Plonk Beer & Wine Bistro

You can hear the passion in Scott Miller's voice as he describes his new Plonk Beer & Wine Bistro (1214 West 43rd Street, 713-290-1070), which he co-owns with his fiancée Elizabeth Chapman. If he's passionate about wine, it's because he was the wine director for Pappas Steakhouse for five years and, prior to that, imported wines for serious collectors. "We take quality very seriously. We absolutely want to make sure that we're doing things right," says Scott. "That's why we have a small menu that will rotate seasonally." From the cheapest to the most expensive, all the wine is stored at precisely 57 degrees.

Miller has gone with a neighborhood feel for the decor. "I've lived in Oak Forest for 11 years," he says, "and I wanted to have a place just three blocks from my house. I want to serve my neighbors." As for the name, "plonk" means cheap wine in English slang, and as Scott said: "I just like the term; it has a certain onomatopoeia to it."

Dish sampled a fabulous cheese and charcuterie platter called the Boneyard, which included two cheeses, slices of sopressata (a dry-cured salami), olives and Marcona almonds, among other things. Another platter, the Gardenia, was even better and consisted of an array of Mediterranean-inspired dips, including a lemon zest hummus, a cilantro, jalapeño and pecan pesto, a kalamata olive tapenade and a roasted-red pepper puree, served with mini pitas.

Both plates went perfectly with a glass of Twin Oaks, an entry-level Cab at a bargain price of $6 a glass. As good as these plates were, the stone-fired pizzas looked even better and will definitely be on the list for next time. Scott also does a number of special events like their already-famous steak night where, for $25, you get a bacon-wrapped filet.

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