Small plates, big taste
Click on any picture to see a larger image.
Good things, small packages. That surely applies to the new trend to “small plate” restaurants.
I’ve written more than once about Nibblers in Pleasant Hill, today I’m talking about Va de Vi, in Walnut Creek, at the corner of North Main and Mount Diablo, right next door to Tommy Bahama’s.
The concept is Spanish: very small plates of many different foods. You just nibble your way through as many as you like, sharing with your tablemates and enjoying a very varied and enjoyable dinner expressly designed to increase conversation and enjoyment.
The food, though, is tres California Asian/fusion. The menu changes often, though not as often as Nibblers. There is always a shooter of soup–a two ounce shot glass of some great soup, just enough to delight the tastebuds without filling you up.
Then you can choose from salads, veggies, meats, pastas and seafood. Everything is just enough for 2 or 3 to share. If you have two couples, you will more often want to get two orders of a particularly enticing dish.
The photos above are representative of the menu. Each plate is a work of art, visually perfect so you enjoy it even before you taste it.
There are tables both indoor and outdoors. Sitting under the huge oak in the back is just perfect when the weather is clement. Also, there is a counter in front of the kitchen that seats 8 or 10, where Gail and I prefer to sit watching as many as 6 cooks working in impossibly small circumstances turning out their mini works of art.
The front of the house is a full bar, doing a roaringly great business serving the young and beautiful of Walnut Creek. Since I’m neither, I prefer the somewhat quieter rear of the building. If there are 4 of you, do not let them seat you in the bar area–the small round bar tables are just not sufficient for 4 people and all those small plates.
Service is always good at VdV. Besides the waiters, there are plenty of runners to get your many plates to your table and bussers to keep the water full and change your plates and silver frequently for the different dishes.
Reservations are very strongly advised. I use Opentable frequently, but have found that Va de Vi just doesn’t list their tables during the busy evening hours and I have to call directly.
As long as you are open to something new and don’t mind sharing, Va de Vi is a great place. If you are totally traditional and want your very own salad and entree, this isn’t the place for you.