Cuvée Ray: Wine Lovers and Gourmets Rejoice
Retired attorney Ray Kurz loves wine. He always wanted to host a wine bar and he’s made it happen. Cuvée Ray, Wine Bar and Restaurant, ensconced in one of the historic cottages on Rehoboth Avenue, is all about wine and fine dining—in a casual atmosphere.
Cuvée Ray holds down the spot at 236 Rehoboth Avenue which used to house Sydney’s, then Pig & Fish—and before that, it was a historic school house, moved to the spot from elsewhere in old-time Rehoboth. The building’s storied history has a sophisticated new look, a stunning wine room in the back, and a busy, buzzy vibe.
In the front room, the large, comfortable bar is a popular happy hour destination. As a friend and I were shown to a window table, it brought back many memories for me, of gazing at the Avenue from a table at one of Cuvée Ray’s predecessors.
Nostalgia aside, it’s a great new day at Cuvée Ray, under the regime of chef Joe Churchman and with Ray Kurz’s passion for a great wine list.
Our server Michael started us off with some great appetizer suggestions and we chose the Baby Beet salad with peas, tendril rye crumb, and yogurt, along with the Zucchini Soup flavored with ramp oil and citrus. The beet salad was delicious and beautifully plated, but the soup was the star. The ramp oil which, according to Michael, was spun into small dollops in a centrifuge, made the soup both visually appealing and absolutely scrumptious.
For entrées we chose the daily feature specials of Duck Breast and Pork Chop. The duck was served with barley grain, roasted carrots, pomegranate, and peas. The plating looked amazing and the duck and accompaniment delighted me.
As for the Pork Chop entrée, the portion was enormous with the meat served both on the bone and with several lean and succulent slices. It came with a smoked citrus glaze, red pearl onion, sweet garlic, grapes, and thick and tasty trumpet mushrooms. The grapes were a delightful and tasty surprise that really worked.
Other intriguing menu items included Halibut with braised fennel and turnips, Scallops with radish and quinoa, and Short Rib Sliders. There’s a great happy hour menu with small plates and much more.
Naturally, we needed accompanying wine. At Michael’s suggestion we did a sample flight, with three perfect 2016 vintage pinot noir selections. There was a Siduri pinot noir (Willamette Valley, Oregon), a Tablelands pinot (Marlborough, New Zealand), and a central coast California pinot listed in Field Recordings’ catalog as “Wonderwall.” All three complemented the entrées, but the New Zealand pinot noir bested them all.
The wine list is dramatically long, and it is clear that both casual wine lovers and connoisseurs will have a grand time enjoying the selections. Don’t worry if, like me, you enjoy your wine, but have a pre-dinner favorite cocktail: there’s an entire “not wine” list. I had the Royal Orleans Cosmo, with white vermouth, St. Germain, lime, and pomegranate. Next time I want to sample the Scenes from an Italian Restaurant Negroni.
Yes, we ordered dessert. The pastry chef at Cuvée Ray is known simply as Red. I suspect she is not the same chef Red from Orange is the New Black, and I am certain this pastry chef is a magician. The Strawberry Shortcake was amazing.
So for oenophiles (a synonym for wine lovers with “a disciplined devotion to wine”) or a casual consumer, or drinkers on the long scale in between, Cuvée Ray is great for you and great for Rehoboth’s culinary largesse.
And an added bonus is that Sydney Arzt, the Sydney of fond memories of Sydney’s Side Street, is an entertainment consultant for Cuvée Ray. There’s a busy music schedule at Cuvée Ray, and Sydney promises great music throughout the summer, especially Sunday night jazz. In some instances, young local musicians will be paired with pros. There will be songwriters and singers, joyful music to pair with the food and wine experience, and, as Sydney says “music with a groove.”
Check it out and make your own memories at Cuvée Ray. ▼