Wine Bar & Restaurant Income Tax Is Exactly What Edgewater Needs

By Anthony Todd in Food on Feb 1, 2017 4:03PM

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Photo courtesy of Income Tax.
When I previewed Income Tax, the new wine-focused restaurant that opened in Edgewater in December, I was pretty excited: promising food, an innovative wine program that let customers break open more bottles, and a space in a neighborhood with a shortage of great food. But the question remained: could the team create an experience that actually lived up to their promises?

I'm happy to report that the answer is an unqualified yes. Income Tax is the neighborhood restaurant that everyone wants four doors down from their house, a place where you can have a casual glass of wine after work with a colleague, a night on the town with friends or a four course romantic meal with a date. And all of those experiences will be reasonably-priced and delicious.

The space, it must be said, is tiny and a bit darker than I would ideally prefer, especially on the dining room side of the room. That small criticism aside, the designers did an excellent job of transforming an undistinguished storefront on Broadway into a warm, cozy hideaway, complete with a beautiful wooden bar that just begs guests to spend a few hours sipping and gossiping.

Income Tax has implemented a rotating service system that, frankly, I was skeptical of. Every server covers every table, and while you have a primary server, you can pretty much ask anyone for anything, theoretically without fear of a nasty look and "you're not my table." Amazingly, it works. For the restaurant, this likely increases wine consumption (an empty glass means lost sales) and for the customer, it's great, as you're never more than 15 seconds from getting someone's attention. The staff also have an impressive level of knowledge about the wine, which is necessary for newbies like me to buy bottles, which I rarely do.

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Photo courtesy of Income Tax.

But buy bottles I did. Income Tax is offering a wine service system I've never seen before, where any bottle on the list can be split and ordered as a half bottle with only a minimal upcharge. Best of all, once a bottle is broken into, the remaining wine is sold by the glass. So, if you're in the mood for an adventure and want some rare wines, ask your server to keep you updated on what's open at any given moment. You might get some amazing values. We drank a half bottle of a delicious french white from Domaine Lupin, and another half of an earthy Willamette pinot, neither of which I'd seen by the glass recently. Yup, I spent more on wine than I normally would have, but it was entirely worth it to get a good, generous taste of an $80 bottle while only spending $40.

Chef Ryan Henderson's menu manages to please both the comfort eaters and the food geeks at the same time. Take his salade beaucaire, an antique recipe that manages to seem totally of-the-moment, combining celery root, beets, endive and shaved ham, for a dish that makes me rethink all the possibilities of winter veggies. It's complicated but somehow not challenging, unless you happen to want to think hard about it. Leeks vinaigrette, one of my favorite old dishes no one makes anymore, is served skewered for easy gulping - though beware, it's so good that you might end up ordering another set of the savory, egg-and-mustard laden skewers.

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Photo courtesy of Income Tax.

The salt cod spread, served with bread and pickles, is generous enough to be all the appetizer that two people need, and goes perfectly with drink, the salty coarse spread coating your tongue and the chilled white washing it right back off. Henderson's coq au vin is my favorite winter dish of 2017, and the awesomely-tender chicken was also perfect the next day, as I ordered so much food at Income Tax that I couldn't possibly eat it all.

There were no misses on the menu, and I ordered almost everything. Even the unexpected, like fried spinach dumplings that looked like strange matcha-flavored arancini, turned out to be delightful, a savory explosion of cheese and spinach that somehow weighed me down and lifted me up at the same time.

It's rare that I, a fairly mean critic with particular sensibilities, had nothing worse to say about a brand new restaurant from an untested team than "it's a bit dark." But truthfully, I couldn't come up with anything not to love about Income Tax. It's not even expensive, with dishes ranging from $7 to $24, and portion sizes that make it easy for two people to order 3 plates and leave happy.

If you live in the neighborhood, you should be very excited. If not, make reservations anyway, because Income Tax is definitely worth the trip.