Noble Rot is what a wine bistro should be: refined but casual, friendly, open to the air—as if you were on any European avenue and not Southeast Ankeny Street. You can order by the glass or the bottle, of course, and avail yourself of your server’s gentle nudgings, but the wines also come in flights arranged by similarity so one can economically taste one’s way from South Africa to France and back before making the really hard decisions. The heart of the food menu is in the small plates—more a garnish to the wine than vice versa. But still, the chicken confit salad pretty much encapsulates the feel of summer, the entrees are serviceable, and we do hope you already know about the onion tart. It remains true as ever, terrifically ugly on the top with flaky crust beneath, artfully drizzled with balsamic reduction, chockablock with richness. It looks like a mistake and tastes like sweet-bitter ambrosia.
IDEAL MEAL: You’re kidding, right? You came for the wine. But still, try the tart. Get some olives and a cheese plate. Or the charcuterie. Whatever.