Openings! Bar Vinazo, Bananas, and Gilda
Good morning Strong Buzz family,
I have some restaurant news to share on this gray Wednesday in May.
Spain lands in the Slope with Bar Vinazo from Joe Campanale and Ilyssa Satter
I am very excited about Bar Vinazo, the latest restaurant from Joe Campanale and Ilyssa Satter (Fausto, LaLou), which I wrote about yesterday on Eater. It’s where you should eat this weekend (or as soon as you can).
At Bar Vinazo, located in a former toy store just steps from Joe and Ilyssa’s first Park Slope apartment, you’ll find a beautiful back garden (will be nice if the sun ever comes out), and a stunning terra cotta bar to lean on with a cocktail—their Txokolita, a marriage of the margarita and Txokoli, is gonna be a fave I know—and some Cinco Jotas jamon.
Barcelona-born, Brooklyn-bred chef Silvia Garcia-Nevado, formerly of Prune and The Standard East Village, leads the kitchen with strong Catalan influences. Think tortilla, croquettes, a huge list of conservas, seafood fideuà, and much more. Read all about it in Eater.
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Nick Morgenstern Goes Bananas
A few weeks back I broke news of a fantastic new creamery out in Rockaway Beach from former pastry chef Tracy Obolsky, and now I have another new concept to share: Bananas from Nick Morgenstern, who happens to be Tracy’s mentor. So, all in the family.
Nick’s newest concept, Bananas, is devoted to non-dairy soft-serve. But this is not your average non-dairy soft-serve. That’s because it’s made by Nick, who’s an expert at coaxing flavor, texture, and fun from all manner of frozen treats. For Bananas, he spent months creating three non-dairy different bases — one from cashew milk, another from rice milk, and a third from macadamia butter, all made in house, to marry with a variety of cool softserve flavors. A different base is used depending on the flavor profile of the ultimate soft-serve. Pretty cool.
As for flavors, good luck choosing. There’s Banana Caramel, Salty Peanut Butter, Coconut Vanilla, Super Chocolate, as well as Matcha, and some citrusy ones too: Prickly Punch, Sumo-Yuzu, and Mucho Mango. Get a cone or a cup and decorate with a Willy Wonka-styled list of sprinkles, crumbles, and other textured toppings.
Bananas is located in the former Morgenstern's location at 2 Rivington Street, and opens today.
Israeli Skewers and Hand-Harvested Ice and at the newly opened Gilda
Gilda, which just opened in Hell’s Kitchen, celebrates Mediterranean cuisine including Israeli shipudiyas (skewer restaurants), Greek and Lebanese fare with a menu from Executive Chef Eunice Rosario and consulting chef Jason Neroni, chef-owner of The Rose Venice, Best Bet LA and B-side Pizza NY.
The magnificent cocktail list is also a draw; it’s from Sebastien Marrow, of Dutch Kills with consultant Steven Rhea, previously of James Beard award-winning cocktail bar Maison Premiere.
The restaurant is owned by restaurateur husband-wife duo, John Dempsey and Maren Powell who own several local spots including El Centro, VYNL, Hell's Kitchen, 'Ritas, B-Side Pizza, and more.
All of this is a long way of saying there’s lots of talent here.
Eunice’s menu makes me hungry just reading it. There are dips like Hummus with crispy chickpeas, black garlic, molasses, lemon and parsley; Charred Baba Ganoush with black sesame puree, smoked paprika and chermoula; Whipped Ricotta & Spinach with brown butter, cumin, garam masala, aleppo and fried shallots; Matbucha with tomato confit and smoked paprika; and Baked Sheep Cheese with Moroccan muhammara, dried apricots and mint.
The Small Plates section includes a Chopped Escarole Tahini “Caesar” with feta and za'atar; Coriander Roasted Spring Carrots with citrus labne, harissa jam, sumac and cilantro; Roasted Cabbage with chermoula, garlic chili crunch and scallions; and Crispy Latkes Fries with hot sauce, sour cream and garam masala.
Mains include Labneh Marinated Chicken Shawarma with garlic yogurt, tahini cucumbers and sumac onions; Lamb Shashlik with pomegranate amba; Short Rib Shashlik with dates and jalapeño; Chicken Shashlik with mango amba; Grilled Branzino with preserved lemons, olive, aleppo and pine nuts; and Baby Lamb Chops with zhug, endive and oranges.
For dessert, Classic Baklava with pistachio, walnuts and vanilla ice cream; and Lemon Ricotta Cake with strawberry compote and labne whipped cream.
Given their pedigree, you can imagine there’s a lot to say about the Sebastien and Stephen’s cocktail program, but let me begin with the ice. Stephen uses a Clinebell Ice Machine ice machine, which creates two 300 pound blocks of ice at a time. Twice a week, Steven “harvests” the ice from the two 300 pound blocks, which are hoisted and cut into six pieces with a chainsaw, and then sawed into smaller cubes and tempered for the bar. Let’s repeat here: a chainsaw. This is for real people.
On his cocktail list you’ll find gorgeous drinks befitting hand-harvested ice like the Gilda Martini with Xoriguer Gin de Mahon, extra dry vermouth, anchovies and Basque peppers; One Way Glass with Alloro Bay Leaf Liqueur, Amaro Sibilia, Suze and Espadin Mezcal; Slippery Slope with Michelberger Mountain Elixir, Pamplemousse, calabrian chili amaro, lime and coconut; Two Left Feet with Heirloom Pineapple Amaro, Hampden 8 Year Rum and mole; among others.
Gilda is located at 401 W 47th Street. It is open for dinner from 4pm - midnight Wednesday - Saturday, and 4pm - 11pm on Sunday. Daily Happy Hour from 4pm - 6pm. In the coming weeks, Gilda will expand its hours and also add weekend brunch. Reservations are available on Resy, and walk-ins are welcome.