El Viñedo Local translates to ‘the local vineyard’ and that’s what this place is – a place to enjoy South American plates, wines, and coffees. This is not Central American or Mexican food and so is not so spicy. Empanadas and ceviche are a big part of what Chef Bruno Vergara brings to the menu. Owner Robert Kaster was on site and came by to visit with every table and make sure that all was good – a nice touch. We were there for a snack with friends and ordered some of their small plates to share. It is one large room with most being inside the building with one wall open to the outside. The roof over the outside tables is not solid, but the umbrellas would be better for sun than rain. It did have one long table in the inside room and seats at the bar counter. It’s right down the street from a theater so parking is as you can find it. Good wine choices and tasty food make this a nice spot to visit.
Again we visited with friends and I’m afraid my note taking and pictures suffered as I socialized. We split a number of items and all were tasty with the chicken sandwich being really good. I don’t think any one empanada stood out from the others but it was nice to have variety. They all had a good crust and different shapes with plenty of filling. Empanada Criolla was a traditional Uruguayan beef empanada with hard-boiled eggs. Empanada de pollo con queso numero 22 contained braised Springer Mountain chicken and fresco cheese. Empanada Espinaca y hongos con queso was made with skillet braised spinach and mushrooms tossed in bechamel with fresco cheese. Empanada de jamon y queso was made with smoked pit ham, fresco and mozzarella cheeses.
The Sanguche de pollo was a sandwich made with grilled Springer Mountain chicken, butter lettuce, Georgia tomatoes, chimichurri, Duke’s mayo and served with yucca fries. The chicken was very juicy with lots of seasonings on a soft bun. It was very, very savory. The yucca fries were heavy but tasty.
Ceviche de Camaron con chifles was made with poached Argentinian shrimp, cebolla criolla, plantain chips, avocado puree, cilantro and Meyer lemon oil. The ceviche was really good with the shrimp being split for easy sharing. Some of the plantain chips suffered from the humidity and didn’t stay crisp, but otherwise they were light and good.