KERNSTOWN — Enjoying a glass of wine at Crush Wine Bar Ltd. is exactly like enjoying it in your living room — if you had your furnishings and décor carefully curated and your home boasted a 50-bottle wine cellar attended by a sommelier.
The atmosphere is comfortably elegant at the new wine and tapas bar, located in the Creekside Village shopping center in the space formerly occupied by Wyld Thyme Café.
Artfully mismatched chairs, upholstered in tones of taupe, charcoal, gray and linen, are grouped around low tables, with candles to warm the room’s low lighting. Owners Tracy and Branden Goldizen said the restaurant grew from their love of entertaining at home, and particularly from Tracy’s interest in wine.
“I’ve been drinking wine since I was 21,” said Tracy Goldizen, 42. A yearly trip to California’s Napa Valley reinforces her interest.
“That’s when I really get a passion for wine,” she said.
While working part-time at area wineries, Tracy Goldizen met Tom Donegan, who is now Crush’s general manager and resident wine expert. Working together, Donegan and Goldizen put together the restaurant’s wine selection, most of which is stored in a phalanx of coolers, each set to the optimum temperature for the type of wine inside.
Sparkling wines are kept the coolest, and reds are at held at about 60 degrees. Additionally, the restaurant will offer a selection of still and sparkling waters, premium sake, dragonfruit lemonade and cold-brew coffee.
But primarily, the foundation of Crush is wine.
“We hand-selected every single one of these bottles,” Donegan said. “We’ve been doing a lot of tasting with lots of distributors.”
Paired with the wines and a small selection of beers is a menu of small plates styled after tapas, a Spanish appetizer.
First, patrons will receive complementary truffle-butter popcorn, along with an iPad that pictures menu items. Electronic technology allows the restaurant to revise its menu based on seasonality and freshness, without having to wait for a new printing of paper menus, Branden Goldizen said.
“We can update at the drop of a hat,” he said.
Additionally, the electronic menus will link diners to Twitter and Facebook.
Hewing toward traditional tapas dishes, the menu features octopus carpaccio, roasted bone marrow and brined olives. Other small plates lean toward such elegant bar snacks as caviar, fois gras pate and smoked salmon.
All wines are available in a one-ounce pour, as four-pour tasting flights, “so you can be exposed to something, and try it,” Donegan said. Additionally, the restaurant offers a decanting service that involves aerating wine through a succession of three carafes.
Classes in wine-tasting are planned for the future, Tracy Goldizen said.
The Goldizens said they selected the location in Creekside Station to offer diners an option away from downtown. Having looked at the location in July, they began work in September to make the space their own.
Branden Goldizen reconfigured the small kitchen to open more work space. Tracy Goldizen selected vintage advertising posters and antique books to give the dining room character.
“This was a two- to three-month shopping trip,” Tracy Goldizen said. “I knew the vision I had.”
Call Crush at 540-550-0103 for hours.