Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Vine Wine Bar Review, Merrick NY

The Vine Wine Bar
2259 Merrick Road
Merrick, New York 11566
(516) 812-7883

It's finally Friday! After a long day of work, like most, we wanted to unwind and forget about our week by becoming aquainted with a glass of wine.  In the mood for a new scene, with old friends, we wandered to: The Vine Wine Bar in Merrick for wine tasting on the south shore of Long Island!    
Our group of six quickly glanced around the quaint space, and found comfort in the lounge portion of the restaurant.  A small rectangular section composed of a booth sectional, ottomans, and small end tables put us in a dark cozy corner.  We situated ourselves accordingly, suggesting table rearrangements to the staff, in order to accommodate our anticipation for more space when our drinks and food arrived. Our corner did help us forget that we were right off of Merrick road since we were unable to see the street view.
This time around, we wanted to climb the vine, because of the fun wine tasting menu that the restaurant offers.  The menu is heavy duty, primarily filled with pages of various wines and cocktails, so feel free to skip the gym that night, and just do a few reps with this book!  Before we could "take flight," in wine tasting, we needed something yummy to pick on. 
The food, while not extensive but expensive, has the perfect picking options from olives to cheese plates to salads to panini's.  It seems that you could certainly get your munch on while getting your buzz on as well.

Here comes another *DnA tip!*  Go out in groups! The great thing about going out in groups is more food to munch on and more options to share.  (It doesn't hurt to go with your siblings also because then you won't feel guilty about eating their food).

We decided to dip into the white bean and atichoke dips while also indulging in some cheese platers.... Afterall, why else do people drink wine?

We each tried a wine flight which is equivalent to 2 glasses of wine.  Our flights descended to the table in fashion with a great presentation.  Four filled mini wine glasses sat perfectly on their wine board which contained a receipt showing your wine choices.  The waitress instructed us to drink starting at  the handle of the board and go down  the line. 

 I realize that I am not at a winery, but when wine-tasting, I'd be lying if I said that I wasnt waiting for such an explanation: "You'll taste top notes of sweet berry with a base note of tobacco."  They are not pretentious, as stated on their website however, they are also not too informative when it comes to the wine (which is the main focus of this restaurant).  Our flights took off and so did the fun conversation.  There was definitely a great vibe which went hand in hand with putting a local twist on wine tasting in your area.  While chatting, we had run out of room on our mini tables when our appetizers arrived.  The staff does their best to work with larger groups, but overall there just isnt enough space!  The dips were average featuring quite a hit of garlic in the white bean, and a mild sour cream consistency in the artichoke dip. The cheese platters were generous including our choice of three cheeses, an assortment of crackers, and a cute bunch of grapes.  Our appetizers lasted us halfway through our flights, but we all needed some more grub!

Round two:  Panini's and Grilled Cheese Time! For $10-$16 buckeroos, we had the mozzarella, tomato, peppers and artichoke heart panini with a balsamic dressing and Dino made his own grill cheese with a weird combination of cheddar, mozzarella and pecorino Romano cheeses.  

Again, the food is nothing special and quite frankly over-priced for half a panini with no sides in sight!  They came with just some garnish and grapes.  A chip, side salad, or slaw might help.  This place isn't for you if you are looking to fill up on food.  Fill up on wine instead!

With curiosity and a little room for dessert, we were memorized by the martini flight, and the chocolate fondue.  The mini martinis featured for $24 that night included: passion fruit, coconut, banana, and a white chocolate martini. Our expectations were high from the colorful, appealing presentation, and we all shared some sips! Overall, very tasty minus the coconut martini.....I'd say it was more of a milky tasting beverage than a grown up martini.  

The fondue was more of a fon-Don't.  For $18 bucks go buy a bag of

ghirardelli chocolate chips, melt them and add butter: A componet missing from this fondue which changed what should be a silky dessert to a lumpy one.  Be sure to use your dippers sparingly as there aren't many to go around!  I'm sorry but three huge strawberries (slice them) and five mini rice krispis, doesnt exactly scream a sharing dessert to me.

Fun was had and the wine was great, but the pricey menu will lead us to most likely eat before we come to try another wine tasting experience at the Vine.  It's different, fun and an excuse to go out on a Friday, but this vine seems to think that it is growing in New York City.  I can get a glass of wine for $12 there as well, but that doesn't mean I want to...especially in a local spot.  However we all loved the vibe, so we will most likely be back for another flight and some cheese =)

DnA Approved!
Dino & Amanda

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