Chapel Hill restaurant Elements expands, adds a wine bar

If you’ve ever wondered what Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon tastes like but couldn’t quite justify the $200-plus retail price (double that on a typical restaurant wine list), then mark your calendar for 5-7 p.m. Thursday.

That’s when owner/chef Michael Chuong and his team are celebrating the grand opening of a wine bar in the space adjacent to Elements, his restaurant in Chapel Hill’s 54 East retail and office complex. To mark the occasion, Chuong is offering every bottle in his global collection of nearly 500 labels (including many much more affordable than that Opus One) to take home for 30 percent off. Buy six or more, and you can make that 40 percent.

Just want a taste? Or a glass? Chuong has installed a wine preservation and dispensing system that will offer a rotating by-the-glass selection of 32 of those wines by the 1-ounce, 3-ounce or 6-ounce pour.

To pair with your quaff of choice, the chef has created a wine-friendly menu of small plates. Building on his reputation for Southeast Asian-inspired contemporary fare, the selection includes lobster and melon salad, oysters three ways (raw, fried and grilled Vietnamese style) and green papaya salad with lemongrass beef. A complimentary sampling of the menu will be offered, along with Spanish tapas classics such as warm almonds and marinated olives, at the grand opening.

For those who can’t make it to the debut party, Elements Restaurant and Wine Bar (2110 Environ Way, Chapel Hill; 919-537-8780; is open for lunch Monday-Friday and dinner Monday-Saturday.

Greg Cox, the N&O’s longtime restaurant critic, also reports restaurant news. Tune into to his radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF. Reach him at