Bed-Stuy Gains a Mediterranean Wine Bar Serving Lesser-Seen Wines in NYC

“An ambitious wine bar is now open in Bed-Stuy with a list that covers Mediterranean territory lesser explored by New York City’s wine programs.

Five Italian friends opened Speakvino at 1063 Bedford Ave., between Greene and Lexington avenues, focusing on wines from Bosnia, Macedonia, Croatia, Morocco, Albania, Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. There are more ubiquitous offerings too, like wines from Italy, France, and Spain.

As for food, the cuisine skews Italian with touches of Spanish and other Mediterranean cuisines. Most of the menu is comprised of preserved foods served in jars, like anchovies ($9), baby artichokes ($8), and mixed Italian mushrooms ($8). There are some small plates, too, including burrata ($14), a little gem salad with avocado and Castelvetrano olives ($11), and octopus served with gigante beans, peperoncino, and celery leaves ($13). On the more substantial side, there is a simple potato gnocchi with sage, cheese, and butter ($12), as well as a thinly sliced pan-roasted strip loin with yuzu koshu and lime ($18).”

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In New York City, Restaurants Welcome Tables for One

Customers dine at Boqueria for lunch. The Spanish restaurant’s tapas, or grazing-style menu, appeals to solo patrons.

In New York City restaurants, the party-of-one is becoming a cause for celebration.

OpenTable, the online reservation platform, said that bookings by solo diners at restaurants in the city jumped by 80% from 2014 to 2018. And while OpenTable said those parties-of-one represent a very small slice of overall bookings, some restaurants said that business from solo diners can now account for up to 10% of their sales.

Even on Valentine’s Day, the most couple-oriented dining occasion of the year, New York restaurants are making room for patrons dining alone. OpenTable said that Valentine’s Day solo reservations in 2018 increased by 33% over the previous year. And perhaps for good reason: Restaurants said solo customers represent the ideal, as they are truly there for the food and experience rather than the social occasion.

“The way we approach it is that when we have a solo diner, it’s more of an honor than anyone else,” said Andrew Kuhl, the dining-room manager at Eleven Madison Park, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.

Restaurants are doing their part to encourage such business. At such establishments as L’Artusi, an Italian restaurant in the West Village, and Odo, a Japanese spot in the Flatiron District, solo diners are given a free offering—say, a small serving of an off-menu item or a glass of sparkling wine. And on Valentine’s Day, some restaurants said they make an extra effort to welcome the solo crowd. For example, at Jones Wood Foundry, a food-driven pub on the Upper East Side, a communal table is set aside for party-of-one diners.

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Why small wine lists may be ideal for restaurants

“Picture yourself in a fancy restaurant known for its wine list. The host hands you a heavy leather volume, or maybe an iPad, to peruse pages upon pages of bottle selections.

Maybe you’re in the mood for something specific, so you navigate to the category you want. From there, you focus on a country, a grape and finally, you make a selection from 10–12 bottles. But if you don’t have a predetermined wine in mind, you’re left guessing what your companions like and what will complement their meals. Sure, the floor sommelier can help, and it’s exciting to have s many options, but it can also add a layer of complication and intimidation.

Enter the small wine list. If a big tome conveys gravitas and leather-bound luxury, a small printed list speaks to elegance, simplicity and ease. Instead of flipping through numerous pages of bottles before you even look at the menu, you can order wine at a glance and focus on your date, friends or family.”

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Israeli Chef Re-Opens Flagship New York Restaurant

“Chef Einat Admony is familiar with the stress of opening a new restaurant, having opened 13 restaurants throughout her career. But the days leading up to the reopening of her latest eatery, Balaboosta, felt more intense than usual.”

”We have all-time favorites such as the cauliflower with lemon, currants, pine nuts, parsley and crushed Bamba (an Israeli peanut butter-flavored snack), and fried olives with labane and harissa oil.”

New creations include the short rib zabzi with hand-rolled couscous, herbs and almonds; and red snapper with pickled okra tempura and sour Fresno chili in okra chraime sauce.

Customers can also choose from an extensive wine list including Israeli wines. The dessert section features malabi and halva creme brulee.”

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84 Million U.S. Wine Drinkers Fit Into Six Wine-Buying Segments

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“Representing 10% of wine consumers, Engaged Explorers are identified as the younger population of wine buyers. These are the most frequent buyers and they spend the most on high-priced wines than any in the list of six. They are called explorers because they drink many wine styles, from many countries and regions.

At 19% of wine consumers, Premium Brand Suburbans are middle to older age. They spend much less on a bottle of wine than most wine consumers and they are hard wired into staying with wines and brands they know, and members in this group happen to know more about wine than any in the five other segments.

Contented Treaters make up 17% of wine buyers. Like the “Suburbans” this segment comprises middle to older aged, but this group is affluent; they spend up, but they also don’t consume nearly as much wine as their counterparts. They go for a broad range of wines and are interested in a wine’s origin.”

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Michelin Guide: New York City 2019 awards stars to 76 restaurants, up from 72

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“Michelin has handed out its coveted stars to 76 restaurants in New York City in its 2019 guide, four more than last year, boosting the Big Apple’s reputation as a global destination for its diverse and innovative culinary offerings.”

“Michelin will release the latest edition of its New York City eating guide tomorrow. Their grading system uses anonymous reviewers in 28 countries. Some argue it is rigid and overlooks some restaurants that critics and diners praise.

The restaurant rater awarded its highest ranking of three stars to the same five New York establishments as last year for their “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”: Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, Masa and Per Se. But New York will still likely lag San Francisco in the number of three-star restaurants for a second year. San Francisco and the wine-producing regions of Napa and Sonoma had seven last year, the most of any US cities.”

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Wine Glass Shape Affects Tasting Experience

“I take a sip of wine, and it floods across my mouth–a perfectly balanced cabernet that tastes of yeast, fruit, and stone. Then I take a sip from another glass. This wine strikes the tip of my tongue like a dart. It’s pure booze, and, seconds later, I’m left with a dank, bitter aftertaste. This wine has clearly gone bad; I should really pour the bottle out.
In fact, both glasses contain the same 2014 BV cabernet. And both are what most of us would describe as a “red wine glass.” But the first glass was designed to mellow out the big fruit and alcohol of cabernets. The second glass was built to concentrate the fruit and subdue the acidity of a different kind of wine: pinot noir. I just learned the dangers of drinking a great wine out of a glass designed for another varietal.”

“They’re beautiful glasses, for sure, but I wanted to put wine snobbery to the test. And as we sipped wine after wine over the course of an hour, Riedel proved to this cynic how the mere shape of a glass can dramatically change your experience of wine.”

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