Gjelina - Dressed to impress, but what's underneath?
Gjelina is unique and fills a good niche of covering the pseudo wine-bar, small plate, go with friends or on a date thing.
Uber-cool dark wood/industrial space with a great outdoor patio w/beautiful, uplit brick wall.
This place certainly is hipster....a little too hipster if you ask me. Sure, I'd like to think I have some light hipster overtones, but it looks like these people went to a costume store on Halloween to find hipster outfits, purchased one, then on the way out, ran back in because they needed just a little more hipster.
The food was decent. The gourmet pizza's have great cracker crusts but are really flatbreads with toppings more than pizza. I'd recommend the bacon & fontina one. The duck confit was decent, authentic with crispy skin, but pricey for the portions. The 'grilled' artichokes were okay, tasted more like grilled, canned artichokes.
What bugged me more was the wine. Was 0-for-2 with glasses of wine and they were both TERRIBLE (Italian red blend and Marsanne white). Virtually no glass on the menu is less than $10-12 so that is disappointing.
So overall, dressed to impress, but a little too pricey for what you get.
We just had two very good meals at Gjelina in the past two weeks. If you show up before 7 p.m., you can probably snag a seat at the communal table without reservations. There's no sign out front, so yes, that's a bit pretentious. But the people inside are not. The vibe is fantastic, and the design of the place is incredible. Even the bathrooms are cool. We tried almost everything on the menu and didn't have a bad dish. The pizza crusts are saltine cracker thin, but they're all pretty tasty. Almost all the small plates are finished with a liberal dash of sea salt, even one of the desserts. If you don't like salt, stay away. Otherwise, dig in.
I've yet to try this place out because what turned me off even before they opened is the way they store (or at least display as part of the decor/theme) a lot of their wines - those racks lining the tall walls adjacent to the kitchen and the outdoor patio area seems to invite unwanted harassment to the bottles. I'm not a huge wine-head but I do enjoy a good bottle a few times a week. I'd think swings in temps and light and heat pooling around the higher tiers are not considered friends to wine. So are they a wine bar that isn't serious about wine, or are they a cool hipster joint that happens to decorate their walls with wine?
I know $10-12 is becoming standard for a glass of vino so I can accept the cost of admission. But at the same time, don't dog&pony me - it just makes me want to stay home and sit on my own patio with a better bottle...