Brooklyn Winery's team crafts small-batch, artisanal wines in Williamsburg?and if winemaking in an urban environment sounds odd to customers, they can always find out how it works during Tuesday winery tours. The tour guides walk groups through their entire process, from the moment the grapes arrive at the facility to when the cork goes in the final wine bottle, trapping the wine genie inside for good. Of course, the process varies from wine to wine. The team ages some vintages in stainless-steel containers, while the barrel-fermented riesling is aged, predictably, in oak barrels, an old-school technique that originated in prerefrigeration Germany. The result? A quirky riesling with hints of soapstone, mushroom, and honey.
The team doesn't just reclaim old German traditions, though. For their unpretentious 1,200-square-foot wine bar, they also reclaimed most of the building materials. In the cozy, unpretentious bar, visitors sip vintages pulled from wine racks that were once World War II ammo boxes; the walls, meanwhile, were barn wood in a past life, and the bar itself is made from old church pews, completing the aura of modernity rooted in history.
John Gizzi and Diann Greco, the American Wine Society?certified wine judges at Make Wine With Us, teach wine aficionados to create their own wines using grapes harvested in Californian and Chilean vineyards. At the start of the nine-month process (California grapes in the fall, Chile grapes in the spring), winemakers-to-be assemble with fellow enthusiasts to learn the intricacies of the trade. Patrons learn to crush and destem grapes in a machine called a crusher-destemmer, named after the device's favorite Germanic metal band. Following the crushing process, a hydraulic press forces juice into barrels, where it shall remain until the conclusion of its sweet, sweet metamorphosis.
At the end of the nine-month period, newly minted winemakers lean on family and friends to fill, cork, and custom-label the finished product. Budding vintners then tote home their vintages to share with family, friends, and robot butlers with built-in carafes.
At Winegasm Bar & Eatery, patrons poke fun at New York's smoking ban with cigars made of cheese. The menu’s housemade ricotta and feta sticks contribute delicious class to the venue's already-elegant setting: a long dining room replete with wooden shelving that features individual niches for wine bottles. At one end of the space, metal grating spirals into a curlicued design to decorate a tall archway, and the other end ensconces tables in a small alcove of exposed brick topped with a wide mirror. But it's the centerpiece of the room—a sprawling table with more than 12 chairs—that most embodies the eatery's aim of enabling shared stories, hosting communal bites, and encouraging angry juries to really consider all the evidence.
Time Out New York mentions the "sexy little winecentric spot" as an ideal place for splitting small plates. Its Mediterranean-style tapas include bacon-wrapped prunes and steamed mussels, savory openers for burgers or paninis. Also on the roster are platters of prosciutto and gruyere, specialty pizzetas, and fondue—both cheese and chocolate. Given the restaurant's name, however, many guests immediately dive into the wine list for libations from Europe and beyond, using a legend to discern if bottles are organic, made locally, or prepped sustainably. Diners can also sip cocktails and beers as well as reds and whites, tuning in to live music from area artists on Thursdays.
The menus at Rèst-âü-Ránt can satisfy any individual hunger, but if you go with a friend or enemy you can maintain an alliance or siege by passing or failing to pass tapas, appetizer plates, and platters. Pair a specialty beer such as Lindeman's Framboise Lambic ($8) with a sampler No-Commitment Plate (manchego, brie, prosciutto, and hot salami with country bread, olives, and a red pepper spread, $10–$17) for a crowd-pleasing starter. Keep the group talking and whittling wooden clogs late into the night with tapas of Spanish sausage (with shallots and garlic pepperoncini in red wine, $9) and Argentinean steak skewers with chimichurri sauce ($9). Or do your own mouth-thing with a specialty panini ($9) stuffed with flavor-nuclei such as gorgonzola, green apples, and figs. Take a look at Rèst-âü-Ránt's photo gallery to stimulate stomach-eyes.
The appropriately named Mosaic Cafe & Lounge assembles three concepts to stand out in Astoria’s bar scene. The first and most obvious of these is a setting inspired by the salons of Belle epoque Paris. The other two are part and parcel: an attentive staff and a menu of fine wines that they have selected themselves.
Though each handmade pie at Antonio's Pizzeria & Wine Bar begins with a mound of dough, none ever look identical once they emerge from the eatery's brick oven. That's because diners festoon their order with a choice of more than 20 toppings, including fried eggplant and BBQ chicken. Along with customized pies, Antonio's chefs whip up 13 specialties with fixings such as penne pasta and vodka sauce.
Besides its signature pies, the Antonio's culinary team crafts plenty of other pizzeria favorites, from meatball parmesan heroes to generous portions of veal marsala. Bartenders complement the hearty feasts with an extensive selection of wines sourced the world over, as well as frosty craft brews, soft drinks, or specialty coffees.