Tag Archives: Mediterranean

(NEW) Vinateria in Harlem – Dinner (Menu) Review

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The highly anticipated Vinateria was well worth the wait.  We enjoyed dinner there on a very crowded Saturday night a week ago.  We sat at the bar for a quick 15 minutes and visited with Antoinette (the lovely bartender mentioned in our previous post) until our table was ready.  A lot of familiar faces in Harlem were there curious to check out Vinateria’s first Saturday night.  We did not notice many people eating dinner at first, only having drinks.  But we arrived around 9:30 pm and our delightful server Ashley explained more people were having dinner earlier and that we arrived more towards the second shift.  After we sat down a large table of 10 sat next to us who all ordered dinner as well as many others.  I definitely recommend that you try their food along with their wine selection.  I wasn’t disappointed at all.  Actually I was thrilled!  As we wrote about Vinateria back in December the owner (Yvette) teamed up with Gabriela and Gustavo Lopez who have worked at many downtown hotspots (see our previous post) in the past.  Gustavo developed the menu and Gabriela developed their wine and beverage program.

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The menu (above) is a great compilment to the wine and beverages.  We enjoyed the simplicity of it though it was a little limited with dinner options.  That being said, what we had we loved.  They have divided the menu up by small, medium and large along with a cheese & charcuterie section and desserts.  It is very resonably priced.  Espeically the Large section entrees which are not huge portions but priced accordingly.  A perfectly cooked NY strip steak (below) at $20 that my friends enjoyed.

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I was very pleased with their sauteed striped bass at $18 (above) with sides of mustard greens and mashed potatoes.  The bass was beautifully cooked with a nice crisp skin.  Very flavorful and well executed.  The hand-cut beef tartare (below) with cornichon, capers and fried quail egg… wow!  I was fighting my friends off with my fork, unsuccessfully.  It was perfect.  I highly recommend it.  They have a homemade spaghetti with fava beans in a tomato sauce that looked very good and a nice vegetarian option.  We also started with a selection of various cheeses which set the dinner off to nice start especially with the wines recomended by Gabriela.  We tried the Ostatu (a rose) and the Lurra and a Carmenere.  Wine lovers and connoisseurs will be happy here.  You are in good hands.  Whether you choose to sit in the wine bar area of Vinateria or the restaurant side, after being there twice I can say both sections are comfortable and enjoyable.  Please see part one of our review Harlem Welcomes Vinateria On Their Opening Night from last week with more wine recommendations and additional information.  I think for the wine, food, atmosphere, customer service, location and  how well run this place is by the owner (Yvette), along with the unbeatable team of Gabriella and Gustavo that Vinateria will leave customers wanting to come back for more.  A very welcome addition to Harlem.

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(above) Freshly grown Herbs in a window planter at Vinateria to help Gustavo flavor the food prepared in the kitchen.

Vinateria
2211 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (corner of 119th St)
New York, NY 10026
(212)662-8462

They will have a website and twitter account soon but you can follow them now on Facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/vinaterianyc

Harlem Welcomes Vinateria On Their Opening Night

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Vinateria

It was a warm welcome at Vinateria in Harlem on opening night.  I showed up early with friends and there were a few people there but by an hour later the place was full with a lot of activity and all the tables were occupied.  The layout offers dinning tables to the left and the wine bar to the right.

As you can see the final execution of the interior came out nicely.  And quite a difference from the very first interior photos that we posted last week.  Above is a picture of the lovely owner (Yvette) with her father (both are residents of Harlem) in front of the beautiful custom made entrance doors.  They were the first two people that I met when I walked in and it started the evening off with a welcoming vibe.

I only had drinks on opening night but plan on going back for dinner soon.  I can say that I was impressed with the wine selection and presentation.  Open etched glass school house pendants illuminate the distressed metal bar which I thought was an effective look.  It’s informal rustic with a bit of modern chic when you take in the whole decor.  Almost a Mediterranean, European feel to it.  Antoinette who was helping us at the bar, was inviting and very informative with her recommendations.   A few of the wines that I would recommend are…

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Gaba do Xil at Vinateria

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“Arcese – White Wine” with Antoinette at Vinateria

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Jelu Malbec Rose at Vinateria

I would suggest that you have a conversation about the wine before choosing one as this really made a difference for me and my experience.

I look forward to writing part two to this review after dinning at Vinateria very soon.  I spoke with Yvette briefly about the menu and she did mention that it was Italian based with a global, mediterranean flair.  Sounds good to me.  First impressions I’d say this place was very well thought out and if opening night was any indication it was well received and the neighborhood seemed to approve.

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Vinateriia

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Vinateria

Vinateria
2211 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (corner of 119th St.)
New York, New York 10026
212-662-8462

The 5 And Diamond / Harlem

The Five and Diamond

By HarlemHouse

The Five and Diamond Restaurant on Frederick Douglass and 112th street has recently gone through a couple of changes.  Chef Ryan Skeen has turned over his expertise to Chef David Santos.   I won’t get into the story of why the Restaurant changed chefs this has already been written about.  I am here only to review the restaurant as it stands now and to let you know what you can expect and experience while dining there.

Recently I ate at The Five and Diamond with a friend.  I have been excited to try the food here since it opened.  At this Mediterranean, American cuisine restaurant I spoke with brothers Carlos Santos (General Manager) and David Santos (Executive Chef) about the food at Five and Diamond.  First off the food was delicious. The Portuguese flavors and styles add an excitement to the dishes.  For starters we had the Seared Scallops with Apricot Gazpacho and the Prawns with Crispy Pork Belly.

Both were very good.  I was skeptical of the prawns and pork belly (together) combo appetizer but this turned out to be my favorite of the two.  They also offered an Heirloom Tomato Salad which they had run out of the night I was there.  The small plates/appetizers will run you between $12-$15.  For the entrees we had the Chatham Cod with Manilla Clams, Celery, Tomato Coriander Sauce and the Iowa Farms Pork Loin with Sweet Corn, Seasonal Mushrooms, Gooseberry Puree.  The Cod was cooked perfectly crisp on the outside but tender and rich and flavorful like butter on the inside.  This dish was perfection.  The Pork was tender and seasoned well.  The gooseberry puree added a random yet interesting twist to the dish.

Also very popular is the  Philly Cheese Steak Entree with Clothbound Cheddar, Crispy Shallots and Red Pepper Foam.  The customer at the table next to me had this and I decided this will be what I have next time.  The Grande Plates/Main courses will run you between $24 – $30.  This may seem expensive but considering the quality and care that goes into the dishes and how satisfied your taste buds will be after eating here, I think you will find it well worth the dinero.

Last but not least the desert.  They have a nice selection of choices ranging from Chocolate Spongecake with Peanut Butter Cup, Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato to a Homemade Cookie Plate.  All deserts are baked fresh on the premises and considering Chef David’s reputation and experience in this field he wouldn’t have it any other way.  But there is one desert that has me craving to go back for more and I have been obsessing over ever since I ate there, the Brioche Doughnuts. I know what your thinking, donuts after dinner?  That’s what I thought so I ordered the cookies.  My friend ordered the donuts and I finished them.  Basically what you get is a bowl of small round hot doughy sugar donuts with a dish of warm icing on the side to dip them in. It’s “ridiculous good!”  I am hungry again just writing about it.

They offer several different specials throughout the week, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday Portuguese Brunch, for $20 (Unlimited Sangria for $10 extra) looks particularly inviting to me.Also recently my fellow blogger Austin2Harlem, posted about 5 & Diamond’s Happy Hour with their $5 Menu.  A great deal and an intimate bar setting.  The Curry Lamb Belly Sliders are awesome!  I have not tried the pig ears yet. My first thought after dining here was what a great place this will be to bring friends and family to.  It’s impressive without feeling stuffy.  Being a dog lover I got a kick out of the fact they had a bowl of water in front of the restaurant for peoples’ pets to quench their thirst on those hot summer days.  I also liked the music selection which was loaded with a lot of Stevie Wonder classics along with other great soul and R&B.

Overall I would say 5 & Diamond definitely stands alone and offers a unique addition to all the other great restaurants in the area.  There is a need for a place like this in Harlem.  The space is the right size and the location is perfect.  I think they will do well here as the foodies which frequent Melbas, Frizzante, Mojos, etc., stumble upon it.

SYMPOSIUM – Greek Restaurant in Harlem

SYMPOSIUM “Greek Restaurant”

This hidden gem tucked away on W. 113th St. has been in business since 1969.  If you like good Greek cuisine, this is the place for you.  Whatever your cravings are from the traditional Moussaka to the classic Lamb dishes to an assorted selection of Vegetarian delights, you are sure to have a delicious dining experience at this friendly, family owned establishment.

If you are looking for a light dinner or late afternoon snack, I recommend their classic Greek Salad with a glass of wine and Pita bread on the side.  Healthy and delicious.  The Symposium Mixed Appetizer Plate is a great sampler dish for those of you who are not as familiar with Mediterranean cuisine.

If you haven’t already stop in see why this place continues to be successful.  There is a reason that this restaurant has been in business for over 40 years.  Just make sure you don’t leave without trying the Baklava or Rice Pudding for desert.

Symposium
544 W. 113th St. (Between Amsterdam and Broadway)
212-865-1011

By HarlemHouse