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Wednesday, August 17, 2011 / 4:08 PM

From The "Damn Good Idea" File: Wine Thursdays at Truffles

Relish had the pleasure of dining at Truffles last night. And It was one of the better-tasting and -executed meals in recent memory. Executive Chef John Griffiths and GM Aleks Jovanovic are becoming quite the formidable duo: The combination of Griffiths' daily menu (which is only getting better) and Jovanovic's deft handling of the floor adds up to a stellar dining experience. Those who have not been to Truffles recently should make a point to go. It's not the old Truffles...not at all. 

One of the many new innovations is Wine Thursdays at Truffles. A creation of Jovanovic, it's now in its third week, and it goes like this: Every Thursday there's a wine tasting between 5 and 6 pm.in Truffles' bar, with a single distributor providing the sample tastes. The wines are not necessarily from the same grape, or even from the same country; they can be high-end or low-end. Jovanovic's only parameter is that they be "interesting wines from the distributor's portfolio."

Everyone in the bar during that hour gets to vote on which wine is the superior example of its type. That wine will then reappear the next week, on the daily menu, in the dining room, at cost. It's all part of Jovanovic's "fun dining, not fine dining" credo. Last night Relish enjoyed the 2010 Marisco Pinot Gris from the Waihopai River Valley, dubbed "the Ned." A 6 oz. glass, poured from a nifty decanter, was $2.50. Think about that for a second. A half-bottle was $5, a $10 bill bought you a full bottle. Fun indeed. Every week a new wine, every week a new deal. Think cheap glasses of good wine won't create some buzz? It already has.  

The fun continues...

The featured wine is also available to take home by the bottle or case, at a flat 20% mark-up, cheaper than other retailers (if you can even find the wine at retail). Yet we were so giddy from the superlative meal that we neglected to take advantage of the deal.    

Ah, yes, the meal. A standout charcuterie selection, all made by Griffiths, beautifully presented on charred driftwood; twisted, blistered, flame-red Nardello peppers, simple and elegant; and a perfectly-textured, grilled octopus with black garlic, a shoe-in for one of our "Best New Dishes" in an upcoming SLM. Cell phone photos of same would be doing a disservice to the Truffles team. Relish just can't do it. So just go. And pay attention to what's going on there...Truffles is now on our short list of "don't miss" local restaurants.             

You can read more about Wine Thursdays on Truffles' newly launched blog, or follow them on Facebook, or Twitter at @TrufflesSTL.

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