Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tino's Italian Bistro: Best Wine List in HoCo?

Jane and I have made a tradition of going out for Happy Hour on Friday nights.  After getting tired of the same place week after week, we decided to go to Tino's Italian Bistro in the Palace Shopping Center (former location of Strapazza...a restaurant that shall not be named in my household for reasons relating to a 24 hour bout of bad seafood).  Tino's has been open for almost a year (June) and we had enjoyed the food the 4-5 times we've visited.  In fact, we both have developed "can't skip" items on the menu -- Me: Tortellini Bolognese; Jane: Gnocchi Caprese.

Although we normally order wine, it wasn't until yesterday that I realized just how incredibly affordable those wines are.  I asked our waiter Chris what the Happy Hour prices are ($1 off everything except bottles of wine) and then proceeded to order glasses of wine for myself and my bride (not yet arrived).  Chris stopped me.  "Do you plan to have more than one glass?"  "Um, yes."  "Well then you should probably just get a bottle."

Nice up sell, sir, but I received my sales training from Radio Shack University and I am not so easily tricked.  Just get me the...what's this...$20 in multiple bottles under $30?  It has been in front of me the whole time, but I had somehow overlooked the fact that these wines were selling at near liquor store prices.  And they were good!

We ordered a great bottle of Callaway Sauv Blanc, which went well with my Seafood Mare Bella (keepin' the faith).  The whole night, with appetizers, entrees, wine, & dessert, came in under $100.  In my book, that is a winner.

Before the patrons of Iron Bridge, Aida, and Tersiguel's get on my case, I acknowledge that Tino may not bring the same firepower as those other places, but for a young couple looking to have a nice dinner without breaking the bank, I can't think of a better place to go.

So here's to you, Tino.  Keep up the good work.

A la HowChow:

Tino's Italian Bistro
8775 Centre Park Drive
Columbia, MD 21045
410-730-TINO (8466)