At Therapy Wine Bar, upscale bar fare and New World wines create the conditions for nightlife to thrive in the incubating glow of hanging lamps. Servers haul tapas and charcuterie past exposed-brick and lime-green walls en route to the bar, outdoor seating area, or private lounge area, which contains more pillows than an insomniac's trash can. A mishmash of tables and chairs populates the remaining floor space, where visitors can lounge while conversing or playing games of backgammon.
Cuisine crafters at Moomba embellish a menu of simple, quality Mediterranean and Italian fare with a plethora of wood-fired pizzas at this comfy, casual eatery. Reinforce carnivorous stomach caverns to withstand the force of any mouth monsoons with the coffee-dusted Angus NY strip steak ($15) or hang fangs on a veggie-riddled platter of house-made fettuccini, teeming with portobello mushrooms and plum tomatoes in a garlic and oil sauce ($10). Savory pies plucked from the in-house wood-fire oven include the Knockin' on Heaven's Door, a enlightening eat packed by hands of cherubim with pepperoni, sausage, and a deluge of garden dwellers, and the Heart of Gold, a dough disk dotted with artichoke hearts, spinach, sweet and hot peppers, onions, and mushrooms ($12 for 12"; $15 for 16").
"I feel a little like a detective," reveals Luke Johnson, overseer of the cheese cave at Stinky Bklyn, to the New York Times. He continues, "I…try to steer people toward something new. If they say they don't like goat, I really push the goat because people don't realize there are so many varieties." And push they do. Staff members pass indulgent segments of their carefully aged cheeses, offering approachable wisdom to novices and a wide-ranging selection for aficionados. The charming Smith Street institution has opened a new location between Baltic and Butler, with fridges and pantries stocked with international morsels such as chocolates, oils, vinegars, and beer, as well as an impressive ham bar.
Visitors can request a peak at the temperature- and humidity-controlled cheese cave, where Luke and staff nurture each wheel through distinct aging processes. Cheeses dwell within the cavern for anywhere from a few days to a few years, undergoing washing, soaking in beer or brine, and the opportunity to view culturally enriching cave paintings. Owners Patrick Watson, Michele Pravda, and Chris Remy also added a green garden and patio behind the shop, providing an ideal place for tastings or a peaceful spot for enjoying one of the shop's artisan sandwiches.
Palo Cortado––reviewed in Grub Street New York and New York Press––sates palates with an authentic Spanish meal of four tapas and one order of pinchos. Elegantly plated on square white dishes, Palo Cortado's culinary masterpieces include the boquerones en vinagre, a vibrant congregation of marinated white anchovies, capers, garlic, and parsley ($10) that cha-chas across the tongue while high-fiving the taste buds. Poached shrimp blanketed with green sauce and accented with avo and crispy chorizo comprise the gambas en salsa verde ($9), and the pulpo a la gallega graces gums with a savory share of Spanish octopus clenching onto fingerling potatoes ($13). Meanwhile, the lemon-infused albondigas de cordero sports spiced lamb meatballs surrounded by a moat of mint-cucumber yogurt ($10), great for fueling whispered adorations or plans of building a castle out of meat. Finally, an order of pinchos ensures tapas tidbits safely journey through the tonsils with friends such as the fried chickpeas of the garbanzos fritos dish ($4).
A trio of roughhewn Adirondack chairs sits outside an unassuming entrance, not far from a pile of freshly chopped firewood. If you imagine this an unlikely sight to stumble upon in the heart of brownstone Brooklyn, just one block east of Smith Street’s trendy stores and restaurants, you are right. But Black Mountain Wine House, with its unpretentious wine list and modest-sized menu of artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, is an unlikely wine bar. A crackling fireplace continues the rustic theme indoors, where crowds gather nightly to take part in lively conversations fueled by bottles of red, white, and sparkling wine. Though the dining room can get a little crowded on weekends, it’s never quite as cramped as the kitchen. Chefs make the most of their tiny space, squeezing past or leapfrogging one another as they prepare goat cheese tarts and plates of cured meats.
After five years managing a retail store, Ana realized she wanted to sell something else entirely: food. So she enrolled in culinary school, where she first honed the skills she now displays at Simplicity Wine Bar & Cafe. Her tapas range from spicy veggie empanadas served with pineapple-mango aioli to cayenne-spiced chocolate cupcakes. With numerous organic varietals to boot, a frequently updated selection of wine by the glass and bottle complements Ana's cuisine and confections.
When eyes aren't glued to Ana's artfully plated dishes, they're probably busy taking in Simplicity's nightly entertainment. The lineup includes plenty of café staples, such as poetry nights, open mics, and Sunday afternoon concerts by award-winning guitarist Jorge Arévalo Mateus. On weekends, live DJs convert the bar into a dancehall by spinning classic reggae and hip-hop tunes.