Mon-Thu, 11am-midnight; Fri-Sat, 11am-2am; Sun, 1pm-midnight
1 at Dyckman St.; A at Dyckman St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Named in part for the Dominican Republic’s area code, 809 Sangria distinguishes itself from its many Inwood peers with its elegant, softly lit interior, its culinary ambition, and, yes, its commensurately high prices. The restaurant’s first floor is primarily given over to tables set up against a long banquette upholstered in soft leather. Bright paintings by Dominican artists hang on the walls, which are covered in narrow slats of deeply stained wood. Upstairs is a smaller lounge with a row of small tables separated by gauzy white curtains. Drawing from ingredients, techniques, and traditions from Spain as well as the Americas, 809's menu manages to avoid whimsy while still creating dishes that surprise. One section centers on heavily grilled meats, which come with equally hearty sides like yucca fries or beans and rice. But what really shine are the starters and seafood-based entrées, which blend ingredients from the same broad family of cuisines in pleasing and often novel ways. Stuffed plantains are mashed and then turned into nests for fillings like sweet lobster and salt cod. And a fillet of "St. Peter's fish," also known as tilapia, is covered with a dense, piquant sauce of lemon and capers—an excellent foil to the starchy accompaniment of mashed potatoes.Recommended Dishes
Frito mar, $10; tostone rellenos, $10