A.J. Ojeda-Pons, former wine director at The Lambs Club and beverage director at José Andres’ sprawling Mercado Little Spain, joined two friends to create a wine-focused place of their own in the West Village. The trio’s biggest problem? Each had different tastes. A.J.’s solution? Make over 100 wines available by the glass with no special bottle list and showcase lesser-known grapes and regions. Among the whites are the palomino-based Bodegas Forlong Blanco from Cádiz and the Domaines des Tourelles Vieilles Vignes, a blend of merweh and obeidi from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Reds include a ruch`è from Piedmont’s Montalbera and the Serbian Vino Budimir Pro-Cou-Patz, based on the prokupac grape. There’s a selection of more classic wines, too. Regardless, all are available to pair with a handful of full-flavored, Mediterranean- and Latin-inspired small dishes meant for sharing. An open-faced sandwich of sardines and butter is a revelation of simplicity and balance; goat pot-au-feu with a gamy broth is another standout. Ambiance? Parisian bar from the fifties meets New York disco.
40 Carmine Street, New York, NY 10014
Mediterranean, Latin American
Jamal Rayyis is a NYC-based writer, editor and educator—and copy editor for this magazine. A pioneer in covering Middle Eastern wine, he is at work on a book on the politics of wine in the Middle East and occasionally updates his blog at palatesavvy.com.
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