The commercialization of the restaurant industry has led to an increasingly conformist and conservative aesthetic that has made its way into the dining experience of most people.
Fortunately, places like Vino & Vinyl in Sugar Land Town Square are doing their best to set themselves apart from the pack.
I’m not a wine expert by any means, but I appreciated the time I spent with Vino & Vinyl owner Paul Killingsworth, who offered recommendations and told me about how he blended his love of classic and vintage records with his knowledge and appreciation of West Coast wines.
The essence of this dynamic is perhaps best captured in a quote featured prominently on the wall of the restaurant from California winemaker Sashi Moorman.
“In a musical sense, it’s like comparing digital to vinyl,” Moorman said. “The warmth you get in vinyl is like the complexity in this kind of wine; it comes from imperfections. The warmth is actually a bit of distortion if you think about it. Digital music is like ‘perfect’ wine… it’s just not that exciting.”
But while Killingsworth is in the wine business, he certainly knows a thing or two about how to pair food with wine.
I started things off with a selection of appetizers: Pork Belly Bites ($11), made with a bourbon glaze and topped with sesame seeds; Mini Meatballs ($11), topped with pomodoro sauce; and my personal favorite, the Empanadas ($12), three beef empanadas served with cilantro aioli.
The first of three wines I tried was a cabernet from Elyse called Yountville, made in Napa Valley, California ($22 per glass and $77 per bottle). It had a peppery, leathery finish, and could be a great post-dinner wine to serve alongside some dark chocolate.
The Pinot Noir Rosé from Elk Cove Vineyards evokes a variety of fruits, including grapefruit, kiwi and watermelon. It also has a pleasant hint of fennel and smells like the type of summer wine best enjoyed at a picnic on the beach.
My favorite of the three was the Texoir Mourvedre ($14 per glass and $49 per bottle), a smooth and spicy red wine from Texas High Plains. My recommendation, then, is that Texoir would make a great companion to some brisket, a strip steak on the grill or even a charcuterie board.
Happy Hour at Vino & Vinyl runs from 4-10 p.m. Tuesday, 4-6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 3-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Vino & Vinyl
Address: 15977 City Walk, Sugar Land
Dining Options: Dine-in, delivery via OrangeCrate
Hours: 4-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 3 p.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday
Entrée prices: $11-$28
Senior discount: No
Healthy options: None
Star of the show: Texoir Mourvedre
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars