Dish of the Week: St. Vincent Wine’s braised chickpeas

Media Credit: Lindsay Paulen | Staff Photographer

St. Vincent Wine's braised chickpeas are served in olive oil and topped with date molasses, fresh dill and crumbled feta.

When you visit a wine bar, you’re probably looking forward to the drink selection but at St. Vincent Wine, it’s the food that might just steal the show.

The wine bar, which opened last fall, is located in the heart of the Park View neighborhood in Columbia Heights at 3212 Georgia Ave. NW., about a 20-minute Uber ride from campus. From the front, the wine bar looks nondescript but behind the building you’ll find one of the District’s most alluring outdoor patios.

The patio has ample seating on both the ground level, dubbed the garden, and on a balcony level. Twinkling lights that hang across both levels of the patio add to the wine bar’s magical ambiance, making it an enticing place to spend a warm summer evening.

The spacious garden level’s floor is covered with a fine gravel and filled with more than 12 black wire tables of various sizes so you can fit your entire friend group or find a seat for you and your date.

St. Vincent’s boasts an extensive wine menu, which includes everything from red and white wines to bubbly and ranges in price from $30 a bottle to as much as $150 a bottle. If wine isn’t your alcoholic beverage of choice, you can opt for something else to sip on like locally-made Right Proper Brewing beers ($6) and a canned Venetian spritz ($10).

The wine at St. Vincent Wine is undoubtedly high quality, but the food is what you’ll come back for.

The menu includes a range of small plates, pastas and main dishes along with seasonal specials and charcuterie and cheese board options.

For small plates, diners can choose from options like confit duck croquettes ($15) with green garlic salsa verde and cured duck egg yolk or the seasonal stuffed squash blossoms ($15) with ground lamb, strained yogurt with cucumber, walnuts and barbarries and a range of spices.

Main dishes range from charred halloumi ($12) topped off with kiwi, charred sumac strawberries and red rice crunch, fried chicken ($19) made with a dried mango powder and served with pickled garlic aioli and green mango slaw and king crab bucatini ($21) with nori butter, lemon and chive.

I tried an assortment of St. Vincent Wine’s dishes, but the one that stood out the most was the braised chickpeas ($15). The chickpeas are served directly in the olive oil used for braising and topped off with date molasses, a scattering of fresh dill and crumbled feta. Pieces of baguette are also served alongside the chickpeas.

The braising process, which includes slowly cooking the chickpeas in a mix of olive oil and spices, gives the chickpeas a perfect consistency – soft on the inside but not mushy.

Each additional ingredient helped to balance the creamy and rich flavors of the chickpeas and olive oil. The date molasses were the slightest bit sweet, the dill packed the dish with the brightness of fresh herbs and the feta added just a bit of briny flavor.

The baguette slices, which came toasted, were the perfect vehicle with which to eat the chickpeas. The bread’s crunchy exterior served as an ideally juxtaposed complement to the softness of the chickpeas.

While St. Vincent Wine is a bit of a hike from Foggy Bottom, its distance from campus will be easy to forget about once you’re sipping on a smooth glass of wine and munching on the wine bar’s delicious food.

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