Pop goes the wine bar: Vin de Chez at Union Kitchen

August 21, 2013

Tom Madrecki has developed enough of a following with his private supper club, Chez le Commis in Clarendon, that he tends to book solid within three minutes of posting dinner dates online. That’s what happens when a guy whips up a restaurant-worthy feast in his one-bedroom apartment and has only 14 seats to offer.

Union Kitchen
(Photo by Jeffrey MacMillan)

Eager to expand and democratize his project, Madrecki is going public next month with Vin de Chez, a pop-up wine bar in the parking lot of Union Kitchen, a shared commercial cooking space, at Third and L streets NE.

“I’ve been looking for a way to do larger events, but it needed to be the right fit,” says Madrecki, a corporate communications manager who spent six months apprenticing at Noma in Copenhagen and Le Chateaubriand in Paris before launching Chez Le Commis in March 2012. A parking lot outside of a warehouse promises to be more casual and fun than a serious tasting menu served indoors, he says.

Vin de Chez was inspired by a group of wine mavens who met under a bridge in Copenhagen during the chef’s time in the city.

Madrecki’s first sip-and-sup is scheduled for September 29 from 2 to 10 p.m. A preview menu online lists, among other choices, rockfish ceviche, tomato tartine, aged squab and beef (both requiring advance notice) and a signature dessert from Chez Le Commis: popcorn ice cream with caramel and cheddar powder. Ultimately, “I’ll have the market guide the menu.”

Wines will feature Old World varietals and products from biodynamic producers. Look for about eight wines by the glass and 70 by the bottle (including the dear Jacques Selosse Champagne Brut Initiale).

Madrecki hopes to stage a similar event on October 20, followed by “15 or so” additional wine bar pop-ups next year, “in the warm months.”

Reservations to Vin de Chez aren’t necessary, but “they assure you get a seat,” says Madrecki, who estimates the average check will be between $30 and $40 a person, not including tip.

To book, or for more information, go to www.vindechez.com.

Weaned on a beige buffet a la “Fargo” in Minnesota, Tom Sietsema is the food critic for The Washington Post. This is his second tour of duty at the Post. Sietsema got his first taste in the ‘80s, when he was hired by his predecessor to answer phones, write some, and test the bulk of the Food section’s recipes. That’s how he learned to clean squid, bake colonial cakes and distinguish between nutmeg and mace.
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