At Bar Majestic, live music can often be heard bouncing off the backdrop of darkly lit wood, shimmery walls, and wine racks so well stocked the place resembles a chateau wine cellar in the heart of Spain's countryside. Small, sharable portions of fresh tapas dance across tables and decorate the menu. Nibble decadent meats and cheeses, or bite bruschette such as spinach pesto, prosciutto, or mushroom tapenade ($3 each, $7 for three, $12 for five). Piping hot paninis pummel stubborn stomachs with comestibles including turkey breast, brie, romaine, and aioli ($8) or eggplant, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and balsamic ($9).
Vino brings the authentic tastes and surroundings of an authentic Italian wine bar to New York's Upper East Side. The Italian wine flight transports three to five ombras, the traditional Italian term for a tasting or pour, to the awaiting lips of its parched patron, giving palates an elegant tasting experience and frequent flier miles for vacation loving libations.
Piccolo Café fills the boot-shaped hole in New York City’s edible heart, offering casual diners and coffee imbibers fresh, inventive lunch fare and organic Italian brews. The Gramercy menu differs slightly from Midtown’s, but both locations feature authentic Italian cuisine such as the prosciutto, baby spinach, and parmigiano salad ($7), which is served alongside garlic olive oil bruschetta. The parmigiano cheese egg sandwich ($6.50 at Gramercy, $6 at Midtown) is a hearty addition to meatless diets, and unlike fast food chains’ morning meatballs or dusk-till-dawn deep-fried sugar cubes, it’s served all day long.
Spherical lights seem to drift in smooth bubbly spirals up toward the ceiling of Fl?te Bar & Lounge?s Gramercy location. Conversation bursts effervescently off walls and artwork in a palette of ros? pinks and prosecco tans. Myriad champagnes and sparkling wines, including Perrier-Jou?t gran brut and a range of cavas, form lacelike crowns of bubbles in an atmosphere that aims to blend the French art de vivre aesthetic with a dash of NYC nightclub. Patrons can select single flutes or bottles, or they can sample several flights that showcase different grapes, a single producer, or the patience of a waitress willing to help you pick out all the bubbles. Cocktails lean heavily on sparkling wines and include bellinis, a blend of prosecco and fruit puree, which pair nicely with small plates of cheese and fruit or foie gras terrine.
Fl?te now operates locations in Midtown, Gramercy, and Paris. In Midtown, visitors descend a short flight of stairs before sinking into intimate booths or plush benches. The original Midtown location celebrates its speakeasy roots with fiery jazz nights every Saturday, complete with performers and guests alike dressed in period apparel.
Yes, there is such a thing as the American Cheese Society. What’s more, it’s an honor of the highest degree to be named a member of that society’s inaugural class of Certified Cheese Professionals. Fromager Dimitri Saad counts himself among that prestigious group, and one trip to Casellula Cheese & Wine Café is enough to see why. Saad has curated a menu of more than 40 cheeses from around the world. The menu is divided into five sections: fresh, bloomy, washed, pressed/cooked, and blue. Cheese isn’t all that Casellula has going for it. Proprietor and wine director Brian Keyser has carefully designed a wine list to accompany the cheese and food menus, the latter of which focuses on contemporary American cuisine. In another wine bar, this focus on gourmet food and drink might come with more than a hint of pretension. Not here—Casellula welcomes guests to dress casually and order in Pig Latin for all they care.
In a way, Kilo is much like kindergarten. It teaches one to share, and there are plenty of blocks to play with?they're just stuck in the walls and called bricks. With an ever-evolving seasonal menu, the tapas restaurant allows guests to dine socially on small, shareable plates of marinated mixed olives, goat-cheese crostini, and ceviche tacos. Whenever possible, Kilo sources its ingredients from local farms and artisans.
The space is small, but the ambiance is carefully cultivated to welcome an upscale crowd. The decor falls somewhere between minimalist and well appointed, with racks of wine hanging from one exposed brick wall and framed photos lining an adjacent painted one. A rustic yet finely sanded wood-grain bar looks up to a galaxy of wineglasses, and a modicum of natural sunlight crawls from the all-glass fa?ade to the back of the space. The kitchen begins to serve small plates at 4:30 p.m., and reds and whites from the wine menu fill glasses until the restaurant closes at midnight.