Wine Tasting in Elizabeth

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For Sam Mickail, food is autobiographical. Born in Cairo, the first spices he smelled were hearty Mediterranean blends. He then spent most of his childhood in France surrounded by the cooking of world-class chefs, eventually leaving for Switzerland to turn his love of food into a bona fide culinary craft. Now, in America, he channels all of these influences and global experiences into cooking, lending his talents to numerous restaurants and further exploring all the cooking styles that inspired him throughout his life. This surfaces most clearly in Sam Mickail’s CUT Steak House, where he’s free to put international twists on the time-honored tradition of cooking delicious steaks.

Sam coats his filet mignons and porterhouses in delicious béarnaise, au poivre, or perigourdine sauces, according to his customers’ wishes. He also serves fresh oysters at his raw bar, slathers lobster tails in butter, and batters escargot with a champagne crust, a creation he calls drunken snails for their complete inability to slither in a straight line.

466 Prospect Ave.
West Orange,
NJ
US

The brainchild of Ivan Ruiz—a sommelier who’s perfected mealtime pairings at restaurants across New York City—the Summit Wine & Food Festival celebrates the intersection between great wine and great food while simultaneously raising funds for the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. Celebrity chefs from Bravo and the Food Network and local guest chefs share their knowledge during events like mixology classes and a special beer tasting hosted by Spiegelau Crystal, which includes a complementary set of beer tasting glasses for each attendee. Sommeliers also share the spotlight at the summit—showcasing varietals from domestic and international vineyards—and clear up the misconception that grapes are just confident blueberries.

417 Springfield Ave
Summit,
NJ
US

Philip Marie is a spacious but intimate restaurant, garnished with simple décor that pays homage to the American heartland, a theme also reflected in many of head chef and owner John Philip Greco III's recipes. The menu provides a multitude of creative takes on American classics to choose from. Lunch-hungry lunch-seekers may want to wet their lips over a bowl of butternut-squash soup ($4.95) served with cornbread crumbs. An overstuffed chicken potpie ($10.50) is a hearty classic, great for warming up chilly afternoons, while a pan-seared red-snapper filet ($11.50) in lemon-wine sauce, served with sautéed spinach and steamed broccoli, is a lighter choice, excellent for snappy dressers, finger-snapping street gangs, and cereal elves.

569 Hudson St
New York,
NY
US

Lauded by Time Out New York for its earth-friendly and healthy offerings, V-Note unfolds an upscale and gourmet bistro menu overflowing with organic wines and gourmet kosher and vegan cuisine sprinkled with gluten-free options. The owners of Blossom and Cafe Blossom have expanded the vegan-eatin' scene with a vast selection of brunch, lunch, and dinner fare crafted from fresh veggies, soy, seitan, and tofu. V-Note's organic wine bar splashes palates with an array of wines that are either biodynamic or sustainable and organic—each bottle gifting mouths vibrant flavors and tasting notes handwritten by the vines they were plucked from. A dark-wood ceiling outfitted with inset track lighting casts a dim romantic glow above diners nestled into contemporary wood chairs and white booths adorned with patterned pillows. Smooth black walls encase the entire eating space, and a wine rack with x-shaped shelves stands prominently behind the candle-laden wood bar. Guests can also enjoy live jazz performances on Sunday nights.

1522 1st Ave
New York,
NY
US

At first glance, Kashkaval looks like an impressive gourmet food shop, with more than 100 varieties of international cheeses and imported olives arranged alongside cured meats and gourmet soups and salads. But venture beyond the small storefront and into the spacious back area, and you’ll find Kashkaval's tucked away wine bar.

Here, owners Daniel and Corey have established a comfortable and cozy retreat for customers to pair wines from across the globe with various meats, cheeses, and Mediterranean small plates. Heartier appetites can find relief in full entrees, such as chicken or turkey meatballs, a selection of oven-baked paninis and gourmet sandwiches, or dig into fondue that Time Out New York put on its list for “The City’s Best Fondues”, calling the gorgonzola blend "perfectly gooey and surprisingly mild."

856 9th Ave
New York,
NY
US

Candlelight flickers against the exposed-brick walls of Sofia’s back room, where suspender-clad waiters suggest their favorites from a list of more than 80 wines. The bar’s intimate ambiance marks a significant shift in tone for Ristorante DeGrezia founder Tommaso DeGrezia, who has brought son Thomas along for his latest venture.

242 East 50th Street
New York,
NY
US