The other night while my wife was traveling, I decided to hit the other nearby wine bar, XO. Located just off of the recently completed W. Catawba Ave. (YAAY!), it's easy to get to. And since I'd been hearing good things, I thought I'd check it out.
The second I walked into XO, I felt more like I was in Manhattan than in Cornelius. The furniture was black lacquer, the bar was stainless steel, and the vibe was hip and trendy. I had to do a double take. I was in Cornelius... RIGHT?? (I personally lean away from the hip and trendy, and tend to like a laid-back atmosphere. But they succeeded in creating an intimate lounge feel.)
However, it's not the style that sets XO apart, it's the menu. They have a full menu that features tapas, but also has some entrees thrown in too. The chef has a creative streak that produces some interesting and adventurous food. From their Andouille Sausage pizza that features peaches, champagne gastrique, robiola, and cinnamon basil; to their Caprese Salad that highlights a balsamic-injected cherry tomato wrapped in mozzarella, Chef Kyle Schutte is trying new things.
Unfortunately I already had dinner before I arrived. So, I enjoyed only a glass of wine and the Sweetbread Corndogs. These are not the dogs you ordinarily enjoy at the county fair. Stuffed with ground veal, these corndogs are very different indeed. They have a rich and savory flavor that just can't be beat. Served with spicy mustard, these corndogs were a treat to be enjoyed.
I wish I would have had room in my stomach to try more of their food selection. It was very unique, and that's something which is hard to come by.
Price: $$ (one glass of wine, one tapas plate, and tip came to almost $15)
Kid Friendly: Not really.
Conclusion: The only wine bar in the area to have such a large and unique menu. This place has more formal vibe to it, but it works. Definitely worth giving this place a try, for their menu if nothing else.
XO Tapas Wine Bar
19701 Bethel Church Rd.
Cornelius NC 28031