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Restaurant Openings

Week of October 30, 2006: Sheep Station, Tinto Fino, Cafe Cluny, and Bar Martignetti.

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Sheep Station
149 Fourth Ave., at Douglass St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-857-4337
In Australia, a sheep station is a huge expanse of a ranch, often dotted with windmills that bore underground for water. On the western fringe of Park Slope, Sheep Station is a roomy new Australian pub, outfitted with corrugated tin, salvaged wall paneling, and a fireplace in the back room, where the owners show local art and plan to air rugby and cricket matches. Martine Lafond, onetime managing partner of Smith Street Kitchen, cooks simple but satisfying bar food like the “shearer’s burger” (anointed, in classic Aussie style, with beets, pineapple, and a fried egg), and a flaky minced-meat pie. Like co-owner Jason Crew, the wines, the lamb, and the whole fish of the day (when it’s barramundi) all hail from Down Under. Lafond, on the other hand, comes from Quebec, and is contemplating adding poutine—French fries drowned in Cheddar curds and brown gravy, bar food par excellence—to the otherwise antipodean menu. Cash only.


Tinto Fino
85 First Ave., nr. 5th St. 212-254-0850
With the plethora of tapas bars and Ferran Adrià–influenced chefs around town, it’s never been easier to satisfy the appetite for Spanish food. Spanish wine is another story. After fielding countless customers’ inquiries about where they could find this particular Albariño or that Txakolina, Tía Pol co-owner Mani Dawes realized New York was ready for its first all-Spanish wine shop, which she opens this week in a tiny sliver of an East Village space. Tinto Fino offers 150 selections, organized geographically, with a particular emphasis on sherry—according to Dawes, “one of the great (and greatly underappreciated) wines of the world.”


Cafe Cluny
284 W. 12th St., at W. 4th St. 212-255-6900
Over 25 years ago, Lynn Wagenknecht (along with the brothers McNally) braved Tribeca’s then wilderness to open the Odeon. This week, she colonizes the infinitely quainter West Village, where she stakes her signature French-American claim with partners Judi Wong and Steven Abramowitz. Named for an abbey in Burgundy—and also for the Paris Métro stop next to one called Odéon—Cafe Cluny seats 70 in two rooms, where chef Vincent Nargi will offer dishes like frisée aux lardons, dayboat scallops with cauliflower purée, and swordfish au poivre.


Bar Martignetti
406 Broome St., at Centre St. 212-680-5600
Not to be confused with the S. Martinelli & Co. family, the brothers Martignetti, Tom and Anthony, run Martignetti Liquors, the Houston Street nightclub that caters to a crowd that favors $5 bottles of Bud over apple juice, every time. This week, the big-boned brothers plunge headfirst into the restaurant business with Bar Martignetti. Why? Because they like to eat out a lot, and, truth be told, they are not impressed with what’s already out there to eat. “The art of the restaurant has been lost to big PR people and people who want to make a quick buck,” explains Tom. “Our restaurant is definitely going to be less glamorous; we’re not going to have someone with a list harass you. Personality-wise, our model is Odeon.” To that end, they’ve hired former Brasserie chef de cuisine Ryan Arnold, whose all-day-and-into-the-wee-hours menu covers everything from Eggplant Martignetti to moules frites.


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