Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Some classy wine at Anfora

Last weekend, I met up for a casual Sunday-night drink with DA, whom I haven't seen in months. Our destination was Anfora, the organic(ish) wine bar recently established by the owners of Dell'Anima and Artusi; I expected a wait and at least something of a scene, but I was prepared.

I walked in, and the place was blissfully uncrowded. The main attraction visually is a large bar with some widely spaced square barstools; the rest of the space is taken up by three large scalloped booth/lounging areas. I plopped myself down on one of the semi-circular banquettes and found it delightfully comfortable. DA arrived, we ordered wine, we chatted.

What wine did we order? I chose a glass of Quattro Mani "Toh-Kai," an assertive white that is among the more unusual wines I've tasted. It was sharp and very acidic; it made my mouth water in a not altogether unpleasant fashion. Easy-drinking it was not, but I'm glad I tried it.

DA went for a glass of the "Cuve Rouge" Chateau Musar from Lebanon. This was a tasty glass of red-- spicy but not aggressive and hearty but not overpowering... we'll call it "balanced."

Fraternal twins

After sipping for a bit, we decided to order one of their cheese plates. Our order of Piave came with six small slices of some of the better ciabatta I've tasted recently-- chewy with a good crust and those appealing glossy insides. The cheese was reliably salty and umami-rich. A tiny trio of accompaniments-- wildflower honey, raisin compote, and whole-grain mustard-- provided a bit of interest, although it would have been nice to get some fresh or stewed fruit along with the deal.

Piave is just so, so good.

I recommend Anfora; it was surprisingly low-key and approachable for a West Village wine bar. While the food is relatively reasonably priced, the wines by the glass can get pretty pricey, so order carefully. Even though I don't usually give bars spatulas, I think Anfora deserves a hearty three OSes and a thumbs up for being a pleasant surprise.

34 Eighth Avenue at Jane Street

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