Part of the Steven Becker Fine Dining family of establishments (which includes the Coronado Ballroom, Steven Becker Catering and Nadoz Euro Bakery & Cafe), Vino Nadoz is tucked into The Boulevard retail area in Richmond Heights. While the outside of the restaurant blends in with the other storefronts on the bustling promenade, the somewhat humble exterior belies a topnotch eating and drinking experience.

Of course, we were expecting a wine bar to have an impressive list of vinos, but we were pleased at the wide selection of other adult beverages to choose from at Vino Nadoz. Only seasonal local beers were on tap, from such esteemed area breweries as Schlafly, Perennial Artisan Ales, O’Fallon Brewery and Urban Chestnut Brewing Company. We eventually settled on a glass of 4 Hands Prunus ($5), an aromatic beer brewed with sour cherries, to go along with our refreshing Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc ($8).

Executive chef Chris DiMercurio recently took over the kitchen at Vino Nadoz, and we were excited to taste what he’d come up with. To start, we ordered up the Gougieres ($6), three hefty warm pastries made with gruyere cheese. These were pretty heavy for appetizers, and could easily be made into a complete meal alongside one of the salads available or another First Plates selection.

There’s not much that we love more than a fresh tomato salad in the summertime, and the Tomato Panzanella Salad ($10) we had at Vina Nadoz was one of our favorites. It was a colorful amalgam of tomatoes, fresh basil and garlic, topped with balsamic, gorgonzola cream and house-made croutons. The tomatoes were roughly cut instead of sliced for a beautiful rustic presentation.

While the menu had some tempting larger Signature Plates, we decided to go lighter with the Margherita Pizza ($10). The pie was topped with roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, pesto and basil. We especially liked the crust, a crispy semolina, and it was the perfect size to share.

We wound down with the Brown Butter Cake ($7), a deliciously crumbly confection topped with a bourbon caramel sauce and a dollop of salted caramel ice cream next to it. The salty/sweet combo was a tasty end to our evening.

The dining room at Vino Nadoz was spacious, with a sizable bar area and an impressive display of wines behind it. In addition to lots of end-of-vintage wine specials, most of the wines listed also had a take-home special price, usually a few dollars less than the regular bottle price, for those who just want to pop in for a bottle for home use. There also were other affordable happy-hour specials to be had, such as half-price cocktails, beers and wines by the glass and half-price pizzas from 4 to 6 p.m. during the week.

More than just a handy oasis from a hard day’s shopping, Vino Nadoz is definitely a delicious destination unto itself.

More Food & Dining articles.