Cool food, cool wine list
- Charles Curtis
I'm sure that this is not news to any of you, but Churrascaria Plataforma on 49th bet. 8th & 9th is a really great place for spit-roasted meats. I've always enjoyed my meals there.
Last night, the owner recommended a bottle of Babcock Pinot which we ordered w/ our meal. It was fine - I like the wines from Babcock. But the interesting part came after that. I delved a little deeper and found a whole page of Portuguese wines on the list. Priced from under $30 to over $80. We ordered a bottle of Dao for about $30, much to our delight.
Does anyone else know of restaurants with both cool food and a cool wine list? I'd love to hear about it.
There are several posts on wine buried below both here and on the Outer Boroughs boards... but they're hard to dig up since they were usually off-topic, so this is a good new thread to start!
Off the top of my head, I'd recommend the following good food/good wine restaurants:
-- Veritas: on the fetish level with the wine, but still a fascinating list, and the food is delicious New American/French
-- Tommaso's: I know I keep plugging this place, but for this topic it's the best in the city -- oldstyle Italian in Bensonhurst with the best-selected underpriced wine list in the metro area... you gotta order right to get the good food though. As for the wines, the selection of primo '80s Barolos and Barbarescos from $30 to $75 is unparalleled (forget about the great prices, let's talk about availability!) ... if you wanted to go crazy, they have mid-'80s Romanée-Conti, a bottle that goes for $895 new today, for the mid $400s. All the wines are stored correctly.
-- Piccola Venezia: a Jim Leff fave, Istrian food with a really nicely chosen Italian wine list... not bargains, but not through the roof either
-- Patsy's Restaurant: yeah the Brat Pack joint... like many of these places you gotta skip the novelties on the menu and stick with the standbys... the list contains dozens of Italians from the '70s and '80s at reasonable prices, though they are starting to run out of some of the really nice ones. The guy with the glasses will serve you his homemade grappa as well if you indicate interest
-- Nicola Paone: surely on its last legs, but all the comments on Patsy's apply... we're seeing the end of a generation of this particular type of NYC Italian restaurant, sadly... slightly more expensive than Patsy's too, and you must wear a jacket if you're a man
-- Babbo and Lupa: the selection of hard to find Giuseppe Quintarelli's wines from the Veneto alone makes it worth the trip -- the food is exquisite as well, of course. I can't get past the Quintarellis, but a friend tells me that he had a superb bordeaux at Lupa recently
-- Home: singlehandledly introduced me to North Fork of Long Island wines... I haven't looked back. These reasonably priced bottles compliment the home cooking there wonderfully, particularly the various Cabernet Francs
-- Novità: despite its slight pretensions this place serves mouthwatering northern Italian food. We only had one bottle, a Carmignano the waiter recommended, and it was fantastic. I'd like to hear others' reactions about this place
-- Sparks: whether or not you believe in their whole wet-aged beef theory (I don't), you can get some pretty damn fine steaks here...and nice salad with roquefort... more to the point is the famous wine list, including lots of high-end wines priced below retail. That doesn't equate to cheap, of course -- but it does equate to bargains. It's astonishing that you can get 1963 port in an upscale restaurant for $150. Hint: request to be seated in the original dining room (the new extension is cheerless indeed)
-- Le Périgord: Lovely traditional southwestern French haute cuisine in an elegant setting filled with elderly people... if this turns you off, don't go, but the wine list is excellent and more to the point, you have the option of ordering it at cellar temperature. This I vastly prefer to the overheated red wines we commonly get served at NY restaurants... and it goes the other way too, because the owner heatedly advised me to let my Meursault sit out for a few minutes so that it wasn't served too cold. Good prices on Brane-Cantenac and other high-end Bordeaux... that said, there is nothing cheap.
WINE LIST HALL OF SHAME:
-- Union Pacific
-- Smith & Wollensky
-- almost any midtown "Grande Dame" French restaurant
I'm sure there are some "Famers" and "Shamers" I'm missing out on... please chip in, 'cause this is a subject that helps almost all of us!!!
re: Patrick A.
I agree with the places you mentioned (been to or heard about the wine list at most of them at least).
In addition, I heard of a new place called Tasting Room on East 1st St (near Prune, etc.) which specializes in American wine. Someone (Asimov?) called it a poor man's Veritas. Supposed to have like 300 wines all at great prices, with good food too.
Was at the Tasting Room a few weeks ago. The food's very good. You can order a tasting portion or a share portion. The chef tries to change the menu frequently. About a dozen wines by the glass.
Make sure to call ahead to reserve. It seats only 28 or so people. The chef's wife Renee runs the room and is very friendly and knowledgeable.
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