Cha Champagne & Wine Bar

"I own the building, and when Raindrop Chocolate left, we already had the kitchen in place, and a good friend of ours suggested we open a champagne bar," says David Shellar, who just opened Cha Champagne & Wine Bar (810 Waugh).

Todd Leveritt, who used to work for Voice, is now the sommelier and general manager. "This is Houston's only champagne bar," he says. "They're popping up all over L.A. and New York, and we can't seem to keep enough of the stuff on the shelves, so we're quickly adjusting our inventory."

Jason Kerr (a Houston Press contributor) is the consulting chef. "We're doing small plates that complement the champagne," he says. "Things like smoked salmon, foie gras, local cheeses, smoked duck breast and simple pizzas."

While the place is small, the interior is dramatic. It's filled with comfortable chairs, and there's a special "VIP" nook behind the bar. Dish enjoyed a bottle of the Italian Cielo Terre Deor from Cha's extensive list of bubblies. An extremely light rosé prosecco, it was perfect with the lighter fare, which included a cheese and wine plate with some prosciutto and salami and three different cheeses, with accompaniments like Marcona almonds and honey. A flatbread pizza topped with more prosciutto was tasty, but could have done with more cooking. And a pâté plate with cornichons and marinated artichokes was thoroughly enjoyable.

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Paul Galvani