The Saint Austere
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You'll find none of the typical wine-bar posturing at this Williamsburg spot, 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
|Cross street:||between Lorimer and Leonard Sts|
|Transport:||Subway: L to Lorimer St|
|Price:||Average small plate: $10. Disc, MC, V|
|Opening hours:||Daily 6pm–2am|
|Do you own this business?|