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- Scoop - 05-26-2000 10:13 AM

New York City may not be wine country per se, but some local resaurants know what they are doing with their wine lists -- great selections at reasonable prices.

The major restaurants like Montrachet and Le Cirque, with their vast wine lists, of course get plenty of coverage. Even a relative newcomer like Veritas (excellent, BTW), with its phenomenal wine list (with both a reasonable "market" list and a huge and expensive "cellar" list), was recently featured in The Wine Spectator.

What I'm excited about are a few restaurants, small in size but ambitious in the kitchen, with cellars that are as big as the restaurant itself.

First on my list is The Tasting Room, a tiny 12-table space on 1st Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue. Run by a husband and wife team, the cooking is inspired New American with a menu that changes daily. The ethos is a kind of an urban Chez Panisse. And the (literally) all-American wine list (350 different wines) presents both well-known and obscure choices in about 20 different varietals and blends (and some interesting by-the-glass selections, including a brillant Pinot Meunier from Oregon). Especially strong are the Pinot Noirs and Syrahs. We had a delicious 1998 Broadley Reserve from the Willamette Valley that married beautifully with the pork loin and the squab dishes we chose.

Another entry from the East Village is I Coppi, which offers toothsome Tuscan fare and an all-Tuscan wine list with over 400 selections (9th St. between 1st and Ave. A). The setting is open and airy -- and, unfortunately, popular -- a perfect place for summer dining. The wine list is fairly dear, but there are some reasonable options, like the 1997 Argiano Rosso Di Montalcino (@ $35).

For a wonderful marriage between Apulian (Puglia) cuisine and southern Italian wines, go to I Trulli. Not only is the wine list fairly priced, but you'll find selections there that can hardly be found anywhere else. Why? Well, attached to the restaurant is the wine bar Enoteca I Trulli, with great wine "flights" and by-the-glass selections (and a great bar menu from I Trulli's kitchen!). The I Trulli "complex" is on 27th St. between Lexington and Park Ave.South.

Finally (although there are more), there is a small nook on the Upper East Side, Etats Unis, which turns out home-spun New American food in an intimate atmosphere, kind of like dinner at a friend's apartment. They, too, have a wine bar (across the street), which grew out of their own wine interest and superb list. Their strong suite: German and Alsatian whites, very reasonably priced.


- Thomas - 05-26-2000 11:41 AM

Scoop, first I owe you for wine information, now I owe you for a restaurant heads up.

Some of the ones you mention are right around the corner from the location of my upcoming wine shop. I shall be down June 3 and 4 visiting with my partner, and I shall get to one or more of the restaurants.

Thanks again--you must come to our Grand Opening, which I hope to hell will be after Labor Day!


- Scoop - 05-26-2000 12:43 PM

It's my pleasure Foodie.

For The Tasting Room, because it's so small, you'll need to make a reservation (212 358-7831).

For I Coppi, unless your party is five or more, they do not take reservations. And on the weekends it can get very crowded, with long waits (so go early, before 7:30 PM). Lunch at I Coppi would be a great idea!

Good luck with the store. If I'm around next weekend -- and right now it looks like it -- I'll try to stop by.

Best,

Scoop


- winecollector - 05-27-2000 09:44 AM

Thanks for the heads up Scoop, you were able to get my mouth watering! I'm trying to get up to Conn. sometime this summer, and if I make it I'll check out one of those places along the way. I suppose it's worth dodging bullets and the risk of getting mugged?


- Scoop - 05-27-2000 10:47 AM

No risk, no reward, Winecollector!

And having lived in NYC since 1987, Manhattan has become a much safer (but certainly not crime-free) place in the last decade. Especially since the Crack epidemic ran its course.

Times Square has been Disneyfied, Wall Street has been printing money and tourists are streaming into NYC in record numbers. Watch out for those double-decker buses, however.

Scoop


- Thomas - 05-27-2000 04:10 PM

Hey Scoop, having lived the first half of my life in NYC, I am proud to say I have never been mugged. It's all in the attitude you project when you walk along.

Re, Times Square: I prefer the derelicts, hookers and panhandlers--at least it had character in those days. The last thing I want is NYC to become a theme park of NYC.


- Scoop - 05-28-2000 03:09 PM

Yeah, the Mayor and company may have done too good a job in cleaning up Times Square --now its death by theme restaurant!

And watch out, those hordes of tourists crossing 42nd St. could trample you underfoot! These are the dangers we live with!

On a completely different line of thought, a new wine bar -- "Rhone" -- has opened up in the 14th St. meat-packing district near the restaurant "Florent". It features only Rhone wines --hence the name -- running the gamut from Cote Rotie to Lirac and everything around and in between.

It's not cheap, but it has a full selection an some fair choices in the CDR and CDRV categories. A very "downtown" setting, and they will (eventually) have a bistro-type menu.

Cheers,

Scoop


- Innkeeper - 05-28-2000 03:16 PM

Never regretted moving away from New York so much.


- Thomas - 05-29-2000 07:12 AM

That, to me, is the truly great wonder of NYC: a single interest can support a business. Rhone-only, indeed!

Innkeeper, do you think you can get a business like that going in Maine? Here in the Keuka Lake region my wife and I harbor a joke business idea: The NPR Bar. It is an "upscale" wine bar that plays only National Public Radio on the radio (and if we put in a television, only PBS) and of course we will offer two-hundred variations of the simple cappuccino--in the largest containers known to humankind. To appreciate the joke, you have to drop in on the hundreds of "sports bars" around the area, not to mention the kind of wine they serve and the dark, muddy coffee....


- Innkeeper - 05-29-2000 08:29 AM

We actually have some excellent wine stores around here, and a number of restaurants with commendable wine lists. This is, after all, a tourist region. It isn't easy for these folks though, considering all the bureaucratic problems we've enumerated elsewhere.

[This message has been edited by Innkeeper (edited 05-29-2000).]


- winoweenie - 06-03-2000 09:19 AM

Gracious Scoop, for a minute there I almost called my travel agent. NAW. I`ll stick to my world out west here. Are you implying that Alices` Chez Panisse isn`t urban? Egads. Berkely has more characters ( per capita ) than New Yark. I love to visit the place.And lastly, Foodie, I thought you were spoofin` about opening a wine shoppe in the city. Good luck. Hope you have a ball, and remember the success of all good businesses is to have " First Count " Winoweenie


- mrdutton - 06-03-2000 10:11 AM

Scoop, I will be in NYC in mid-June. We will be visiting friends in Bronx, going on a cruise from Pier 88 and then coming back to the city for a day or so. Then we have family on Long Island and we may visit with them for a day or so.

You mention Etats Unis on the Upper East Side. What is the address please? Would you e-mail some phone numbers to me?

Would like to try all of the places you mention, but time will not allow that.

Thanks for some great information!


- Scoop - 06-04-2000 10:30 AM

First, and sorry I didn't list it before, but Etats Unis' address is 242 E. 81st (tel.# 212 517-8826).

Second, and "characters" aside, compared with the East Village, where The Tasting Room resides, Chez Panisse's setting -- as well as it's ethos and ambience -- is downright bucolic.

If, Winoweenie, you ever get the gumption to come East to Gotham, you can test out my turn-of-phrase. They've made NY safe for tourists, you know, although I'm not sure if NY is safe from the tourism.

Last, Foodie, I checked out your future shop space but, alas, you were already gone for the day (it was padlocked, so I made that big assumption), probably savoring a glass in the neighborhood. Too bad. Next time.

Best of luck fighting the NYC bureaucracy and keep us posted.

Cheers,

Scoop


- Thomas - 06-05-2000 07:40 PM

Scoop, sorry. I should have told you to drop over to the Black Star Bar on 2nd Ave. My partner owns it, and that is where we held court this weekend. Met with cash register and computer people, plus potential suppliers from Cahors region. The store is under construction.

My partner is off to Italy this week to make some buys based on tastings we did in Verona at VinItaly in April.

This venture will surely be fun, provided I can find an apartment. I think I shall have to sell my house just for the so-called "key" money! I walked from 1st Street to 10th, along Avenue A, something I have not done since the late 1960s. What a difference a generation makes. What we used to buy in Tompkins Square Park simply wasn't available last week....

Winoweenie, when you get up the nerve, there will be a RED wine waiting for you--but you must first taste a good white, as intitiation into the Manhattan clan.


- winoweenie - 06-06-2000 07:28 PM

Hecktor- Magilla! You certainly test a fellers will-power. IF, and that`s a large if, I ever get back to the city again, I`ll put asided my pride, my convictions, my munificently biased convictios and lift that sissy white to my burnt-out palate. Very few things I won`t do for a red. Again, Good Selling. Winoweenie


- mrdutton - 06-06-2000 08:36 PM

Scoop, Foodie..............

Plans are set. We are staying at the Grammercy Park Hotel and we will be dinning at "The Tasting Room" and at "Etats Unis".

New York wine country here we come..... <grin>


- Thomas - 06-07-2000 07:11 AM

Winoweenie, over in Germany you posted that you figured I would ascertain the answer to my question by reading your posts: GADS, I have enough of a time misunderstanding Randy's posts. The red wine offer stands.

(I have to tell my partner I now owe wine to Scoop and to Winoweenie--profit on wine? forget it.)

Dutton, what are the dates? If I am there that week I shall try to find you. Grammercy Park Hotel is nice.


- winoweenie - 06-07-2000 08:40 AM

Foodie, Einstein has trouble understanding Randys` posts ( Einstein Brother Hymie ).Winoweenie


- winoweenie - 06-07-2000 08:54 PM

Foodie, Gracious, I hope you never get together with Roberto, the resident maniac of Santa Monica. He has put things in my mouth I`d never try to describe in a family newsletter, but the sucker does every now and then get me a major spinner. Seriously, he has a great wine operation that operates on the premise that notjing is too obtuse, weird, unusual, or unobtainable that he won`t sell the sucker. ( Aint` bought no sissy whites from him yet.) His operation is Wine Expo on Santa Monica blvd . He mite have a moment of lucidity and give you some Hep>Winoweenie


- Randy Caparoso - 06-08-2000 12:00 AM

Commercial time: There's actually a Roy's New York there, too. In the Marriott Financial Center Hotel (two blocks below the World Trade Center). The entrance is on 130 Washington St. (behind the hotel -- you come up from Battery Park). We carry about 135 wines there -- most of them pretty cutting-edge, if I say so myself, and very apropos with the food. Food, of course, is no slouch. Euro-Asian, of course. James Beard Award winning, cover of Bon Appetit, and all that. The wine manager there is Anthony Mardach. Smart as a whip, and a C.I.A. grad to boot. Come on down!


[This message has been edited by Randy Caparoso (edited 06-07-2000).]