Wine 5 Cafe is a Unique Experience in Vegas Eating Out
In a non-descript area of the northwest Las Vegas ‘burbs across the parking lot from the familiar red and white Target logo if you look between a nail shop and an insurance office you’ll find the Wine 5 Cafe. It might as well be a pizza joint – in fact it used to be a pizza joint. However, if you step inside, where you’ll be greeted with a smile and order breakfast, lunch or dinner at the Wine 5 you’ll experience something totally different
I didn’t plan to go there today. But my girl friend Senora suggested we get together for a meeting. She probably assumed it would be at Starbucks, but instead I blurted out, “Let’s meet for lunch.”
A few months ago I had lunch at the Wine 5 shortly after they opened. It felt like something was a different. I wasn’t sure what made it unique. Today I wanted to get to the bottom of things.
The dining room is as cozy, homey and pleasant as any little cafe. It’s the kind of place where you might expect to find fried chicken and biscuits, or, meat loaf and mashed potatoes on the menu. But the fare at the Wine 5 is far more exotic while maintaining a homey familiarity at the same time.
Imagine my surprise when I opened the menu and discovered unique twists on menu standards like a Reuben made with your choice of Corned Beef or Turkey or Salmon. Did your eyebrows fly up just a little bit on that one? Mine did.
But wait – there’s more. The Chef, Grace Njoroge, told me they use one-of-a-kind spice blends, imported from Kenya that aren’t overly hot, however you sense a different kind of kick. It’s not Mexican or Thai or Indian, it’s Kenyan and it’s delicious.
My friend Senora ordered the Nairobi Street Feast ($8.95). The portions are large. We probably could’ve shared her meal and it would’ve been plenty of food. She got a quesadilla made with a spinach tortilla and a tomato tortilla. On top was a garnish of onion jelly that was sweet and pungent with onion flavor. The quesadilla contained chicken, pico de gallo and cheese. On the side was a bowl of Bean and Corn Soup with Kenyan spices. Sort of a Kenyan take on a soup and sandwich.
Grace said this soup is served all over Kenya. Every Kenyan cook makes this soup. Again, comforting but kick-y, too. When you order something different from what you’ve experienced, it makes no sense to compare. It simply is what it is and that’s the beauty of venturing out and trying something new.
I ordered an appetizer, the Chile Cheese Vegetable Logs, ($7.95). Ann, our Server, recommended it enthusiastically. Your Mom would like this one: it included carrots, jicama, zucchini, sweet potato, green beans, asparagus and beets. The cut veggies are tossed in a bread crumb mixture and quickly fried. Then, the whole thing is topped with mild green chiles and colby-jack cheese. Okay, I didn’t say it’s the healthiest thing on the planet – but there still are a lot of veggies on your plate to enjoy.
The service is friendly and efficient. I swear, I visited Wine 5 only once since it opened three months before and surprisingly – Ann remembered me from my last visit.
I asked Grace, if the restaurant had a philosophy and she replied, “We want to take people out of Vegas without really taking them out of here.” Then she shared more about the Kenyan spice blends which are the inspiration for many menu items. She also told me they have menu items available to accommodate the vegetarian, the vegan, the gluten-free and more. For my good friend Stacey whose gluten-intolerant, that will be welcome news indeed.
I told the server what I believe will bring my husband Ernie in is the spices. He’s from India but likes anything spicy, no matter what cuisine it is – Mexican, Cajun or whatever. This is a man who sprinkles Cajun spices on his scrambled eggs for breakfast.
If you want to get out of the norm of all the countless chain restaurants located in Las Vegas and go someplace that’s different while still feeling familiar – visit the Wine 5 Cafe. The spices will transport you to exotic Kenya, but the comforting, pleasing surroundings and the warm, friendly service will make you feel right at home.
Wine 5 Cafe
3250 N. Tenaya, Suite 110 (near Cheyenne)
Las Vegas, NV 89107