Leave it to Khai Vu. If anyone else suggested opening a wine bar that specializes in tapas of both Spanish and Asian descent, and that they were putting it in the middle of Chinatown, we would be leery. But Vu and his team have managed to pull this concept into tight focus, creating one craveworthy dish after another.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. Vu is, after all, the man behind the luxurious lobster pho at District One Kitchen & Bar and the trendy Saigon Sunday brunch at Le Pho. However, this might be his biggest accomplishment yet.
Mordeo Boutique Wine Bar is a sleek space with transparent windows offering would-be diners a glimpse of a night of laid-back elegance. The design of the room is communal with an outer bar acting as the main dining space and a more intimate “chef’s table” giving some guests an up-close view of their food being prepared by the team of cooks.
A beautiful wine wall separates the two dining spaces and gives master sommelier Luis de Santos a large toolbox to play with. Clams and mussels con chorizo is a dish most have experienced—it’s just that Vu does it better than most. White wine, garlic and Sriracha intermingle to create a broth surrounding the protein that makes guests feel like they’re eating at a small cafe in a coastal Spanish fishing town during a rainy day. Grilled Nigerian prawns are given a lobster roll-style coating of spices transforming the grilled crustacean. And the beet garden is such a pretty salad, it’s almost a shame it must be eaten—but it’s not. Eat it. Seriously. But really, eat anything Vu suggests. His keen intuition will surely expand your culinary horizons. 5420 Spring Mountain Rd., Ste. 108, 702-545-0771, mordeolv.com