Pruneyard Plaza in Campbell contains a mellow mix of big-chain eateries and boutique businesses, the latter of which includes a new breath of life into the dining scene: Little Wine Counter.
Created by The Little Chef Group, the new wine counter promises to match its San Pedro Square counterpart (Little Chef Counter), but with a quieter, more sophisticated atmosphere. And an extensive wine selection.
On a Saturday morning, my party of two was only one of three other occupied small tables, an unheard of phenomenon when it comes to brunch, which is too often marred by ridiculous lines. Although the restaurant was tucked away in a small location at the corner of the plaza, the decor and seating arrangements still made for a well-lit and spacious dining area. A few tables were arranged in their courtyard for outdoor dining, while a small counter for enjoying wine sat off to the right. Wall space was adorned with various elegant wine and champagne bottles of different sizes in between vases of fresh flowers. The restaurant seemed to be gearing up as staff put out new flowers for the day.
Our meal came out in order from small plates and salad to entrees and then ending with dessert. The glass of Sophora Sparkling Rose ($10/glass) was tart and crisp with a hint of sweetness. It paired well with the refreshing shaved fennel salad ($10). A generous helping of shaved fennel and arugula dressed in balsamic vinaigrette that lacked tartness was served with pickled red onions and grated parmesan cheese, which should have been stronger to add flavor to the dish. The subtle hint of grated orange zest was a welcome touch.
A wine bar is incomplete without a charcuterie selection and the housemade duck prosciutto ($16) was a must have. It was served with whole grain mustard, pickled onions and cornichons, and crostini toast pieces. Thin slices of cured duck breast with a fatty edge are layered on top of seedy mustard and thin pieces of cornichon pickles create a balance of sour, salty, soft and crunchy.
Bacon and eggs ($11.50)—a classic brunch dish—was well executed with crispy bacon, ripe blistered cherry tomatoes and fluffy eggs served on thick Texas toast. Their rendition of the Croque Madame ($11) with prosciutto ham and white cheddar, an already delicious sandwich with quality ingredients, was enhanced by an expertly made bechamel sauce and spicy whole grain mustard, giving a lemony taste to the sandwich. For presentation points, the Madame is cut into thirds each topped with a sunny-up quail egg.
Dessert did not fare as well as the charcuterie and entrees, as the Chai Tea Crme Brulee ($9) with mint and berries fell flat in richness and flavor despite a perfect crust and texture.
Overall, the food at Little Wine Counter was very impressive. The decor is simple and stunning, making great use of a small space. While the menu for brunch is limited, the portions are satisfying and the dishes are outstanding. The Little Wine Counter could quickly ease the congestion from established South Bay restaurants offering brunch. As for me, I’ll be coming back for dinner and wine.
Little Wine Counter
1875 S. Bascom Ave. #560, Campbell