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Ruta del Vino, Owners Justin and Jessica Logan's Latino Wine Bar on Upshur Street in Petworth

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My husband and I wanted to grab an early dinner around 6:15 pm Saturday to make up for the anniversary dinner we had to cancel earlier in the week (it's a long story that involves a concussion - and said concussion is making husband very sleepy, hence the early dinner).

We figured it should be no issue showing up at Himitsu at 6:15 to grab two seats either at the bar or a table.  I figured that most people wouldn't be eating or even out yet on a Saturday at 6.  Wow.  I was wrong.  The wait was over 2 hours long when we arrived so we decided to head elsewhere and got in the car to try our luck at Izakaya Seki.  However, as soon as I turned down 8th st from Upshur we saw a new restaurant, that had a few tables, and figured, why not?

The internet suggested that it was a new Asian street food restaurant (an old Prince of Petworth article), but when we looked at the menu in the window it was clear it was a Pan-Latin place.  Since my husband and I both work in Latin America and travel there often we figured, again, why not?  I asked the very nice hostess how long they had been open -- she said three weeks.

We were seated immediately - the room is cool - lots of Edison bulbs, wood, exposed brick, plants hanging on the wall, central large bar.  We both really liked the space.  Service, throughout the night, was fine.   A little distracted (menus sat on the table most of the meal until I asked for them to be taken away, long waits for water) and just a little inexperienced.  But, hey, it was week 3, and the server was perfectly nice and did his job.  Polish will come.

The menu is broken down into four categories and includes a variety of drinks and dishes from Peru, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.  One category is appetizers, which had empanadas, fish tacos, quiejo coehlo (A delicous slab of cheese with oregano that you eat on the beach in Brazil) and some other items.  There was also a ceviche section with 4 or 5 choices, a section of sandwiches (a chicken milanesa, a choripan - which is a grilled sausage sandwich, and a Cubano), and a main course section with chiles rellenos, a carne asada hanger steak with yucca fries and chimichurri, a fish special of the day (a seafood stew on Saturday), an Aji Huancaina (Peruvian yellow chile sauced chicken) and a couple other dishes.

We had the queijo and fish tacos as appetizers and both were very good - as good as or better than the versions we usually eat in Latin America.  I had the carne asada for my main and it was fine.  I liked it, but could make it at home with the pre-marinated carne asada from Trader Joe's. My husband had the seafood stew which had octopus, clams, fish, and mussels in a really nice broth.  It was great.  We didn't do dessert.

The wine list is heavy on Chilean and Argentine Malbecs and Pinot Noirs, but I had a very nice glass of a Bolivian!! Tannat that is a rarity.  I would have liked to have seen more Uruguayan wines on the menu, as I think they are great and under-represented.  The cocktail list is also nice - my mole Old Fashioned was really great on a cold night.

I think this is a nice new addition to the scene!

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I've been a couple times now over four months. Can't say enough nice things about this place.

First time was a busy Friday night in February. Service issues were obvious first time through but they've obviously tries to address this. [Disclosure: one of the partners is a friend, and he's mentioned finding and holding on to good staff is a battle].

Their happy hour specials are pretty unbeatable

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We live fairly close, and 4 of us find ourselves there semi-regularly. And yes, the staff are pleasant, but not always able to keep up. The food is good, the happy hour is a great value and we are really enjoying working our way through a wine list full of unfamiliar wines.

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It seems that they have closed/are closing. I'm not sure why, but I shall miss them.

We were there for happy hour on Friday, and heard from some staff that Saturday would be their last day.

No confirmation from management, or elsewhere yet.

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