Glasses lift into a treble-laden symphony of toasts and from a distance, many of the elixirs they contain seem nearly the same. Up close, 28 wines by the glass and more than 75 unique varietals by the bottle span a rainbow of hues, from reds deep and earthy enough to appear almost black to white wines barely kissed with a delicate straw color. In The Hidden Vine Wine Bar and Lounge's dedicated room for tastings and classes, guests further hone noses and taste buds to make nearly imperceptible distinctions in flavor and bouquet.
Drawing upon family recipes held close to their hearts, culinarians fill two dining areas with inventive dishes including bruschetta draped in paper-thin soppressata, peach honey, and hanger steak. Beneath diamond-shaped burgundy paintings, forks chatter against plates of fresh pasta and patrons sidle up to the marble bar for a chilly cocktail. A patio begs diners to let the warm sun aid in digestion or in calming outraged bulls delivering pamphlets to the eatery's crimson ceilings.
The mood is lively and laid-back within Cuv?e's sleek dining rooms, where guests lounge on cushy red armchairs at intimate candlelit tables. They raise thin flutes of champagne and glasses of specialty martinis over small plates of citrusy seafood ceviche, plump Italian meatballs, and fresh sushi rolls. Others linger over last bites of strawberry cheesecake, a dessert that reporters from NECN lauded as ?simple, light and creamy.?
Ballou’s Wine Bar revolves around three prized delicacies: chocolate, wine, and coffee. From those staples, dozens of indulgent dishes ensue, including chocolate, Nutella, and peanut-butter-chocolate fondues and homemade truffles developed by Debbie, half of the husband-and-wife team that runs Ballou’s. Her chocolate fondue and homemade truffles are so deliciously decadent that they’ve earned the wine bar a spot on the Best of New Haven Reader’s Poll list for best desserts. In addition to rich desserts and froth-capped cups of cappuccino, guests can order wines from local and international vineyards, as well as a wide selection of pastas, sandwiches, and flat breads.
Voted the area's best place for tapas in 2012 by readers of the Valley Advocate, Ibiza Tapas Wine Bar swells with the aroma of Spanish small plates crafted by owner Sonia Blanco's culinary team. They craft traditional dishes with ingredients sourced from local farmers when available, serving up fried spiced potatoes and spanish veal and pork meatballs alongside modern creations such as tempura zucchini served with romesco sauce. Their menu also includes paellas, fideuas, and gluten-free, Catalan-style cr?me br?l?e, which guests can wash down with beer, sangria, or a wealth of white and red wine options from the dramatically lit stone bar. Orange and burgundy walls enliven Ibiza's lounge-like dining room, adding a celebratory spark to dinners, birthday get-togethers, and peace conferences between rival roller-skating crews.
Upon graduating from the New York French Culinary Institute, Chef Pasquale Pascarella continued his education under two of contemporary Italian cuisine's most famous chefs: Mario Batali and Scott Conant. He learned well—today, Chef Pascarella serves up his own take on Italian cuisine at Bar Sugo, a critically acclaimed eatery known for its cozy atmosphere and classic food.
For edible evidence of Pascarella's Italian mastery, look no further than his meatballs prepared six ways—some with duck and foie gras, others with beef, melted gouda, and red onion jam. But those who do look further will discover brick-oven pizzas topped with pulled pork and 12-year-old balsamic, as well as house-made pastas such as mint tagliatelle with lamb ragu. That same tasteful touch is extended to the beverage selection, which encompasses wine, Italian beers, and cocktails made with liquors aged and awarded their diplomas in a barrel. But no matter what guests select from the menu, Bar Sugo's laid-back decor—featuring brick walls, a red-and-white checkered floor, and a copper-topped bar—invites them to sit back and savor every bite.
While wine serves as the foundation of Pour’s repertoire—garnering Westchester Magazine’s Best of Westchester wins from 2009 to 2012—it’s the cafe’s whiskey list that the publication described as “read[ing] like Fantasy Baseball.” New York and Delaware libations share shelf space with rare indulgences such as a 23-year-old, limited-release Pappy Van Winkle, of which there are only about 1,200 bottles on the market. That said, the wine selection also stands up on its own as a who’s who of small-production, organic, and biodynamic wines, with bottles from France, Italy, Spain, California, Argentina, and Chile, to name a few. To accompany their extensive list of libations, which also includes absinthe and craft beers from around the globe, the kitchen staff prepares four flatbreads, three paninis, eight small plates, and rustic charcuterie such as wild-boar sausage and seven types of artisanal cheese. Miniature Sicilian–style meatballs come sandwiched between potato slider rolls, and warm white-bean dip is plated with grilled slices of Sullivan Street baguettes. A porch wraps around the restaurant’s early-19th-century house, whose Victorian exterior contrasts with the plush, modern furnishings of its interior. Come evening, wooden venetian blinds are closed to dim the room, whose chocolate-brown leather banquettes and wooden floors are gently lit by wall sconces and tabletop candles. Along the neutral-colored walls, framed posters of vintage European advertisements lend a colorful flair to the room, which can seat up to 49.