Monday, November 19, 2012

An Educated Sip: Terroir Park Slope

Is Park Slope ready to be schooled about what they drink? Paul Grieco and Marco Canora seemed to think so when they opened the newest outpost of their beloved wine bars at 284 Fifth Avenue, in the former Great Lakes space. The ultra modern, yet comfortable establishment sets out to be the same as their other locations but with a more relaxed vibe that is distinctly Brooklyn. In other words, you are still encouraged to geek out about Riesling, but there’s more elbow-room in which to do it.

One of the distinguishing features of all the Terroirs is the carefully selected list of wines, championing small producers, lesser-known regions and eclectic styles such as vin jaune, sherry and yes, Riesling - of all levels from bone dry to sweet. Manager Allison Whittinghill explains that each location has its own focus and that Park Slope is more “communal” than the Manhattan locations. Customers have responded well to things like free glasses of sherry at happy hour (one per person) and are noticeably receptive to trying new wines. She says the neighborhood seems to have a ”built-in excitement” for going beyond their comfort zone to try new things.

When asked what she wanted to focus on for Park Slope, Whittinghill responded “Austria, Hungary and Greece” - three hot, up-and-coming regions that may not be as familiar to the average wine drinker. So far, response has been good. The selections will change as the bar gets settled. “We want to get a feel for the neighborhood, and morph into what it wants.”

One of the ways they have adapted from the get-go is to provide a back table that is lower than the others, so the strollerati crowd feels more comfortable (there is also a stroller rack to keep aisles clear.)

While they share many popular menu items with the other Terroir locations (such as fried beet risotto balls, cheeses and charcuterie), Park Slope has several unique offerings, in large thanks to having the space for their own meat smoker. Chef John LoManto has prepared new items such as grilled cheese with house smoked bacon, Brooklyn bangers hot dogs, house made terrine, house smoked pulled pork panini, Korean-style short ribs with kimchi and sweet and sour chicken wings. There are also wonderful homemade sweets such as olive oil cake, chocolate budino and panna cotta. Brunch is served on weekends from noon till 3, including pancakes that make Whittinghill (and others) swoon.

Their motto? It’s the “elitist wine bar for everyone.”

Please check the Terroir website for hours, which vary during the week and weekends.

- Amanda Schuster,

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