I finally had a chance to dine at Barawine in Harlem one chilly quiet weekday evening. I had an incredible experience.
Barawine is located in the space formerly occupied by Harlem’s first and short-lived caviar bar. The venue is beautifully laid out and visually stunning. I loved what felt like three different spaces each with unique feel and charm. The display of wine bottles is particularly beautiful. We were greeted by friendly attentive staff, all of whom spoke French. The owner greeted us warmly and identified recommended dishes all of which I tried. My dishes pictured below were warm and savory, the portions filling, and the prices right.
The wine selected by the owner was terrific. The Spicy Corn and Poblano Cheese Soup was silky smooth and just spicy enough. Every bite of the The Branzino Provencal was as flavorful and as unique as the last – truly delicious.
What I particularly like about this corner of Harlem, this particular Harlem restaurant row as it were, is that there is a decidedly french feel to it with newcomer Cheri up the block and across the street (stay tuned for our review of Cheri) and Chez Lucienne adjacent to Red Rooster up the block on the same side of the Street where Barawine is located. I love the French influence in Harlem, being of French-Canadian and Haitian descent.
Barawine Harlem is located on 200 Lenox Avenue, at the corner of 120th Street.
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.
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.
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.
(above) Freshly grown Herbs in a window planter at Vinateria to help Gustavo flavor the food prepared in the kitchen.
2211 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (corner of 119th St)
New York, NY 10026
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…
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.
2211 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (corner of 119th St.)
New York, New York 10026