Wine country meets North Scottsdale at this bright and sleek wine café. Rhythm + Wine is an airy yet sophisticated bistro – lots of cream– and latte-colored upholstery, bright tiles and light wood with understated pops of red – that also boasts a wine market with an impressive collection of global bottles. A spacious, light-strewn patio allows for distanced outdoor dining in a pretty Pinnacle Peak setting.
Rhythm + Wine bills its fare as “traditional comfort meets traditional Italian.” I love both of those food philosophies, so I was eager to try a smattering of appetizers, which are half off during happy hour. (Once again, because I opted for takeout, I paid full price. Happy hour pricing is available for dine-in customers only.)
I would have put money on the meatballs ($10 regularly; $5 during happy hour) being my favorite. The two substantial, juicy orbs come draped with San Marzano tomato sauce, Grana Padano and fresh basil. Delish, but alas, a touch too spicy for my wimpy palate. I don’t think normal people would find them spicy; your grandma, toddler and I do, though.
Spinach artichoke dip with corn chips ($12 regularly; $6 during happy hour) is heavy on the veg and lighter on the cheese and cream, so it’s worth a try if you typically avoid this dish at other restaurants because it can be heavy and gloppy. Here, it is decidedly not. Also pretty light: the margherita pizza ($14 regularly; $9 during happy hour), which has a nice, chewy crust and lovely fresh basil.
Shrimp and grits ($14 regularly; $7 during happy hour) gets a textural makeover at Rhythm + Wine, and I am here for it. Tender shrimp and tomato pan jus bask on a throne of grits – but instead of languishing in a lush puddle, the grits are formed into rectangular batons and fried until crisp. The contrast between plush shrimp and crunchy grits cake is exciting for a texture freak like me, and the whole shebang is lightly spicy and deeply savory, to boot.
But my absolute favorite bite was the darkest of dark horses: Hippie Chips ($9 regularly; $4.50 during happy hour) with French onion dip. I am not a potato chip person. Sure, I’ll mindlessly munch on them at a party, but I’m not putting them in my shopping cart unless we’re hosting a barbecue. These house-made Kennebeck potato chips are perfection: see-through thin, crisp, not too oily and flavored with just the right amount of “fry dust.” Dipping them in the rich and creamy French onion dip only gilds the carb-y lily.
Because I ordered takeout, I couldn’t enjoy Rhythm + Wine’s topnotch wine list. When vaccination is widespread, I plan to return and drink an afternoon away. The J.P. Chenet Blanc de Blancs Brut would be my pairing for those Hippie Chips and that insane onion dip ($9/6 oz. glass regularly; $6 during happy hour). The luscious shrimp and spicy grits cake would make a great foil for the Kung Fu Girl Riesling ($8/6 oz. glass regularly; $5 during happy hour). And I’d choose the Gagliole Chianti ($10/6 oz. glass regularly; $7 during happy hour) to play with the spicy Italian meatballs.
Happy hour is offered Thursday-Saturday from 3-6 p.m. Dine-in only.
Happy hour deals:
- Half off all appetizers
- $3 off glasses of wine
- $8 off bottles of wine
- $2 off cocktails
- $1 off beers
- $5 off pizza
Additionally, the restaurant offers a number of daily and weekly specials:
- Scottsdale’s “Ladies Who Lunch” – Gal pals can enjoy the Chef’s Three Course Luncheon and wine flight tasting for $25 each, plus tax and gratuity. Offered on the second Wednesday of every month from 12-2 p.m. Reservations required.
- Half-Price Bottles – On Thursdays, the eatery offers a selection of wines at half price per bottle.
- Nightly Dinner Specials – Each includes soup or salad:
- Tuesday: Salmon Veracruz with Spanish rice and caper salsa ($26)
- Wednesday: Mushroom risotto with Parmesan crisp ($18)
- Thursday: Cherry-glazed pork tenderloin with polenta and broccoli rabe ($23)
- Friday: Pan-seared diver scallops with avocado mousse, pancetta cream and citrus salad ($28)
- Saturday: Herb-crusted prime rib (12 oz.) with potato gratin, asparagus, raifort sauce and jus ($30)