. Gervais and Vine follows its competitors in not offering reservations or call-ahead seating. It is first come, first serve. Also, you can spend a pretty penny here if you are not careful, but I think it’s worth it.

I also appreciate Gervais and Vine for all their involvement in the community. They buy their food fresh from the local farmer’s market on Saturday mornings supporting local organic farmers. If you go to their website you can also find out about the other charities they are involved in. They even advertise shelter dogs on their site to try to find homes for them. Besides owning Gervais and Vine, the owners are involved in a couple of other restaurants in the Columbia area as well. There is Mr. Friendly’s, which is made up of southern style cuisine and Solstice which is a more expensive, full-meal version of Gervais and Vine out in the Northeast area of Columbia. I get emails weekly keeping me up-to-date on these fine establishments and telling me of their weekly specials. This is by far one of my favorite places to dine in Columbia and the chefs never seem to disappoint, no matter what night I go there.

Gervais and Vine

620-A Gervais St. Columbia, SC 29201 803-799-8463

www.gervine.com

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