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.
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.
La Barrique's Belgian chef sustains a 60-year tradition of classic French bistro cuisine upon the polished tables of a café heralded by commanding crimson banners. Rich French recipes guide his hands as he bastes escargot in garlic and parsley butter or a plate of mussels with one of four homemade sauces. Paneled in dark wood and accented by red drapes, napkins, and seat cushions, the romantic café glows with light reflecting from the bar's tin ceiling and displays filled with a curated selection of organic French and international wines. The European dining destination—located near Times Square, Bryant Park, Penn Station, and Midtown's theater district—is snugly nestled between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in New York's fashion district, making it a prime spot for people watching or literally romancing a skirt.
A cozy, chic space, Veritas Wine Bar feels less like walking into a bar and more like walking into a fashionable friend's apartment—albeit, a friend with a nice wine collection. Even the Rochester City Newspaper took notice, saying of proprietor Paul Powers and his wife, Amy: "they've parlayed their passion for the grape into a charming spot for both hardcore oenophiles and aspiring aficionados." Having previously worked at wine shops and as distributors, the two have curated a constantly changing selection of vinos from around the world. A quaint menu of a wine-friendly sampler plate pairs with the vintages, making Veritas a charming spot for a date, a casual meeting, or a cutthroat game of Chinese Checkers.
Combing provincial and urban elements, Nolita eatery Plan B embraces the eclectic spirit of both Barcelona and the Basque region. Executive Chef Jhonathan Rupchand leads the team as they design an inventive menu of shareable tapas that New York Magazine praised as, "more exciting than most." The chefs draw inspiration from the regions' centuries-old peasant cooking; however, they use modern sensibilities and techniques to refine and elevate these rustic flavors.
Garden-fresh produce from local markets appears alongside imported Spanish cheeses and cured meats. As diners savor the bold combinations of saffron and striped bass or roasted cornish hen with absinthe-spiked cream, they can also indulge in a drink menu that was designed in tandem with the cuisine. Northern Spanish beers and wines appear prominently in the selection, as do cocktails mixed using everything from gin and prickly pear to jalape?o-infused tequila and pomegranate.
Much like the menu, Plan B's decor manages to embrace a rustic vibe and an urban aesthetic at the same time. Wall panels made from olive branches, a leather banquette lined with horsehide, and chicken-wire cabinets filled with wine bottles all establish the restaurant's provincial roots. However, a custom-designed mural of graffiti art and stencil work manages to evoke the gritty, urban essence of a Barcelona streetscape.
The Lexington Social toes that line between vintage speakeasy and upscale wine bar, with a staff that firmly believes you don’t have to shell out hundreds for a bottle of great wine. It’s with that in mind that they keep their wine list of bottles and glasses seasonal, culling favorites from France, Argentina, California, and Spain, just to name a few. On the speakeasy side, mixologists delicately stir and infuse their way through composing the eatery’s 10 signature cocktails, which play on the classics and are made with locally sourced ingredients. Speaking of ingredients, Chef Saul Montiel’s inventive takes on his menu of tapas includes goat cheese-stuffed dates in pancetta and truffled french fries—perhaps one of the reasons the restaurant earned a Critics’ Pick designation from New York magazine. While indulging in the ceviche or queso of the day, diners take in the rustic accents in the intimate dining room, which can seat up to 28. Saloon stools and a cherry-wood bar line the floor-to-ceiling windows on the outer wall, and reclaimed wood tables are topped with baskets of peanuts or potted plants. But perhaps the most eye-catching feature of the room is its tin ceiling, which spans from the windows to the granite bar in the back.