The vibe: Spare elegance is the watchword at Vinted, with its espresso brown tables, muted beige mosaics, striking art photography on the walls and a large central bar area. People come to imbibe wines by 1-, 3- or 6-ounce pours or by the bottle. During the 4 to 6 p.m. Happy Hour, a red and a white wine are featured for $5, as are well drinks. The menu offers appetizers, salads, small and entrée-size plates and desserts. You can have a delicious meal here, with or without the vino.
The food: Our party of nine found much to enjoy. We couldn't resist the Federal Risotto Balls, a specialty at The Federal Restaurant and Bar in Agawam, Mass., which owns Vinted.
Served in a galvanized metal mini-bucket, they resemble doughnut holes — if doughnut holes were made of richly flavored rice fried in a crispy coating, slicked with truffle butter and dusted with parmesan. I paired an order of these addictive goodies with the not-so-little small plate of Chicken Pancetta Meatballs, which arrived on a creamy bed of polenta with red onion "jam" and lardo butter.
Alongside I had the Happy Hour white wine, a Santa Julia Torrontes from Argentina, a dry, citrusy variety that one wine blogger compares, accurately, to "drinking fresh flowers." The red wine was a Calina Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, another superb choice.
Other dishes we ordered were the Whipped Chickpea Hummus with Scallion Cakes and tiny pots of Piquillo Pesto, Roasted Garlic and Jalapeno Lime to add oomph; the Apple and Cheddar salad with Spiced Walnuts, Cider Vinaigrette and Celeriac; and Fried Baby Brussels Sprouts with Salt and Vinegar.
From the Meat and Cheese selections, which are all served with grapes, raisin almond bread and a chunk of honeycomb, one friend tried the duck prosciutto with fennel pollen.
"Not something I'd order again," she said later. "It was OK -just not great. And I couldn't taste any fennel pollen."
Other dishes that won raves: the Horseradish Braised Beef Short Rib with Fingerling Salad, Smoked Jowl, Turnip and Tamari "Caramel"; the tower of Blue Fin Tuna Tartare with Smashd Avacado, Crispy Shallots, Soy "Pearls" and Wasabi; the Seared Wild Salmon with Avocado Mash, Jalapeño Salsa and sriracha vinaigrette and the huge serving of large, plump, tender Pan Roasted Mussels in a sake, ginger and miso broth.
Also on the menu: Ginger Poached Pear with Endive, Stilton, Walnuts and Pomegranate Vinaigrette; Marrow Bone "Cacciatore" with Forest Mushrooms, Oxtails, Gnocchi and Pine Needle Oil; and Seared Shrimp with Haricot Vert, Hazelnuts, Red Curry and Cilantro. Desserts include Apple Pie Purses with Double Vanilla Gelato, Hot Caramel and Walnut Powder and a serving of four "Almond Joy" Ice Cream Cones.
The bill: Veggie starters are $3.95 to $9.95. Meat and cheese platters are $5.95 to $22.95, for one to five choices. Meat entrees are $7.95 to $17.95; seafood dishes are $7.95 to $17.25 and desserts are $3.95 to $8.
The particulars: Vinted's kitchen is open Monday to Wednesday from 4 to 10 p.m.; Thursday 4 to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. to midnight; and Sunday 4 to 9 p.m. The bar stays open late Monday through Saturday.
The verdict: Inventive food and a world of wines make eating at Vinted a first-rate culinary adventure.