Thanks to the glories of winter break, my friend SC is back in town, and I was able to glory in her presence early this week with a wine and food fest at Wine 30. We escaped the blustery cold in the warm, dimly lit, and pleasantly chatter-filled room in Murray Hill and were quickly plied with wine-- for the lady, a glass of pinot noir; for me, a glass of a delicious Super Tuscan that surprised me with its lusciousness.
We also ordered some food, of course, to have something to do between sips. SC ordered two small plates: first a beets/walnuts/goat cheese crostini, which provided two hearty toast planks for $6. She augmented the crostini with a butternut squash salad (butter lettuce, pickled red onions, roasted pumpkin seeds, balsamic, $9). Upon SC's proclamation that the salad was delicious, the table next to us ordered it as well.
My choice was a cheese. After a bit of debate with the server, I chose the "kunik," a goat's cheese that's described on the menu as "buttery, unctuous, silky, tangy, musky." The first bite was almost overwhelmingly funky, but the accompaniments-- walnut-raisin bread, apricot marmalade, slivers of dried fig-- tamed down the funk to make the cheese simply pleasantly creamy. I wouldn't necessarily order this cheese again, but it was interesting to try once.
SC closed out the meal with one of their special desserts: red velvet cupcakes. There were four tiny mini cupcakes to an order, and while I can't comment on the presentation of the frosting, SC said the cupcakes themselves were quite good. As a nondenominational cupcake supporter, I was glad on her behalf.
And so we ate our food and drank our wine, and we were not hurried in the slightest when presented with our bill. While Wine 30 is certainly not cheap, it errs just on the side of not-a-ripoff. Prices are just a dollar or two higher than they should be, and portions are just an ounce or two smaller than they should be, but it's not egregious enough to prevent a return a visit. And in fact, the food was delicious, the wine tasty, the atmosphere welcoming, and the company superb. What more could you ask for in a wine bar?
41 E. 30th Street, between Madison and Park Avenue South