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Sneakeater

Coast and Valley

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The selling point of this Greenpoint wine bar is that it serves exclusively Californian, mainly natural, wines. The emergence of a natural wine scene in California is salutory, and there's some very good stuff coming out of it. Of course, it's stupid expensive.

I think I don't see the point of wine bars. To me, wine is a condiment as much as it's anything: I drink it to complement food. At most wine bars, the food is either undistinguished or insufficiently substantial. (Four Horsemen is the Great Exception.)

Or you can have the problem there is here. (Not an insurmountable problem, I should emphasize: I really quite liked this place.) The food is good (eat your heart out, LaLou) -- and while it's clearly portioned for sharing, one person can make a sensible meal out of it. The problem is that the quite good food -- Asian-inflected California, I think I'd say -- doesn't seem particularly wine-friendly. Take their star dish, something that everyone in the place (including me) ordered the night I was there: crispy chicken legs. This has a moderately high Asian spice component, which makes it delicious to eat, but a problem for wine. You don't want to go to a wine bar and feel trapped into ordering the kinds of wine that go with spicy Asian food.

Very nice wine selection -- and everything on the list is available by the (small or large) glass as well as by the bottle (eat your heart out, LaLou). They're missing some of the more esoteric stuff -- I went to an Abe Schoener-organized West Coast wine tasting at Aska recently that was really eye-opening -- but I bet they'll get to that as they establish themselves.

The staff (and owners) could not be sweeter. I enjoyed hanging out there.

I like this place. It's problematic -- but good enough to return to despite that.

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I have a different perspective.  I rarely choose a wine bar for dinner.  I look for wine-bars (like Four Horsemen) where I can try several interesting wines (maybe with a snack). Obviously it's much cheaper to buy wine retail, but as a solo drinker, it's hard work and a longish project to try a bunch of wines that way.

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I think that I am to snacking what Wilf is to dessert.  Where in your day does that kind of experience fall?  Do you just have a slice for dinner, then?  (Not Wilf, I'm sure.)

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A bowl of olives, or that standby "mixed, spiced nuts" doesn't interfere with dinner.  Some wines, you do want something to munch with them.

 

And what about tapas, or does that only work in Spain?

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Tapas make sense to me when you snack at 9 or 10 and then dine at 10 or 11 -- i.e., at a point in the day when you're REALLY REALLY hungry.

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Which may be why nobody in New York serves tapas in the small portions they're served in Spain.

 

Here, they're more a share-plate meal.

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Which may be why nobody in New York serves tapas in the small portions they're served in Spain.

 

Here, they're more a share-plate meal.

Huertas.

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