East Village Wine Bars
102 Avenue C, 10009
Cross Streets: 6th & 7th Sts.
The famed children’s story, Peter and the Wolf, reflects the moral: don’t be afraid to challenge established beliefs or to take risks…. Although not related to the fable at all – Edi is Eduard Frauneder and the Wolf is Wolfgang Ban, also partners of Seasonal – the sentiment could be similar. They’re opening an old-world Austrian wine bar in an eclectically urban NYC neighborhood.
It is designed to mirror their motherland’s Heurigers, or wine taverns, which are very rustic restaurants usually connected to a winery that serve very simple dishes (though this new spot lacks the requisite winery). Not to miss a detail, they bring a refreshingly focused wine list featuring an extensive array of Central European varieties like Riesling, Rotgipfler, and Grüner Veltliner.
Make no mistake, whites have been given the respect they deserve here. The list includes at least a dozen whites by-the-glass options, including a crisp mineral field blend by Zahel, a traditional winery within the borders of Vienna ($9); and a richer Rotgipfler by Freigut Thallern ($9). Not that red lovers should stay away: Germany and Austria have much to offer in the way of red wine.. There are also a few craft beers for good measure, like Czech Krusovice Dark and Weinhenstephan Hefeweizen.
The menu does what it is supposed to do at a wine tavern: highlight the wine without overshadowing it – and therefore is filled with classic Austrian comfort food. For instance have the salad of pickled sardine, apple, dill, pickled fennel and walnut calls with a crisp Riesling or Grüner. Or go for the creamy spätzle which stands up a Rotgipfler or even one of the reds. Check out the other sharable small plates of pork schnitzel to variously topped heartier flatbreads, honey & beer-covered baby backs and sea scallops over red beet pasta.
Its barn-style decor sums up the ‘from a time before’ atmosphere with a planked wood ceiling, military boot vases, 40-odd feet of old rope (supposedly salvaged from a church bell tower) draped above a distressed-copper bar and chandeliers & bar taps made from shell casings.