Where to drink this week: New-school wine bars

Great juice sans the attitude.

0

Comments

Add +
  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Terroir Murray Hill

    Terroir Murray Hill

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Terroir Murray Hill

    Oyster sandwich at Terroir Murray Hill

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Terroir Murray Hill

    Terroir Murray Hill

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Terroir Murray Hill

    Terroir Murray Hill

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Terroir Murray Hill

    2009 Frontn de Oro at Terroir Murray Hill

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    The Saint Austere

    Creamy Polenta at the Saint Austere

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    The Saint Austere

    The Saint Austere

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    The Saint Austere

    The Saint Austere

  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    The Saint Austere

    Octopus at the Saint Austere

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Kaia Wine Bar

    Kaia Wine Bar

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Kaia Wine Bar

    Kaia Wine Bar

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Kaia Wine Bar

    Kaapse sout pannekoek at Kaia Wine Bar

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Kaia Wine Bar

    Chicken-liver "toasties" at Kaia Wine Bar

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Kaia Wine Bar

    Little J at Kaia Wine Bar

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Kaia Wine Bar

    2010 Haute Cabriere at Kaia Wine Bar

Photograph: Noah Devereaux

Terroir Murray Hill

Terroir Murray Hill

Haute cocktails and craft beer may have stolen wine's thunder in recent years, but grape aficionados haven't retreated into their cellars to sulk. Instead, they've regrouped and reinvented the wine bar, tossing out the pretense, pushing into underserved 'hoods and creating funky, affordable lists that'll shake you out of your "big-Californian-red" rut in no time. Here, we check out three newcomers that are helping vino get its swagger back.

Terroir Murray Hill
Hooking the Murray Hill hordes on riesling may sound like mission impossible, but it's a fitting challenge for the iconoclasts behind Terroir. The populist wine bar has already conquered the East Village and Tribeca, and the winning formula remains largely unchanged here: wines on tap, rock & roll on the speakers and a hyperactive beverage list peppered with entertaining asides (including paeans to mead and sherry, and an essay about kosher wine). Young, energetic staffers are keen to introduce drinkers to lesser-known wine-producing regions like the Canary Islands, where volcanic soil lends a smoky minerality to the 2009 Frontn de Oro ($13 per glass). You'll find most patrons nibbling on something while they drink, and you should follow suit—in addition to old favorites like veal-and-ricotta meatballs ($17) and sage-wrapped lamb sausages ($8), chef Marco Canora has added a few old-school sammies. We liked the fried oyster po' boy ($12) paired with the 2009 Emile Balland Croq'Caillotte ($15.75 per glass), a dry Sancerre that provided a citrusy counterpoint to the crunchy bivalves. 439 Third Ave between 30th and 31st Sts (no phone)

The Saint Austere
You'll find none of the typical wine-bar posturing at this Williamsburg newcomer, which ditches the trendy art and light jazz (relics of the '90s yuppie dens that first defined the genre) in favor of industrial accents (aluminum bar top, plumber's-pipe shelves) and old-school hip-hop. You might not even peg it as a wine bar until you spy the big wooden toolbox behind the bar, which doubles as a storage case for Old World wines served by the glass. The list is tight and well focused, with reasonable prices (most glasses go for $9--$10) and some choice picks from co-owner Fabrizio Pirolo, a former distributor. We settled in with a 2008 Le Velette Resso di Spicca sangiovese ($9 per glass), a vibrant red with an earthy nose, rich notes of cherry and a slight mintiness. Next came a procession of excellent small plates: a bowl of absurdly creamy polenta ($10), kicked up with spicy crumbled sausage and enriched with chicken jus, and confited pork belly ($14) with crispy brussels sprouts and tart agrodolce. Grab a glass of Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco ($11)—a sparkling red wine from Italy's Emilia-Romagna region—to cut through the richness. 613 Grand St between Leonard and Lorimer Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-388-0012)

Kaia Wine Bar
There was a time when uttering the words wine bar and Upper East Side in rapid succession could make a room go cold. But this airy South African joint is shaking things up in the rarefied 'hood, adding a casual wine component to the burgeoning nightlife options (Jones Wood Foundry, Earl's Beer and Cheese) that are slowly breathing new life into the upper 90s. New World wines dominate the bottle and robust by-the-glass offerings, including plenty of interesting blends from South African vintners. If you're looking to split a bottle among friends, gather around the repurposed 19th-century coal stoves in the back and order the crowd-pleasing Little J ($40), a smooth, shiraz-heavy blend with notes of plum and cherry. Chardonnay haters may be converted by the 2010 Haute Cabriere ($11 per glass) from Franschhoek, South Africa, which deploys skin-off pinot noir grapes to give the white wine a mellow, creamy body and a subtle sweetness. Match it with spicy chicken liver ($11), sauteed with piri-piri sauce and served with a cooling mint yogurt. Other dishes showcase the melting-pot cuisine of South Africa, with some stateside tweaks. One successful mash-up is the kaapse sout pannekoek ($14): Taking cues from American barbecue, chef Ivan Giani cooks pulled pork low and slow in a Cape Malay curry, then wraps the meat in a crpe and tops the neat package with New York cheddar. 1614 Third Ave between 90th and 91st Sts (212-722-0490)

Coming soon


Keep your eye out for these hotly anticipated wine bars.

Corkbuzz Wine Studio Master sommelier Laura Maniec is the ringleader at this oenocentric clubhouse. 13 E 13th St between Fifth Ave and University Pl (646-873-6071)... Hillside Regional wines anchor this locavore bar, from the owners of Vinegar Hill House. 70 Hudson Ave at Water St, Dumbo, Brooklyn (no phone yet)... ABV The team behind Earl's Beer and Cheese trains its focus on wine, calling on beverage director Alexis Kahn to helm the list. 1504 Lexington Ave at 97th St (no phone yet)

See more Bar profiles

Users say

0 comments