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With most wine-centric venues, red and white take center stage, relegating Champagne to opening act status. But at Encore, a new eatery helmed by executive chef Ryan Studebaker (Gingham, Solace & the Moonlight Lounge), a robust array of sur lie offerings are allowed to sparkle. From effervescent everyday sippers to limited edition splurges, Encore’s stock pairs well with a menu designed to debunk the myth that sparkling wine isn’t food-friendly.

In doing so, Studebaker employs traditional Champagne accoutrements such as sturgeon and blinis, adding depth to caviar service by adding roe-adorned crab deviled eggs. Cold-smoked salmon tartare bruschetta and chicken liver pate topped with a layer of sweet-tart currant brandy gelee also make for delicate go-withs, but Studebaker dares to be bold with slow-cooked, fall-apart pork cheeks and fried Fontina-laced grits, Kennebunk potato gnocchi with house-cured bacon, and mussels given brilliant tartness care of pickled honey onions.

Thanks to a hospitable, giving staff, no French degree is necessary to enjoy Encore to the fullest. Their mission is to provide a lax setting for patrons to dive deep into their Champagne flutes. Questions are welcome and deftly handled, improper pronunciations are overlooked. Niche focus sans pretention is as refreshing as chilled blancs de blancs. (619.255.5152, www.encoregaslamp.com)   Brandon Hernández


Encore interior: Photo by Mark Weisenberger     Encore drinks: Photo by Kevin Falk


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