Mount Rainier’s new wine bar pairs lesser-known dishes with global dishes
A refreshing new wine bar located just beyond the DC border invites budding, bona fide connoisseurs to taste grapes from oppressed regions.
Era Wine Bar (3300 Rhode Island Avenue) adds to an ever-growing food scene in Mount Rainier, Md. That features year-old American comfort food at Pennyroyal Station on the same block. . Era is from first-time restaurateurs Michelle and Ka-ton Grant, a well-traveled duo who have lived in Mount Rainier since 2018.
âWe already see regulars coming a few times a week. We are happy and feel validated by our choice to stay in our community, âsaid Michelle, technology consultant turned certified sommelier.
Their planned corner luminaire framed in bricks offers 45 wines by the glass (and more than 100 by the bottle). The wines come in 3, 6 or 9 ounce servings to allow drinkers to taste everything from Croatian grapes to âbeautifulâ Malbecs from Spain and full-bodied reds from Turkey and the Middle East, she says. Lesser-known North American grapes are also part of the mix.
âThere is good Riesling from New York and Cab Francs from Mexico,â she notes.
The wines pair well with small global platters and a program of cheeses and cold meats that she describes as âcrazyâ. An Italian board features rare finds like truffle salami, lambrusco wine jelly and imported smoked mozzarella.
A tasting room cellar tucked below the main dining level is fitted with temperature-controlled wine racks for members, a cosmopolitan touch in the historically sleepy neighborhood turned dining destination. Customers come for pre-dinner drinks at the Pennyroyal or vice versa, she notes.
Era’s hours of operation are Tuesday to Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and until 11 p.m. Friday to Sunday. Weekend brunch from noon to 2:30 p.m. brings steak and eggs, French toast and planks of salmon to the table.
Much of the opening list highlights small-scale producers, organic and biodynamic styles, and female-owned wineries, along with a splurge-worthy bottle section carefully poured with a Coravin wine tool.
âPeople are thrilled to hear these stories and spend time with our team to find out what their favorites are,â she says. Customers linger an average of two hours, she says.
Even the cocktails loop in the wine, like a garnished Shiraz riff on a New York Sour with rye, lemon and simple syrup.
Instead of hiring a chef, Grant put his culinary skills to work from home and created recipes that reflect the couple’s heritage and their many travels around the world.
âWe have spent time in almost 40, even 45 countries [combined] and we drank a lot of wine along the way, âshe told Eater this spring.
Small plates draw flavors from India (tandoori chicken wings), Middle East (dates stuffed with goat cheese), East Africa (Swahili samosas stuffed with ground beef, green onions , potatoes, peas and cumin), Spain (Catalan chickpeas with smoked paprika and minced garlic) and Greece (lamb turnovers topped with tzatziki).
âHalf of my family is from southern Africa and the other half from southwest India, but I also grew up in the Washington area,â she says. âSo on our table you saw curries, vegetables, stews, salads, burgers and pasta. “
Era’s New Years Eve plans include a four-course dinner with live entertainment for $ 100 per person or $ 150 with food and wine pairing.