Little Town NYC unabashedly hearts New York. Of its three restaurants, two are located in iconic Manhattan spots: one in Union Square, the other on Theater District’s Restaurant Row. Little Town’s fancy for the Empire State shines through on the menu, too, with homestyle dishes such as the Adirondack chicken pesto and an Angus beef burger topped with crispy Berkshire bacon. The Suburb Backyard BBQ platter is piled high with enough buffalo wings, Nathan's hot dogs, and other locally inspired fare to feed a family of four.
Little Town NYC also takes great pride in its beer list, which features more than 100 local brews, including IPAs and amber ales that hail from breweries in Long Island, Ithaca, and Saratoga Springs. At the Restaurant Row location, you can enjoy a pilsner from Coney Island while sitting in a booth constructed from the beach’s old wooden boardwalk.
Bitter & Esters brew maestros shepherd beer aficionados 21 and older through the basics of crafting their own libations during the two-hour introductory brewing courses. These knowledgeable instructors sprinkle their lessons with useful tidbits as their students immerse themselves in the process, communally brewing a bubbly batch of hops-laden liquid like witches on Super Bowl Sunday. Classes cover need-to-know facts about extracts, malts, grains, and yeasts as well as common trouble-shooting methods for when batches go awry. The hands on lesson includes all the necessary ingredients and reference materials required to whip up a hearty brew, with starter kits available for purchases if students want to continue fashioning beer in their home or underground speakeasies. Classes conclude with students sampling the fruits of previous home brewed labors, opening their taste buds to all the different possibilities craft beer making affords.
Strategically coupled with delectable nibbles from Nisi in Englewood, Quench's assortment of exquisite international wines challenge and soothe palates of discerning aficionados and novices imbibers alike. As waves of whites and reds lap against taste buds, certified sommeliers detail flavor sensations and ways to tell when a grape is about to explode. Specialty varietals break up sip-based monotony, with sparkling wine bubbling on tongues, rosé wine flushing patrons’ cheeks, and dessert wine topping tongues with sweetness. Tasty Nisi treats plant a solid grub foundation for sips or gulps of each libation. Quench hosts tastings on Sunday and Monday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., permitting a minimum of 6 and maximum of 10 guests or statues built of discarded corks to each sampling.
Executive chef Rene Hernandez calls upon a culinary education at Spain’s world-renowned restaurant El Bulli to craft a tapas menu of 14 hot and cold plates of shareable dishes that draw from broad international influences. With a chosen glass of wine in hand, guests can cool tongues with the artisanal manchego cheese bolstered by organic chorizo and white grapes. Chefs hide crabmeat salad inside smoked salmon to surprise palates and place the fish on eggplant shaped like caviar to fit in at black-tie functions. Forks protect fingers from scorching by spearing-hot tapas including grilled baby squid served on a bed of caribbean salad with a cider vinaigrette. The crispy shells of sweet-plantain croquettes deliver dollops of chipotle aioli sauce, and teeth chomp their signature into packages of pan-seared shrimp in garlic and white wine.
Beans and Vines whets appetites with a delectable selection of worldly vino, piquant sandwiches and paninis, and rich coffees. Pick a bottle from the carefully culled collection of wine; a charming Chilean bicentennial chardonnay ($30) or a smooth-talking Italian Monte Maria chianti ($30) will inspire romantic nights or induce sentimental phone calls to estranged vineyards.
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Based in New York City since its founding in 1991, PJ Wine has garnered oenophile accolades for its extensive collections of domestic and international wines. Dubbed number 31 on the list of "America's 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences," by Food & Wine magazine, PJ Wine has also gleaned bushels of web-driven praise from Forbes.com, which named it Best of the Web. Peruse hundreds of wines from more than 15 countries and regions, including 360-plus varieties from Spain, including ruddy-toned red blends ($14.47+) and temperamental tempranillos ($8.99+). Make a bubbly splash into typical red and white affairs with PJ Wine's collection of sparkling wines, which incite giggling and easy conversations near trays of ominously steaming cheese. Prompt delivery services have grown and retained PJ Wine's global customer base, keeping cellars stocked with flavorful, nuanced gems rather than dark secrets.