413 E 12th St, New York, NY | Directions 1000940.729898 -73.982659
Neighborhoods: Downtown, East Village
Though the Terroir empire has expanded into other neighborhoods, this tiny joint is still my favorite, with a much cozier feeling than its Tribeca cousin. Sit at the bar and chat with the bartenders, who will make helpful suggestions from a crazily colorful and irreverent wine menu often starring dry Rieslings. Happy hour is a good deal, and the food menu complements wine nicely, with the usual charcuterie and cheese, plus more filling bruschetta and panini.
Bartender Really Knows His Stuff! – The bartender makes this place! There is nothing better than a bartender that actually knows about the wine and can match you to the perfect one based on a few descriptive words (for me: woody, smoky, spicy). Add to that a fun personality and I will be there all night! My only complaint is that it is really uncomfortable. The only seating is backless bar stools. I actually cut my evening short because of it. Backs on seats make all the difference in the world. They provide a place to hang your coat and purse as well as rest your back. One side note, the place cannot really support a large group.
Citysearch Editorial Review – Terroir shares a phone number and a street with its mother establishment, Hearth, but its personality is distinct. This becomes clear once you're seated--at the bar or one of 16 stools along the sole communal table--and a waitress hands you a custom-made, graffiti spattered binder. Each book is a thoughtfully crafted compilation of menus, quirky explanations (for example, why eggs are used in mixology) and the occasional cartoon or chart. As much care goes into cooking bar snacks like fried mozzarella balls and fava bean and pecorino salad. And with an eclectic beer list (including brews from Dogfish Head and Green Flash) in addition to a versatile list of wines, you should find something to pair your food with easily.
Going downhill – was a charming and wonderful wine bar, now afflicted by staff who couldn't care less. More interested in chatting with each other than attending to patrons.
Unquestionably the best wine bar/snack bar in the City – Marco Canora and Paul Grieco (Hearth, Insieme) have come up with another winner. The list of wines by the glass is extraordinary, from little-known Austrian Rieslings to Campagna's best whites. The snacks that accompany these remarkable wines are equally special: pungent veal-ricotta meatballs, feathery frittata, freshly sliced Serrano ham - those are just a few of the savoury choices. The one caveat: Get to Terroir early, because after about 7:00, virtually all the 24 seats are taken. Even you live on the Upper West or East Sides - heck, even if you live in Riverdale - Terroir is definitely worth the schlep. I know its oxymoronic but Terroir is an instant classic.
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