Ca Va, pronounced “sah-vah,” is meant to catch people both coming and going. Its French translation, “How’s it going?” and “It’s going” is used as an informal greeting.
“Ca Va’s purpose is to bring champagne and sparkling wine to people in an accessible way,” says Norcross, Ca Va’s general manager. “We’re here to let people know that champagne isn’t just for those who want to christen their yachts.”
Norcross says sparkling standards such as the Kir Royale, Bellini, French 75 and mimosa will go for $7 a flute. Ca Va will also serve boutique wines from the United States, France, Italy and Spain.
“There’s a strong adventurous attitude toward cocktails in Kansas City,” Norcross says. “And while we are creating a new wine and bubbles culture here, the champagne cocktails found in ‘Casablanca’ aren’t lost on us either.”
The intimate 740-square-foot French-style bistro seats 32 inside and 24 outside on the patio during warm weather. The 23-foot-long marble-topped bar is at home among original rough-hewn wood floor planks, exposed brick walls and reclaimed antique tin ceiling tiles with a grapevine motif. Large stylized photographs of a gypsy and lady of the evening speak to Ca Va’s unpretentious sensibilities.
Even though the space does not have a full-service kitchen, there are more than a bakers’ dozen of sweet and savory food options, including the Rieger Pork Soup ($7), Green Dirt Farm’s “Raclette” plate ($11), chocolate mousse ($8) and crème brulee tart ($7).
Howard Hanna, executive chef and owner of the Crossroads Arts District’s Rieger Hotel Grill Exchange, and Jim Coley, the midtown branch wine director of Gomer's Fine Wines Spirits, are also partners in this wine and dine endeavor.
“Champagne has a positive connotation: When people are drinking a glass, they are smiling and celebrating,” Norcross says.The Lady in Green Champagne Cocktail
To make a green cocktail for St. Patrick’s Day, use bitters — such as Dillon’s or the Bitter Truth brands — that are clear, without artificial coloring, then add green food coloring, if desired.Makes 10 (5-ounce) cocktails 1/2 cup super-fine sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons cocktail bitters 1/8 teaspoon green food coloring, optional 2 (750-milliliter) bottles Brut sparkling wine, chilled
At least one day before making cocktails: In a mixing bowl, stir sugar, bitters and optional green food coloring together until well combined and mixture has the consistency of wet sand.
Press mixture into 10 (1-by-1-inch) mini ice cube tray forms or spread on a glass pan into a form that is 5 inches wide by 2 inches long by 1 inch tall. Allow to dry out overnight or place in microwave on low for 20 to 30 seconds to accelerate the hardening process. (When microwaved in a food-safe container, sugar may bubble and liquefy temporarily but will harden as it cools.)
Remove bitters-sugar cubes from form or cut into 10 (1-inch) squares (2 rows of 5 cubes) using a sharp knife. Before serving, place each finished bitters-sugar cube into the bottom of a 5-ounce champagne flute and fill with sparkling wine. Serve immediately. Store any unused bitters-sugar cubes in an airtight container.Per cocktail: 167 calories (none from fat), no fat, no cholesterol, 15 grams carbohydrates, no protein, trace sodium, no dietary fiber.
Note: Microwave-safe silicone mini ice cube trays in a “Honeycomb” design by Charles Viancin can be purchased for $9.99 at Pryde’s Old Westport, 115 Westport Road in Kansas City.