BOTTLES AND BITES: Don’t overlook the food at Mordeo Boutique wine bar

Spring Mountain Road’s new hot spot, Mordeo Boutique Wine Bar, may seem deceptively named – unless you speak Latin. Because while the chic modern space boasts an impressive selection of wine, overseen by partner and master sommelier Luis de Santos, its kitchen fare is equally noteworthy. “Mordeo” means “bite,” and any visit here that doesn’t include at least as much nibbling as sipping wine and sangria is a missed opportunity.

Mordeo’s menu features small bites of Spanish and Latin cuisine, with Japanese touches scattered throughout. The man creating them is chef and partner Khai Vu, known to Chinatown regulars from his popular Vietnamese spot, District One, and to downtown denizens for Le Pho in The Juhl. His decision to venture outside of his Asian cuisine comfort zone came from a desire “to try different flavors” and keep things more interesting. A recent visit to Barcelona gave him an appreciation for the ingredients and techniques of Spain, he said.

Early offerings on the evolving menu have been heavy on seafood, with several raw and cured preparations as well as a grilled langoustine larger than the fork used to eat it. Grilled lamb and duck, and gorgeous salads are among the other standouts. More than 80 wines (most from Spain) are available by the glass, as are a pair of sangrias.

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Designer Patrick Peel
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