So many people have told me how much they love Postino, a new wine café in the Heights Mercantile development on Yale, just north of 6th Street.
They appreciate the light menu of antipasto, panini and bruschetta. They applaud the convenient location (my well cultured friend Brian found it perfect for “a fabulous pre-show dinner”). They talk of reasonable prices and tell me about the great service.
Who am I to argue? Even during a weekday lunch, the vibe at Postino is infectious.
Jazzy and upbeat, the soundtrack is raucous Sunday brunch any time of day. Lemonhead yellow signage and umbrellas punch up an overcast exterior, while inside the browns and grays are lifted by tile-like Kodachrome collages.
Staff is dressed in up-to-the-minute urban chic; our server was giving us serious Aphrodite that day. And the service is fast! Not unlike the way postal carriers (postino)…ahem…used to be.
Technically, Postino is a wine café. Its Texas Wine Program (there are locations in Arizona and Colorado) consists of about 25 enjoyable vintages from California, South America and Southern Europe priced at $9 to $13 a glass ($5 before 5 o’clock). You can buy a bottle as well, but this list is ideal for sampling.
At our lunch, we chose a fruity $5 before 5 o’clock pitcher of Sierra Nevada IPA. I was worried about bitterness, but this beer had citrus and spicy flavors (think cardamom) that held the tartness at bay.
You can’t go wrong with 99 percent of Postino’s food choices. A Brussels Sprouts Salad with kale was an unexpected mix of manchego cheese, spiced almonds, bacon, dried cherries and a lemon dressing.
As part of my Select Two combo, I loved Hannah’s Field Salad, healthy-ish with kale, quinoa, apple, apricot and pecorino cheese. The apple cider-mustard vinaigrette was irresistible.
Panini was the second part of my combo, and I chose Roast Beef with aged Port Salut cheese, red onion, pickles, Sierra Nevada mustard and mayo. The ingredients couldn’t have been fresher (true of everything at Postino) and the sandwich was superb.
Well, maybe the freshness wasn’t as evident in a listless Tomato Bisque, a Soup of the Moment doctored with a few bits of whatever here and there. A neighboring table conspicuously pushed theirs aside.
But my friend’s Autostrada was a panini inspired by Ferrari. Sopresatta, Italian ham, cappicola, mortadella, provolone and spicy pepper relish — it’s all there, meaty and spicy enough for the fast lane.
Next time, I’m getting Bruschetta! The presentations I’ve seen are stunning. You get four big slices of Italian bread topped with your choice of things like Brie and Apples, Smoked Salmon, Burrata, Salami and the list goes on.
Antipasto was equally impressive. Another table ordered the Butcher’s Block with assorted meats, cheeses, hummus, asparagus, olives, nuts and crostini. They raved over their wine.
Postino is an instant success story. It’s just that kind of rare, on-point place we all hope for. But don’t wait too long to try it. Word’s getting out fast!