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Wine Bars

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Le Cirque Gets on the Wine-Bar Bandwagon

As the fashion for haute cuisine falls away, the more casual wine bar has become a kind of economic savior for the city's classic high-end chefs — one reason, as we noted in our Fall Preview year, the likes of Daniel Boulud and Alain Ducasse have embraced the genre wholeheartedly. (It's easier to lure customers into wine bars, and wine is a much higher-profit item than food.) Now Le Cirque has gotten into the act, opening its new wine bar tonight. Says the restaurant’s legendary owner, Sirio Maccioni: “Our new wine lounge is a more casual side of Le Cirque, with chaise longues and where no jackets are required. We wanted to offer something, in our lounge, without all the rigueur of the dining room.” The centerpiece of the wine bar is an immense wine tower, with, according to Maccioni, “20,000 bottles of wine and the right menu to go with it.” Somehow it just doesn’t seem right to go to Le Cirque without a jacket, though — no matter how many bottles of wine they have. Le Cirque wine-bar menu Related: Grape Nuts [NYM]

Dr. Vino Brings First View of Wine Madhouse Terroir

Dr. Vino, one of our favorite wine blogs, drops the first images of the newly opened Terroir today. The wine bar owned by Marco Canora and Paul Grieco opened last night, and to judge by the pictures, it hit the ground running. As expected, the place reflects Grieco’s precarious sanity. Writes Dr. Vino: “The wine list is in a three-ring binder, which the designer described to me as being like the school notebook of ‘a 16 year-old boy’s whose obsession is not with cars or girls but obscure grape varieties,’ including one with Aglianico written on it multiple times.” Just wait til they look in the crawlspace! Hipster wine bar, Terroir, now open! Wine by the glass starts at $2.75 [Dr. Vino] Related: What You'll Eat and Drink at Terroir

Ron Ciavolino Gives It To You Straight on Wine Bars

Sometimes you read an interview and immediately you wish you were friends with the subject. Such is the case with Metromix’s sit-down with Ron Ciavolino, the head of wine studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, and a man who speaks his mind. Our favorite quotes: • On modern bartenders: “Most bartenders feel like they’re giving away something for nothing if they’re charming. I want schmaltz. There’s no schmaltz.” • On the downtown wine scene: “You go to those wine bars in Soho, they’re more bowling alleys — there’s no romance. Everybody’s 12 years old.” • What happens when a bartender allows ice to melt in a shaker: “You hemorrhage through all of your apertures.” Days of Wine and Poses [Metromix NY]

What You'll Eat and Drink at Terroir

After reading Rob and Robin's opening this week, we can't wait to visit Terroir when it opens this weekend (or Monday, if there’s a last-minute construction problem). But what awaits us there? We reached out to the new wine bar’s guiding spirit, Paul Grieco, to see if he could get us a sneak preview of the menu, and possibly a hint of what he had in mind for his wine program. Grieco delivered both — the latter in spades.

Terroir Video Reveals the Depth of Paul Grieco’s Madness

Anyone who knows Paul Grieco will tell you that he is patently insane. Final proof, if any were needed, lies in this video promoting his new wine bar, Terroir. Grieco, the co-owner, manager, and wine director of both Hearth and Insieme, is the mad genius of the city’s wine corps, and Terroir is his padded cell and laboratory. The teaser site gives some hint of the white-knuckle wine-geek intensity that courses through Grieco’s veins: Among the vitriolic mottos that flash are “Our wine world is now dominated by over-manipulated, oak-chip-flavored, micro-oxygenated wines that have nothing to do with what Mother Nature, God, or the Cistercian Fathers had in mind” and “To go to Friuli for red wine is like going to Las Vegas and expecting to catch Arthur Miller's The Crucible.” But to really get a measure of his madness, watch this video. You won’t be sorry. Related: Wine-Geek Heaven on the Way to the East Village

NYSRA Fights Calorie Law Again; Bovine Waterboarding Video Released

The New York State Restaurant Association filed another suit in federal district court yesterday to prevent a law requiring some restaurants to post calorie information on menus and signs from being enacted. [Grub Street] Was the Times guilty of scaremongering with its slew of mercury-in-tuna stories? [Slate] With the recent spate of wine bar openings, it’s worth considering what really constitutes a wine bar. A good wine list is a good start! [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]

Eight-Cent Falafels Worth Every Penny in the East Village; Chris Lee Has a Bigger Truffle Than Sirio Maccioni

Cobble Hill: Sahadi’s might have a fancy new sign to flaunt at Trader Joe’s, but are they cutting corners to compete? The Brooklyn Paper reports that customers are "fuming that the grocer has replaced the classic glass jars with generic plastic containers in the nuts, dried fruits and candies section." [Brooklyn Heights Blog] East Village: Next Friday, Tasty Falafel on St. Marks Place will sell sandwiches for 8 cents each from 4 to 9 p.m. and host a falafel-eating contest at 6. [Gridskipper] Lower East Side: A new wine bar is on the way, and Gino and Guido are now accepting applications in the TRE space at 173 Ludlow. [Eat for Victory/VV] Midtown East: Gilt has announced that chef Chris Lee has spent $8,000 on a 1.51-pound white truffle, which is “significantly larger than the truffle that Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque won in a highly publicized October bidding.” We wonder what GM Elli Jafari thinks about that tougher tuber. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch] Upper East Side: Serendipity 3 has pushed back its reopening from tonight to December 5, after being closed by the DOH. [Eater]