Located in the heart of the West Village, where cute is chic, everything at Buvette is diminutive. That goes for the short oval water glasses and the little crocks of lentils. Gastrognomes, as Jody Williams calls them, line the bar in their pressed French aprons, shaking Martinis and circumspecting their pours of the wines by the glass. They’ll give you a taste to make sure you’re okay with each one before pouring a generous two-thirds’ full. The Bourgueil on the list, a Canonières from Barc Vallée, is obscure enough that it doesn’t appear in Google. But it came alive with a tiny taste of two pieces of toast, smeared with a commanding combination of potatoes, Cantal cheese and smoked ham. Then there was a stew with cotechino, trotters, beans and cabbage and Alain Allier’s Mouressipe Pitchounet, a 100 percent cinsault that does come up in Google: Alice Feiring describes it as “initially charming, ends with puppy breath.” I definitely got the puppy breath, but it didn’t bother me with the stew. Like Buvette, the wine is old-fashioned by choice, the drink and the marble bar feeling like pre-war France in some small country town, a local bar that took care with every plate and glass. There’s nothing diminutive about Buvette when it comes to satisfaction.
42 Grove St. (btw. Bleecker & Bedford Sts.), New York, NY
This story appears in the print issue of April 2011.
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