Several weeks ago, I had a light dinner with a bunch of girl friends, Giulia, Helen, and Sarah at Terroir. We figured going out to a funky, affordable wine bar that won’t break the bank since a few of us are still in school and we don’t want to go broke for one night of fun.
Since this place is basically a “no reservations” kind of place and it’s early (about 5:45 pm) we walked in and sat toward the back of the bar. What amuses me were their menus – one-inch colored binders with individually, quirky, unique covers. It’s graffiti on a binder but it’s all about wine. Some were weird, a tad disturbing, and some had touches of cute (like a Hello Kitty sticker or two).
After we ordered our wine, I realized something I haven’t noticed at first glance was their kitchen. It’s open to the bar and it’s stuck on a tiny corner. What got my attention of its existence was the sound of sizzling hot oil, which made me turn my back and see this small setup.
Our waitress was nice enough to remind us about the time since their Happy Hour wine specials were about to expire when it’s five minutes before 6 pm. We ordered what basically works for our own individual tastes. Giulia was feeling white wines, so she opted for the Grüner Veltliner. Sarah wanted the Asprino. I wanted ever since I saw the list, the Roter Elbling because it sounds so…weird and different. Helen was left to the red wine since everything else was taken and decided upon the Monastrell M3. We all liked or loved our wines when we took small sips out of each other’s glasses. I adored my Elbling since it’s quite acidic, nice amount of body and it looks like a rosé.
The calamari salad was pretty good. I liked the bright, acidic, slightly spicy dressing on top of the tender ribbons of calamari and the crunchy, slightly smoky, crunchy chickpeas mingling together. The tiny sprigs of parsley mixed around this salad made it taste fresher and interesting. Giulia liked this salad a lot, with the exception of the squid’s tentacles. The rest of us like this too but Helen’s generally not too fond with beans.
The beet risotto balls with Gorgonzola cheese looks pretty generic on the outside but after cracking it in half, you’ll see a beautiful bright red-purple shade inside. The salty, pungent Gorgonzola is actually masking the beet more than complimenting. But it was tasty and I love the textures of crispy outside meets hot and creamy insides.
As for something meat related, we ate sage leaves with lamb sausage. These literally came out piping hot (as you can tell from the photo) with the scent of sage and fennel filled the air. These were pretty delicious. Crisp and nicely caramelized on the outside, meaty and juicy on the inside with a nice balance of lamb flavor with the spices.
As for something bit more filling, we ordered the duck ham panini with hen of the woods mushrooms and Taleggio cheese. This particular panini was unusual in terms of its combination – the salty duck ham, the earthy, slightly crisp mushrooms, meet with gooey, soft, creamy cheese. Mmmm…I liked this sandwich a lot.
After we ate all of our food, the girls still wanted more alcohol, so they ordered by the glass except for me since my head felt a bit woozy from my Roter Elbling earlier. Sarah had the Goutorbe Brut, was a Champagne with clean apple and citrus flavors. I really liked that wine’s dry characteristics. Giulia had Szigeti Brut which was a rich bodied, clean, sparkling from Austria. Helen thoroughly her pinot noir from California. It’s light, fruity, a little bit dry and I tasted cherries. Since there was no dessert menu in sight and Giulia had to go home, we paid the check and Helen, Sarah and I left in the search for sweets.
My dessert destination in mind was the Dessert Truck. I remembered liking their desserts the last time I went there several months ago and I remembered they have changed their menu slightly, so it’s a good reason to go back.
Hopefully you know by now, Helen is a chocoholic so it’s practically a no brainer that she ordered “A Smooth Indulgence” which is their chocolate bread pudding with vanilla crème anglaise. She’s not daring enough to try with the bacon anglaise like Ariel had last time. It’s a straightforward and familiar dessert that she likes and thoroughly enjoyed. She loves the decadently rich, thick and chocolate-y bread pudding.
As for Sarah, she ordered (at that time) the Special, which was made of poached apple with almond cake, vanilla syrup, yogurt, and whipped cream. It’s a much lighter alternative compared to Helen’s. I liked the sweet-tartness of the slightly crisp apple meeting with the soft almond cake and tart yogurt.
As for me, I got the goat cheesecake. Did I ever tell you I’m a cheese head? Anyway, it read really interesting that you pair goat cheese with a rosemary caramel. My mind screamed, “GET IT! It sounds AWESOME!” Yeah, I wanted it pretty bad back then. This was definitely the best dessert I’ve eaten in a long while. The creamy, light, and slightly tart cheesecake plays along very well with the blackberry’s sweet-tart flavor and the rosemary caramel brought an interesting herbal zing to the entire concoction. I was blown away by this magnificent dessert and it only cost me $5. It’s inexpensive compared to what I would get in a fancy restaurant.
413 E 12th St
New York, NY
University Pl & 8th St
New York, NY