Sometimes, when a good thing blows up, a little street cred is lost along the way: Indie bands forfeit their edge when they hit the big time; talented chefs turn out duds as their empires grow too vast. In 2008, Terroir was an anomaly—the trailblazing wine bar, from pedigreed toque Marco Canora and sommelier guru Paul Grieco, brought genuine East Village cool to the high-minded world of wine by way of an offbeat selection, loud music and a tatted-up staff. But in the past few years, the pair has gone on an expansion tear, installing spin-offs of the quirky downtown gem in Tribeca and Murray Hill, on the High Line and, as of September, in Park Slope. This venture, their first Brooklyn foray, could have been the moment the whole enterprise jumped the shark—if it didn’t fit into the neighborhood so naturally. Like Mario Batali and Daniel Boulud, Grieco and Canora have figured out how to operate an expanding domain without losing sight of the details on the ground: polished service, stellar food and a hobnobbing room.
DRINK THIS: Grieco is known as a diehard riesling booster, and his list, with 30 options of the varietal, reflects the obsession. Taste the star grape’s range—from bone-dry to fruity and lush—via three-ounce pours ($4.75–$8.25), or just kick back with a full glass ($9–$16). Of course, red-wine loyalists can find plenty of cork-dork bait, and the roster also showcases an admirable selection of ciders and beers.
GOOD FOR: Neighborhood wine geeks, Park Slope parents relishing date night and solo drinkers in search of a respectable bar. While Grieco’s list offers ample fodder for vino enthusiasts, the joint is laid-back enough for anyone looking to grab a drink with pals. The simple space—framed by brick walls, rustic wood floors and huge windows—is plenty comfortable, and the affable barkeeps are as game to talk serious wine as they are to engage in some friendly banter.
THE CLINCHER: Canora’s soulful bar snacks are reason enough to hit up Terroir. As at the other locations, drinkers can offset the swigging with signature dishes, including the supremely moist veal-and-ricotta meatballs, stuffed into a crusty loaf and cloaked in tangy tomato sauce ($11). But Canora also offers a few new plates unique to this location. We especially loved the fabulously sticky Southeast Asian–style chicken wings ($8), which are deep-fried, coated with a sweet-salty sauce (made from fish sauce, brown sugar and chili paste) and brightened with a sprinkle of chopped scallion.—Mari Uyehara