Monday, February 25, 2008

Crescent and Vine - A Lovely, Chillaxin' Time

Crescent and Vine - 25-01 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY 11105
N/W Train to Ditmars Blvd (last stop)

I've visited this place several times on weekends and always enjoyed their cool, low-key vibe. The wine flows, the music is nice and the friendly neighborhood feeling never wanes. It's also next door to Fatty's Cafe so next time you're there, think about a double header.

Dimly-lit, Crescent gives off a chill, sophisticated aura. This place is intimate--as in the size of a NYC living room--but that's all part of the appeal. Its close quarters make you feel like a part of something exclusive and private. The coolest design feature about Crescent, for me is the original tin ceiling--it's been polished nicely since the opening and in fact looks brand new.

Another interesting aspect is a small elevated area located in the front of the house. This platform houses two cozy tables with lounge seating and a view of the 'hood. You can't help but notice it right away and think "who are those VIPs sitting up there and how did they score those seats?" Fortunately, anyone can sit up there--you just have to show up at the right time.

Food and Wine:
Although this is a wine bar, they offer a food menu with paninis and select appetizers. And while I wouldn't necessarily come here for dinner, it's a lovely option for a light bite or a late-night snack. Here's what I tried:

Bruschetta - Served on crusty bread, this juicy tomato snack didn't compete with the flavor of our full bodied red wine. My favorite part was the sweet and almost syrupy balsamic vinaigrette, drizzled on top. It gave the dish an unexpected dimension--one of dessert.

Panini 1 - Cerrano ham, Manchego cheese and sun-dried tomato. Wow! My sandwich came out hot, crunchy and definitely on the well-done side--fine by me! It was served with a side of three adorable miniature pickles, which reminded me of the Hungarian pickles my family loves and basically eats with everything. The sandwich itself was tasty although I'm not sure I loved what the panini press did to the Cerrano ham. It tasted overcooked to me and I think adding the ham at the end would've been better, thus preserving its delicate flavor.

Panini 2 -
Gouda cheese, arugula and balsamic. Kimberly ordered this panini variation and I liked it much better than mine. The cheese melted really nicely and gave the sandwich a pleasant tang. The arugula wasn't too sharp either and the overall taste was soothing and woodsy. I would definitely order this next time around--note, it's called the Crescent and Vine panini.

Kimberly and I both ordered reds which came recommended by our knowledgeable waitor. Mine was a lovely Merlot and Kimberly got the Malbec, which she enjoyed. Helpful Hint: We came here on a Monday and most of the wine we were really interested in was gone--consumed over the weekend. So if you're looking for their top shelf selections, hit up Crescent and Vine on a Friday or Saturday--you're more likely to get what you set your eyes on.

Service and Cost:
The service here was exceptional. Not only was the waiter super knowledgeable, he was also friendly, attentive and trustworthy. All of his recommendations were sound and his wine expertise was duly noted. He offered great alternatives to some unavailable wines--and was so convincing in fact, that we're already looking forward to going back and trying them when fully stocked.

You'll get great value here for both the food and the wine. Although the wine prices per glass can be deceiving--$13 or $14/glass--they come filled and are also accompanied with a small decanter. Kimberly and I were able to get about 2.5 glasses out of this and were quite happy. The appetizers are all pretty much in the neighborhood of $7-$9 and our paninis were both $8--nice and reasonable.

2 Mmmms

1 comment:

  1. this was def an awesome place to chillax. i can't wait to go back and sample that muy popular spanish wine that sold out.



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