Walk in and you’ll see a trickling fountain, elaborate chandeliers and elegant table settings. What you may not expect is the fine food and unique experience you’ll enjoy without an intimidating dress code or over-the-top bill.
“We’re trying to rework the perspective of the restaurant,” says Cuvée Managing Partner Joe Spillers. “We want to get rid of the stuffiness.”
Whether you’re coming from work or the high school football game, you’re welcome at Cuvée. The menu now features seven entrées instead of 20 and a series of tapas, or small plates.
“The tapas menu has been so popular,” Joe says. “We’ve had huge success with it.”
Not only are tapas a lighter food selection; they are also lower in cost and encourage a more social experience. Try favorites like the sesame crusted tuna or the bison meatballs. Then, take a look at the cheese flights, including the saganaki that gets flambéed tableside.
To keep up with the more laid-back bistro atmosphere, the servers will undergo a uniform change from tuxedos to bistro wear. Though the atmosphere is more casual than stuffy, Cuvée continues to serve the delicious fare that makes it a fine dining restaurant.
“Everything on the menu is made from scratch, in-house,” Joe says. “The flavor combinations are just amazing.”
The wine-tasting setup goes along perfectly with the new menu style. With 104 wines available, you can try as many wines as you want. Select as little as 1 ounce to taste without having to pre-load a card to pay for the wine.
“To make it easier, we give you an empty card, and you accrue a balance,” Joe says. Enjoy a night at the bar and you’ll get to know Dave Erickson, the man behind Cuvée’s exotically mixed cocktails and who’s also recently partnered as a co-owner.
Each week, Cuvée announces specials and featured wines on their Facebook page, and they host live jazz music on the weekends. This month, you can look forward to a wine dinner featuring five courses paired with wine by a Certified Wine Expert. Then, on New Year’s Eve, a preset menu will include your choice of champagne or wine.
“It’s all affordable,” Joe says. “Come as you are.”
Cuvée Wine & Bistro
2237 SW 19th Avenue Rd., Ocala
Mon-Thurs 5p-10pFri & Sat 5p-11p