Wine Dinners at The Bistro: A Q&A with Wade Penland
November 28, 2023
November 28, 2023
When it comes to elevating dining experiences, The Bistro in Irmo, South Carolina, stands out, offering a delightful blend of delectable cuisine and carefully curated wines. One of their standout offerings is their highly anticipated Wine Dinners, where patrons can indulge in expertly paired dishes and hand-selected wines. We sat down with Wade Penland, Managing Partner, General Manager, and Chef at The Bistro, to delve into the world of this unique local culinary event. Continue reading to discover an exclusive announcement from Wade and The Bistro about exciting new offerings at the restaurant!
What inspired you to start hosting the monthly wine dinners?
The restaurant business is chaotic, busy, and foot-to-the-floor pretty much all the time. These dinners give us a chance to break the norm and offer our guests a unique experience at the restaurant. As fun as it is for our guests, it is just as fun for us to curate these events to create a unique and special experience.
How do you select the wines that will be featured at each wine dinner?
That depends. Sometimes, we have the ability to bring in a winemaker or brand representative that we love. Sometimes, we put our heads together with our friends in the industry and plan around a certain theme (such as the Tour of the Old World dinner we did recently). Sometimes, it’s based on the seasons or some of our personal favorite wines. Whatever the case, we center ourselves around a particular theme guiding our planning process.
Can you provide an example of a recent or upcoming wine dinner menu, including the wine pairings?
As I mentioned, we recently themed one dinner around wines from the Old World, mostly European regions; our dinner focused on France, Italy, and Spain specifically. Obviously, these cultures are highly regarded for their cuisine and wine, so it made sense to pair iconic varietals from each region with some of the most traditional cuisines found there for this dinner. We began our trip in Italy, pairing a Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio Crostini with a beautiful Prosecco. We moved to France for our cheese course, pairing warm Camembert, orange-infused honey, spiced walnuts, cured egg yolk, and grilled bread with a bright and crisp Viognier. Next was Spain and the traditional Gambas al Ajillo, which is the most popular tapas dish served in the Mediterranean coastal regions of the country. We prepared beautiful head-on prawns with garlic, extra virgin Spanish olive oil, a touch of chili pepper, sherry, and butter and served them over Spanish rice that we cooked with a shrimp stock made from the prawn shells. This dish was paired with a Verdejo. We went back to Italy for our pasta course, Bucatini all’Amatriciana, with a gorgeous Nebbiolo. Our main course was Canard au Vin (braised duck leg quarter in red wine, root vegetables, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and herbs) paired, of course, with a massive red Bordeaux. Spain provided dessert: churros and spiked Spanish hot chocolate.
What sets your wine dinner events apart from similar events at other restaurants in the area?
There is a ton of amazing talent in the industry in Columbia, and I’ve enjoyed all types of incredible events all over the city. I will say that what we focus on the most is the intimacy of the experience; we’ll never schedule a special event on a day that we are open for regular business, as we want to focus our entire attention on our event and be sure to create an over-the-top memory for our guests. We will always invite incredible musicians to create an atmosphere for our events that builds special memories for our guests. We strive to create a full-sensory experience for our guests instead of just giving them food and wine; of course, food and wine are good — no argument there — but the little things matter.
Can you share any memorable moments from past wine dinner events?
Though I’ve been in this industry for my entire professional career and executed literally hundreds of special events over that time as a Manager, General Manager, and Partner, I’ve never functioned as the Executive Chef for an event until my time at The Bistro. I’ve cooked my entire life, inside and outside of the professional setting, but our dinner in June of 2022 was the first time that I hosted an event not only as a Managing Partner of the restaurant but also planned, prepped, and executed the dinner as the Executive Chef. The kitchen is where my soul resides inside the restaurant, so it was an incredible feeling to pull that one off. It was a surreal experience; my professional career graduated out of the kitchen and into business management over a decade ago through a number of twists and turns, but the kitchen has always had my heart. Getting back to my roots, taking the reins during that dinner, and executing it the way we did was a very special moment for me.
Is there anything else you’d like potential guests to know about your restaurant’s wine dinner series?
Well… I may be sharing a little news here…but we’ll most likely be moving our dinners to Sundays in the future as we are getting ready to change our hours and days of operation at The Bistro. We’ll be opening for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday in the last week of November this year, so keep your eyes on our social media for all the exciting new things coming your way!
The Bistro’s Wine Dinners are not just about dining; they are about creating lasting memories through the artful pairing of exceptional dishes and wines. If you’re looking for an unforgettable culinary experience, visit The Bistro, now open for lunch and dinner, and watch for the next wine dinner event by keeping up with their Facebook page (These dinners are ticketed and require a reservation in order to attend).
Monday – Saturday:
11:00 am – 10:00 pm