Tuesday, July 14, 2009

DiWine - Chic Wine Bar With Flava

DiWine - 41-15 31st Avenue, Astoria NY 11103

R/V/G Train to Steinway Street


Meg, Martha (new Joey in Astoria colleague) and I went to check out DiWine wine bar last night. I didn't have many expectations except that I looked at their site beforehand and loved what I saw. It seemed to be a chic, trendy place and a nice venue to meet for after-work drinks. All these things it was, and despite being a bit out of the way for me, I think I'll visit again soon.

Trendy, chic and comfortable are all accurate ways to describe DiWine. Although the space isn't huge, it's laid out so creatively that it gives the illusion of something bigger. There's a small outdoor seating area but the inside--at least for me--was more intriguing. The natural wood and exposed-brick decor makes DiWine feel earthy and rustic. Its best feature is the semi-private booth area that's sectioned off by sheer netting. The seats are comfy and cushiony and you can't help but recline and let your hair down. Besides a nice casual date place, I'd also recommend DiWine for a small group of friends.

Food and Wine:
The menu offered a lot of interesting-sounding small plates. We decided on the sharing route and ordered two tapas and a pizza. While the former was underwhelming the latter sure made up for it.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip - Recommended by our server, this was an easy sell, however, what came out wasn't anything to brag about. The bread was stale and the actual dip was just OK, nothing special. I'm wondering if it was homemade...? We voiced our disappointment about the bread and were brought something better, which was a nice way to approach the problem.

Mushroom Torchon - I love a good Portobello but was yet again disappointed with this one, which was filled with roasted red peppers and topped with herbed goat cheese. It sounded great on paper but when we tasted it, it lacked seasoning and was a bit watery. I was underwhelmed because what I envisioned was something aromatic and flavorful and this was anything but.

The Gigi Pizza - This is where things turned around. From first sight and smell, we were impressed, as the pizza looked fantastic--packed with interesting ingredients such as smoked beef, capers, mushrooms and fresh buffalo mozzarella. Once we tasted it, it was simply "divine," the flavors melding together to form a hearty, smoky bite. The crust was super light and crunchy but needed more salt. Overall though, it was a delicious pie that I'd happily order again.

Wine - A nice selection of domestic and international whites and reds (and even organic options), made my decision challenging. I chose a classic Italian Pinot Grigio and was very satisfied by its crisp, fruity undertone. Martha went for another white, which I can't recall by name but it was also nice, with a slightly more acidy touch.

Service and Cost:
I have absolutely no complaints in this department. Our server was considerate and knowledgeable, providing recommendations where he could. He made sure to check on us, ensuring that we were happy and as noted, accommodated us when we were not.

Costs are reasonable with tapas ranging between $6-$14, all pizzas are $10, cheese platters run between $10-$15 and the wine is also wallet-friendly with most glasses at $8. Two tapas, a pizza and three drinks set us back about $21 per person with tax and tip.

2 Mmmms

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