Already a formidable gastro duo thanks to their Hell’s Kitchen den Ardesia, Amorette Casaus and Mandy Oser have extended their handsomely minimal wine-bar empire to Brooklyn. Situated on a windy corner across from an empty warehouse—naturally—the monochromatic space, with its black accent wall, slate-gray couches and white lacquered tables, certainly looks the part of a Williamsburg wine bar, but there’s a warmth here to offset the cool.
ORDER THIS: Oser carefully culled a diverse list that spans regions, palates and price points. While there’s not much in the way of sparkling (extra brut, grüner veltliner) and rosé (vin gris de cigare), a dozen glasses each of red and white offerings are primed for sampling with a small group. The Italian grignolino ($12) pours deep brick-red and sips so smooth its smoky finish feels clean and light. Compare that to the plum-hued etna rosso ($15), whose full fruity body, especially its cherry notes, becomes more pronounced with each taste. To offset the sweet, end on the Argentine bonardo ($11), which lingers with a spicy kick.
GOOD FOR: Vino virgins. The knowledgeable waitstaff makes an overwhelming and extensive by-the-glass selection more manageable—sans snooty descriptors and haute tasting notes. Instead of dissecting the list of far-flung reds and whites cold, ask for a recommendation. A recent call for a lightly dry white ushered in an oaky yet tart and crisp minutolo from Puglia, Italy ($11). If you’re still not convinced, there’s a set of pristine, classic quaffs like a fresh-squeezed lime gimlet ($10) and an orange-forward sidecar ($13).
THE CLINCHER: From the kitchen, Casaus dishes out craveable small plates like a bourbon-braised quail lasagna layered with whipped ricotta and a bourbon-sloshed red sauce that makes the supple meat even richer ($18). Charred jerk wings ($9), spritzed with zippy lime to tame the Jamaican heat, are worth their finger-lickin’ lack of elegance. But as with the wine, it’s the curated picks that leave a lasting impression: Ask for the chef’s-choice cheese platter ($32), recently lined with woodsy smoked Timberdoodle from Vermont and dollops of fresh honey. Leave it to the pros and you’ll have no problem.