Wine bars are a thing in Dallas right now, but there’s a special one that just opened near Bishop Arts. Called blind bishopit’s a new concept from a well-known name in the Dallas wine world, open at 310 Sunset Ave., where it serves often rare wines by the glass and bottle, as well as a menu of plates to share created by the chef.
Blind Bishop is primarily a tasting room that hosts wine events, seminars and classes, but is also open to the public as a wine bar/restaurant on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6:30pm to 9:30pm.
They offer 25 wines by the glass and over 100 half and full bottles, curated by owner and wine director Dilek Caner, an advanced sommelier born in Istanbul, who worked at the restaurant Alain Ducasse, as a writer at Wines & Spirits magazine, and who holds the rare certification as master of wine.
Caner has been a wine educator for over a decade, but longed to be back on the floor, discussing wine with wine drinkers and wine students.
“I had been looking for a space to do this since 2014,” she says. “I have a background as a sommelier and I loved it. Being able to make a wine list and put those wines front and center is something I wanted to do again.”
And being an owner gives him a certain luxury.
“When you’re the wine director of a restaurant, you’re driven by the owners’ need to make a profit,” she says. “Education remains my main activity. Opening a small place like this will allow it to grow slowly and not have profits that will determine the wines I will bring. I can offer wines that are not yet loved by the masses but I can sell it because I can decide if I should profit from it. It’s a freedom I wanted to have.
That means bottles like a 2007 Champagne Brut from Philipponnat, or a 2019 Mencia a red Bierzo from Spain by Raul Perez – wines you don’t usually find in restaurants or even wine bars.
“One thing that makes it a little different from most wine bars is that I don’t go for ‘cheap’ or ‘expensive’,” she says. “What I’m looking for is good value for what they are. So it might be a $500 bottle, but it’s good value for what it is.”
Sound by the glass listing offers 3-ounce pours, some for as little as $5, the idea being that you can try a variety of wines that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access.
True to their name, they also offer a blind tasting flight, which you can try alone or in a group, to try to identify each wine. “If you’re studying for a wine certification, exam, or competition, there’s no better way to practice,” Caner says.
Its location is a nice little building one block from Jefferson Boulevard, just around the corner from the Texas Theater which was at one time an AA meeting point but had been vacant for a few years.
She gave the space a “contemporary industrial” style, with concrete floors and open ceilings up to the rafters.
“I wanted it to be a simple environment that didn’t tire people out with lots of color and kept the focus on the wine,” she says.
Determined to match her food offering to the quality of the wines, Caner installed a full kitchen and consulted with a chef to create a menu, which is updated every two weeks; the current menu is here.
Dishes such as burrata with charred broccoli, rigatoni with mussels and chorizo, and duck breast with summer squash and snow peas can be ordered a la carte, or you can make a menu. full tasting with four courses. Whether you order a dish or the full tasting, there are always recommended wines to pair with.
“I wasn’t looking for the food to be just an accompaniment – I wanted it to be on par with the wines we serve,” she says. “Our strength is pairing wines and opening up wines that people may not be familiar with.”