Just when it seems like you’ve seen everything the restaurant scene can possibly offer, something surprising comes along. This time it’s Sixty Vines, a sister restaurant to Whiskey Cake in Plano. With a heavy focus on wine, Sixty Vines stands out in a big way.
The space is huge. No one would describe this wine bar as intimate, cozy or plush; instead, its sprawling square footage, hard gray and brown surfaces, and minimalist Southwestern design evoke the feel of an elegant cafeteria. The seating space is divided up into myriad sections: a main dining room with long tables, barside area with lounge couches and high-top tables, kitchen bar, wine bar, terrace and greenhouse. Each has its own vibe and experience.
The wine list, too, is big. They offer 60 wines by the glass — forty of those on tap — and more by the bottle. While wines on tap are slowly growing in popularity as a way to reduce waste, not many wineries offer them yet. Despite limited options, Sixty Vines has done an excellent job of curating a diverse wine list that invites both those new to wine and those passionate about it. Six wines on the list are made just for the restaurant; Vine Huggers wines are made in Napa Valley with grapes grown in multiple vineyards throughout northern California.
For the most part, these bold, fruity wines are good representations of their variety and the region, though the Pinot Noir is exceptionally delicate. Though wines are primarily Californian, there’s Old World flavor on tap from Burgundy, Sicily and Rioja. For those seeking something familiar, popular vineyards like Franciscan and Qupe appear on the list. All wines on tap are available in 2.5-ounce, 5-ounce, 8-ounce or 750 ml pours, and if you want to sample a variety, flights are available.
Never fear, beer lovers. Sixty Vines also has about 15 beers on tap, three made specifically for the restaurant: a wheat ale, an IPA and a barrel-aged brown ale. A large selection is available in bottles if none of the drafts strike your fancy.
Unlike most wine bars that only offer a cheese platter, Sixty Vines is a full-blown restaurant with a seasonal, Italian-inspired menu. Upon first glance the menu might seem overambitious, but for the most part, the food succeeds.
The most popular appetizer is the wood-fired cauliflower, served as a whole head and beautifully charred with a lemon-dill yogurt sauce on the side. The house-made rigatoni is tossed in a rich eggplant and San Marzano tomato sauce that even the strictest carnivore would enjoy, though the pasta needed about 30 more seconds of cooking. The squash blossom pizza, while beautiful, fails to deliver the nuance of the blossoms or the thinly sliced zucchini; instead, the goat cheese and slightly chewy crust overpower these delicate flavors. Overall, the menu seems solid and thoughtfully assembled, and the staff is eager to help you pair your food and wine.
The service absolutely shines. I’ve never eaten in a new restaurant where the servers already know the menu so well, are simultaneously attentive and unintrusive, offer extras like lemon wedges without request and even have conveniences like purse hooks on hand. They delivered our pasta already split on two plates. Perhaps it would be more frantic on a Friday night, but my Sunday evening experience was better here than in most established Dallas restaurants.
Already offering “tappy hour” specials on Vine Huggers wines and launching both lunch and brunch this week, Sixty Vines is setting itself up to be the hot place to dine out in Plano. If you’re a wine lover, a beer enthusiast, or looking for fresh and interesting meals, you’ll find something worth trying here.
Sixty Vines, 3701 Dallas Pkwy., Plano