Image: Locked, Stocked, and Bottled.
Last Updated: November 2022
Current Status: Sit-down service inside and sidewalk tables under an awning outside.
It takes some moxie to open a wine bar on the same street as Cork and serve French food less than a block from Le Diplomate. That is what the small wine bar chain did when they opened their first Vin Sur Vingt outside of New York City on 14th Street (D.C.’s 14th Street, though they have two locations just below the NYC 14th Street). In light of the fact that they invite the comparison, we will note that the wine list is interesting but French only, compared to Cork’s broader list. The food as well is solid but lacking the panache of Le Diplomate. That said, it is a good spot to grab a bite, hang out with friends, or have your first IRL meeting.
The menu is classic French, but dishes rotate to include the style of many regions. The plating is “tapas-sized” meaning two per person to round out a meal and most are easily shared. The menu covers a lot of ground. Charcuterie plates to start, along with a sizable list of mostly vegetable tartines. There are “classique” dishes including steak frites, French onion soup, tuna tartare, and mac & cheese. Mussels, burgers, and then a sampling of French small plates like chicken in cream sauce, mushrooms, squash and goat cheese, and Cassoulet. A couple dessert options finish it out. All the dishes we have sampled have been decent to good.
The staff, especially the bartenders, are particularly sharp on knowing their wines. Which is fortunate, because that is all they serve – no spirits, no beer, not even Port or Sherry. The list is pretty deep, with many offered by the glass. If you are a group looking to explore French wine across a few regions and bottles, it would be great for that.
The restaurant has a pretty spacious interior (it was the old Drafting Table) and some outdoor seating. A long bar stretches across the back and they fiddle with the lighting to set the mood, which can be annoying because the menus are in tiny fonts. They are trying to create a vibe, and to their credit it works. It can get busy on the weekends. Considering the competition it can’t claim to fill a niche, but it can scratch an itch.
Other Guidance: The setting is casual. It is located on the ground floor and opens to the sidewalk, but there are a couple of interior steps to navigate. The menu leans classic French, but there are many vegetable options, so vegetarians can probably do as well as GF, and both can find a more than a few things.
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Queen of DC put it on her list of food places and has a TikTok video.
Hannah Berman, a Medium-based writer (dare we say blogger?), captured the allure for one target audience.