With the opening of the Bistro Rouge Cafe, Steve and Julie Meyer's vision for expanding their Pend d'Oreille Winery is nearly complete. When they purchased the historic Belwood building, the plan was to refurbish the building to house an expanded retail area, wine tasting room and a cafe-turned-restaurant.
Remodeling the Belwood building included restoring original brick, removing the creamy yellow paint from the exterior — leaving the original mural from Sandpoint Motor Company — and repurposing both glass blocks and the building's 110-year-old flooring. The design features exposed wood and metal beams, brick and plenty of warm wood, accented by subtle drop lighting throughout.
The expansion allows chef Stephanie Royer ample room to create a tasting room menu of small plates that carry over to the restaurant. Grilled asparagus with crispy lardons and cherry tomatoes capture the last of summer's greenery ($8). The aguachile is their take on ceviche, pairing thin-sliced scallops with roasted sweet corn in an equally blistering lime-and-chile sauce ($13). You have your choice of two types of sliders ($10): pulled pork or spicy beef.
Entrées include a range of proteins. Quinoa is paired with garlic, asparagus, cauliflower and cherry tomatoes topped by an egg and Parmesan crisp ($13). The "crusty clams" — potatoes, lardons and leeks in a white wine sauce served with buttery grilled baguette ($12) — are a real hit.
Bistro Blanc and Bistro Rouge are available by the glass ($6), carafe ($12) or bottle ($20) and are featured in a few menu items, such as the mushrooms sautéed in Bistro Blanc finished with fresh herbs ($6). The oxtail is braised in Bistro Rouge and served on yellow quinoa ($15).
The rest of the wine list ranges from reds, whites and reserves like the 2012 Zinfandel, as well as a port and the lighter Huckleberry Blush. Of course, if you discover a wine you adore, the retail area can bag it and have it ready for you to take home. ♦
Bistro Rouge Cafe at Pend d'Oreille Winery • 301 Cedar St., Sandpoint • Open daily, 5-9 pm • www.powine.com • 208-265-8545