I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Terroir Wine Bar- East Village

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Real men can drink white wines, anytime. Dare you to call me out.

Risotto Ball

Pretentious. Douche. French. Those are the first words that come to mind when I think of a wine bar. I grew up and went to school in New Jersey, there were no wine bars or was I influenced by a strong wine drinking culture. Sure the Pops, drank wine, but he did it was more recreational, and was more of a brandy drinker. The bar that I frequented when I was in college had wine, but not a strong seller. I think they had a red and white and they were the shutter home wines that come in packs. No offense to them, but they probably would have done better selling Boons Farm. I mean, they were a college bar, who drinks wine in college? Weird wanna-be Euro philosophy majors, that’s who, the ones that scoffed at dollar Yinglings and old white ladies that realized they accidentally are in the wrong place but to proud to leave and want to order something. But, I have always had a thing for wines and really have not been able to appreciate it until the last couple of years. Wine has always gotten the elitist branding and touting to be expensive, but thankfully in recent years that facade has changed in which it is becoming a socially acceptable drink for all, rather than booze, reserved for the right. Not to go into great detail, the flavors and taste of wine mainly come from the grapes and such but one factor and highly affects the taste of wine is the geography that plays an essential role in the development of taste and flavors and the Frogs even have a word for it, terroir. The word has been adapted by Marco Canora of Hearth and used it as the name for the wines bars that he opened up one in Tribeca and one in the East Village which I visited.

Food After the Jump
Terroir in the East Village is situated a couple of doors down from Hearth. The space is small and gets a modern look with the slate-like bar top and tables and soft punk music playing in the background. The slate-like bar tops look cool and trendy, but sliding on it scrapes and scratches a bit making one wince a bit. So uhh, pick up the plate when you are moving it around and also, if you so happen to end up in a bar fight there, most definitely use it to your advantage. The vibe of the place is great and the bartenders are welcoming and helpful and from what I could tell, not originating from pretentious Frenchie. 

Red Wine Oxtail Risotto Balls
I like wine bars because as much as I like, throw it in fryer food and wings (they had wings, here too), I want some good food to drink with my wine. Terroir has a comprehensive menu that ranges from tapas to a sizable meal. Wanting to try bits and pieces, I passed on the meatballs and the schnitzel, which both and smelled temping and picked at a couple of items. I started off with the red wine oxtail risotto balls. Each order came with three balls and were a good size (being professional and holding back on all ball related jokes). They came out piping hot out of the fryer and ignoring the inevitable rooftop mouth burn; I dove right in and took a bite. The risotto balls are reason enough to stop by here, the outside was a crisp, brittle exterior that shattered and rewarded you with a soft, luscious meaty oxtail. The oxtail makes up the majority of the risotto ball and from what I could tell in-between greedy bites, the risotto is really there to be a binder. After I finished up the risotto balls, came out my order of bruschetta with whipped lardo.

Whipped Lardo on Bruschetta
 Lardo is cured pork fat and for the non-adventurous eaters, it is dubbed, “white prosciutto”. I tend to tell people to think of it as pork butter. Always, the bruschetta does not look much, but it is soaked with awesome pork fat goodness. Eat bite melts and oozes of melted salty, porky taste. Pairing up with these two items was a nice Riesling. It was a Riesling Trocken Berg Roseneck 2003. I am not going to lie; I have absolutely no idea what it really means. I just know it is a Riesling, from Germany produced in 2003 and saying it out loud, sounds angry. Regardless, it was crispy and dry it worked perfectly and cut the richness of the lardo and risotto balls.  

Country Pork Terrine and Finocchietti
 Still hungry I had to try out some of their charcuterie because charcuterie to mean just means, “Look! Tasty pork in different forms!” Though I wanted to eat sample it all, I was damned with only having one stomach so I decided on the house made country pork terrine, which basically means cold porky meatloaf and the finocchietti, an air dried cured pork sausage. Although I describe the terrine as a porky meatloaf it is more than that, it is intensely rich and smooth and with a dollop of spicy Dijon mustard, that is almost sinus clearing, it took restraint not to shove all the pieces of terrine in between the bread slices, slather some mustard and call it a day. The finocchietti is an air dried sausage that is heavy on the fennel but not to a point that you are eating a fennel blub. Pork and fennel is a perfect match together and air dried just accentuates the flavors. To go with the saltiness of the pork, the bartender suggested a dry red that worked well against the pork. 

The Red
If you were like me and had any stereotypes about wine bars or trying one, I would suggest going to Terroir either the one in East Village or Tribeca. The prices are similar to what you would spend at a bar and the food is great and easily shareable.

Terroir Wine Bar

413 East 12th Street
New York, NY

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