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  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American East Village Moderate Good

There’s nothing new about the concept behind Winebar. The name says it all, and as such—a wine bar, New York City, circa 2005—you can expect wine—by the glass, bottle, and possibly quartino—and small plates crafted from seasonal ingredients inspired by the country of the wine featured: Spain for Bar Jamon, Italy for In Vino and Bar Veloce, etc. The concept is a no brainer, but if executed properly, it can still make a statement despite its copycat genre.

I was not expecting much from Winebar, which opened quietly across the way from Mermaid Inn a few weeks ago. But I left feeling the need and the desire to return—and often.

The restaurant was actually conceptualized (and is owned) by Matthew Kenney. He is good friends with the guy who owned Ovo (where Winebar is now located), and he took over the lease from when his pal closed Ovo to move back to Lebanon and develop real estate. Apparently civil unrest and Presidential assassinations give you rock bottom prices on land. Good to know. Anyway, Kenney has a great sensibility for creating inviting spaces, and he has designed a warm, yet sleek urban tavern with a wood-burning oven, and long dark wood drinking counters that make the place fell like a larger Bar Jamon. But since he is all about raw food now, he has been leaving the food to chef Sean Olnowich, who has worked at places like Olives and Rocco’s a la Playa in Sag Harbor, and who has a great knack for seasoning. While his menu is simple, its soul is complex—every dish has depth of flavor, of texture, and contrasting tones that create a wide zone of pleasure in your mouth. Fun stuff people.

Let’s begin with the crostini with assorted dips ($8). Nothing to write home about here you might think. I certainly was not expecting much other than something to fill my tummy while Stacey and I pondered the wine list. We chose a fabulous white wine from Greece—the Malgousia, Gerovassiliou Eponomi (2004), a crisp, bright slightly tart white that reminded me of something from the Loire. (Julio, the front of the house manager is a sweetheart and is quite adept at helping you choose a wine that is right for your price point, palate, and mood.) The crostini are extraordinary. Who knew spreads on bread could be so damn good? The bread is all Amy’s, first of all, which is a great thing. As such it is soft, dense, and chewy, not hard, crusty and dangerous. Sean makes a fennel spread th ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in East Village :
+ Yujin-- Closed   + Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar   + Mermaid Inn   + Five Points   + Lavagna   + Five Points   + Bond Street   + Jewel Bako   + Alphabet Kitchen   + In Vino   + Bao 111   + Chikalicious   + Il Buco   + Hearth   + Lima's Taste   + Mercadito   + Hedeh   + Momofuku   + Una Pizza Napoletana   + Winebar   + Uovo-- CLOSED   + Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction   + Gotham Bar & Grill   + Colors   + Chinatown Brasserie   + Knife and Fork   + European Union-- NEW CHEF; SEE APRIL 2007 Review   + Aroma Kitchen and Winebar   + Stand   + European Union   + Mercat   + Gemma   + Back Forty   + The Smith   + Seymour Burton   + Belcourt   + Graffiti   + The Redhead   + Double Crown    + Apiary   + Joe Doe   + Apiary by guest reviewer Kiri Tannenbaum   + DBGB   + Northern Spy   + Goat Town   + Saxon + Parole   + Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria   + Acme   + Calliope   + Nicoletta   + JEPPNEY by Claire Jaffe   + Feast   

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