D’Vine Bar, Sparkill, NY – Equal Parts Whimsy and Wine

Joe Printz Talks About D’Vine Bar

Open since September 16th, D’Vine Bar, the brainchild of Grape D’Vine wine boutique owner and four-time restaurateur Joe Printz, offers a playful menu and smart curation of wine and beer in a polished, urbane ambience. Printz relocated his Tappan, NY boutique to Sparkill and constructed a jewel box-sized atelier where diners could commune over wine, conversation and a menu that irreverently brings together eclectic ingredients in playful compositions. With 46 seats, including bar and communal table, in a handsome interior and an outdoor area that can seat another 30 guests in warm weather, D’Vine Bar has been welcomed with open arms by Rockland, Westchester and Bergen patrons. These folks have long-awaited Printz’s vision realized through the skill of Chef Christopher Holland, a self-taught cook who, since leaving Session Bistro, a storefront in Maywood, NJ and AXIA Taverna in Tenafly, has developed a menu that balances sophistication with playful renderings of classics with largely successful results. Front of the house is managed by 29-year old Monika Riley, GM, who was sommelier/beverage director at ’76 House in Tappan, NY and also had stints with Mario Batali’s Tarry Lodge in Portchester, NY.

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Joe Printz, D’Vine Bar and Grape D’Vine owner
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Monika Riley, GM

D’Vine Bar’s whimsical menu is divided into seven sections:  Ruffage (salads), Pizzaaas, Six (apps), Cheese, Please!, Twelve (small plates), Eighteen (entrees) and Escorts (sides).

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The fedora-clad kitchen team led by Chef Christopher Holland, left.

Expect seasonal changes to the menu. Four types of pizza are offered, starting with the Scattiatta with grape, black pepper, fennel seed crust and a parm/regg and arugula topping ($12), the Heirloom Pie with white bean crust underneath heirloom tomato blend and house made ricotta ($14), the Greek Pie cleverly incorporating rosemary into a chewy crust and topped with house made lamb sausage, feta, olives and mint tzatziki ($15), and the mushrooms and goat cheese version with an arborio rice crust, blend of mushrooms, goat cheese and drizzle of 50 year Balsamic ($15).  Each Neaopolitan style pizza is cooked in a custom 1,000 degree oven and presented on a round wooden slab. These are well-executed pies and generously sized making them ideal for nibbling at the bar over a flight of wine. While this is Holland’s first experience making pizza, it’s clearly something he’s skilled at. Look for more developments in this area, as crusts showcase delightfully unexpected textures and flavors, all working harmoniously.

“Ruffage,” the first section of the menu, has five items to choose from: the House Salad ($9), Seizure Salad ($11), Compressed Watermelon & Tomato ($11), Heirloom Tomato ($12), and Greek Quinoa Salad ($12). The watermelon salad was intensely flavored and left me wanting a portion three times the size. Sadly, the item is moving off the menu for more fall-inspired ruffage creations, hopefully returning in the summer. It’s a winner.

In the Six category, selections include the Elote’, which combines Mexican street corn, pecorino, romano, cilantro, smoked paprika, house chili powder, and lime, and the Cornflake Chicken, which is marinated with sriracha, covered with a crisp cornflake crust, and served with bleu mousse.  There are six choices to choose from, $6 each. Chef Holland continues to use the fryolater with abandon, producing tasty, crispy and caloric delights ranging from Cornflake Chicken, a play on Buffalo Wings with simply tenders coated with cornflakes and deep fried and served with traditional accompaniments with a twist.

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Cornflake Chicken
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D’Vine Fries with Aioli

The Cheese, Please! category offers an assorted cheese plate for market price. The “Twelve” category has seven selections to choose from. There are some delicious offerings in this section, among them Catalan Shrimp and the Bacon & Eggs.

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Catalan Shrimp flavored with jalapeno, garlic, lemon and parsley
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Bacon & Eggs, pork belly topped with poached egg and paired with crouton atop slaw

The Eighteen section has at least three fish items and two red meat items.  Some notable items include the Cast Iron Fish (changes daily) and the Campfire Steak.

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Cast Iron Octopus – tender and tasty
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Campfire Steak, four ounces of sliced strip with bacon BBQ sauce, gorgonzola stuffed fingerlings

Escorts/sides section includes Mashed Potato Casserole, Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms, Cauliflower Croquettes, and Hot Slaw, each $6. Desserts are made on premise and on my visit, two of three offerings were deep fried. Reservations are strongly recommended. The restaurant plans to add another day of service; they are open only Tuesday-Saturday now. Watch for Sunday wine dinners.

D’Vine Bar

4 Depot Square

Sparkill, NY 10976

845.359.2141

www.grapedvine.com

8 North Broadway, Nyack, NY – A Favorite Amongst Area Chefs – Upcoming Cooking Demo

While online reviews and friends’ recommendations may be influential in selecting a restaurant, the endorsement of having chefs dine at your digs may be incomparable.  At 8 North Broadway, the 8-month old Mediterranean bistro in this Rockland County river town, local chefs are clearly fans.  During a recent visit, Peter Kelley of Xavier’s, Freelance Cafe and X2O was at his usual place at the gleaming brass bar with his wife, enjoying dinner and cocktails.  Matthew Hudson of Hudson House is also a frequent patron.  8 North Broadway has a steady group of regulars from other local restaurants as well who congregate at its bars and dining room tables, enjoying libations (thanks to its new liquor license), small plates and the warm ambiance of old and new friends.

The restaurant’s carefully curated wine menu is broken down into Bubbles, Rose, White and Red categories as well as a Local Keg Wine which is Eco-Friendly.  Some noteworthy wines include the Chenin Blanc (Paumanok, North Fork L.I., NY ’12, $15|$46), Assyrtico (Argyros, Santorini, Greece, ’11 $12|$36), Gavi (La Lancelotta, Gavi. IT ’10, $38) and Pinot Noir (Chad, Carneros Reserve, Napa, CA ’11, $13|$46), all delicious and harmoniously paired with small and large plates or on their own.  Richard Mitchell, GM and wine sleuth, has excellent suggestions on pairings and is impressively knowledgeable about the small wine producers and their products’ nuances.

Small plates I recently enjoyed include Fresh Shucked Oysters served with sea salt, horseradish and seasonal mignonette ($3 each), Grilled Pita (made on premise and addicting) and Dips served with cucumber yogurt and simmered eggplant ($10) and one of my favorites, Long Island Tomato Salad which includes baby cucumber, feta, olives, mint and is dressed with red wine vinegar ($12).  I loved the big chunks of meaty feta combined with the sweet tomato, perfume of mint and bright acid of the vinegar in this salad.  I highly recommend the delicate yet robustly flavored Day Boat Scallops, which are served with micro baby strawberries, toasted almonds and herb vinegarette.

Fresh Shucked Oysters
Fresh Shucked Oysters
Long Island Tomato Salad
Long Island Tomato Salad
Seared Dayboat Bay Scallops
Seared Dayboat Bay Scallops with pickled micro strawberries, toasted almond and herb vinegarette

As usual, dinner was sublime.  Roasted Hiddenfjord King Salmon ($32), House Made Cavatelli ($10|18), Pan Seared Pork Chop ($32), Slow Roasted Baby Goat ($29) and Pan Roasted Delmonico Steak ($34) were our picks and all of were deftly prepared.    Dessert included two delicate locally made gelatos, one lavender scented and the other sesame – both outstanding.  A tender almond-based gluten-free petit four sized cake was also enjoyed along with chocolate pot de creme served with yogurt panna cotta and almond biscotti.  I feel obligated to order a large plate whenever I visit because I love the food so much, yet I realized on this visit that multiple small plates are a rather delightful (and perhaps summery) approach to dining at a restaurant like this that has such a robust array of temping options.

8 North Broadway will be hosting its third Cooking Demonstration on August 6th which begins at 7PM.  A meet and greet will begin at 6PM.  The cooking demonstration is Spanish-themed so the dishes will have a heavy Spanish influence with both the ingredients and spices.  Chef Constantine Kalandranis will demonstrate how to prepare each dish as guests are tasting the food.  There will be a pairing tutorial where the meal is matched with wine or beer.  The wine comes from a boutique wine importer from the Bronx, who will also be a special guest at the event.  The $75 per person cost includes a four course meal served with a wine pairing.  Spaces are limited.  Reservations required.

Chef Constantine and guests at last Cooking Demonstration
Chef Constantine and guests at last Cooking Demonstration

8 North Broadway

Nyack, New York 10960

Phone: (845) 353-1200

http://www.8northbroadway.com/

8 North Broadway – Nyack, NY – Mediterranean Fare

8 North Broadway, Nyack - Melanie Lust photography
8 North Broadway, Nyack – Melanie Lust photography

Constantine Kalandranis is a humble, poetic man and a very talented chef. At 33 years old, he’s proving to be a savvy businessman as well. It’s likely that his Nyack, NY patrons at 8 North Broadway, open since December, agree on all counts. A native of Astoria, Kalandranis has a passion for prime seafood, meat, produce, bread and pastry and organic ingredients, frequently sourcing from Hudson county and neighboring regions and importing fish from around the globe. The quality of ingredients shows in dishes, elevated by simple, thoughtful preparations that are Mediterranean at their core. Kalandranis helms the kitchen with chef Hichem Habbas, another native of Astoria. From his earlier days at Anthos, Exo, Gus & Gabriels, Kalandranis brings with him a deep appreciation for smart, straightforward executions that elevate pristine ingredients. No corners are cut. Everything on the menu is made fresh from scratch daily, using organic ingredients when possible. Flat and pita bread are hand rolled and baked on premises, served steaming from the oven or charred from the grill. Olives and fragrant fresh herbs abound here, creating food that is both sensuous and satisfying.

Phone calls in the wee morning hours inform Kalandranis about the best seafood offerings, with decisions made between two and three AM that will influence the menu, which is printed several hours later. This translates into a vibrantly fresh, fluid menu with lovely surprises for patrons eager to experience new types of fish or traditional proteins that are true to their authentic, free-range flavors. Meats are given equal consideration and heft, most sourced from farms within 200 miles of the restaurant.

Like Kalandranis, Richard Mitchell, general manager, is a class act. His polished style brings a humming efficiency to the front of the house, where wait staff are attentive, knowledgeable and friendly. Staff is young, confident and good looking, creating a relaxed energy that puts diners at ease. While there’s a comfortable distance between tables, the atmosphere seems to invite easy chatter between tables, sparking discussion of dishes. The Nyack zeitgeist is warm and convivial and 8 North Broadway’s patrons are clearly at home here. Regulars are warmly welcomed and newcomers made to feel at home. The bar teems with solo diners and small groups sharing mezze and wine.

Subsequent visits indicate that the restaurant is beloved by area restaurateurs and chefs alike, with its Monday nights bustling with the owners of Nyack eateries stopping in for dinner or simply a drink at the lovely brass bar, which seats 16.

Interior shot - Melanie Lust photography
Interior shot – Melanie Lust photography

The 48-seat restaurant open for lunch in the fall. Sunday brunch starts at 11:00am and is more suitable for younger patrons than weekend evenings.

Mezze plate with 9 salads and spreads ($23) - Melanie Lust photography
Mezze plate with 9 salads and spreads ($23) – Melanie Lust photography
A bustling Friday night
A bustling Friday night
Pickled olives, celery and fennel whet the appetite
Pickled olives, celery and fennel whet the appetite
Plump, briny oysters at $2.50 each with pickled vegetable mignonette and brined beet pair beautifully with a sparkling rose from Spain, Penedes' Pinord Reynal ($33/bottle)
Plump, briny oysters at $2.50 each with pickled vegetable mignonette and brined beet pair beautifully with a sparkling rose from Spain, Penedes’ Pinord Reynal ($33/bottle)

The ever-changing menu is divided into four sections: small cold plates; small hot plates; main dishes; and additions. Desserts are posted on a separate menu and include a selection of house-made items and suggested wines to pair them with. A thoughtfully curated wine list showcasing elegant, small production Mediterranean wineries at reasonable glass and bottle prices is offered.

Mezze are meant to excite the appetite and 8 North Broadway executes these foreplay items beautifully. Small cold plates range from $7 for seasonal crostini of carviar dip, white anchovy and shaved red onion to $13 for shaved lamb loin carpaccio with lemon oil, pickled chick pea salad, dandelion and pecorino. All the offerings are designed to whet the appetite, mixing briny, salty bites with sparkling flavors of the sea. The local beet salad ($12) is delectable with Vermont feta, red onion, olives, kale, a silken hummus and the restaurant’s chewy, warm, hand-rolled pita.

seared diver scallops with toasted almonds, braised cherries and sumac atop silken hummus
seared diver scallops with toasted almonds, braised cherries and sumac atop silken hummus

Small hot plates are excellent for sharing. Sizzling Spanish octopus ($14) is served in a sizzling cast iron skillet, with charred vegetables and a red wine vinaigrette. The texture of the octopus was pleasantly toothsome, delivering a punch of flavor. Other hot mezze items include sardines a la plancha served with Sicilian bread salad and crushed pistachio ($13) and a lovely seared diver scallop ($14) with toasted almonds, braised cherries and sumac atop a puddle of that smooth hummus. If I had to choose one favorite item from this part of the menu, the scallop would be it. Its balanced smoky, salty flavors mingle with the delicate tart, tangy sweetness of the cherries, playing beautifully on the tongue. Go with the muscadet just to celebrate this winning appetizer, a Sevre Et Maine, David Duvallet, Loire, France, 2011 ($10/glass – $37/bottle), an ideal counter with bright fruitiness.

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Gewurstraminer, from Warwick Valley Winery Upstate, 2011 ($9/glass or $32/bottle) is crisp, a fine choice for any of the mezze items. Even the Macon-Villages, Roux Pere & Fils, a French Burgundy, 2010, ($11/glass or $39/bottle) would also be worth considering.

In the Main Dishes category, seafood is sure to tempt, with multiple daily specials servers will describe and staples like grilled sea bass with bitter greens, lemon potatoes and capers (market priced). But don’t ignore the other proteins, like a Heritage Farm Pork Chop ($29) served with white polenta,sage, pork belly and tomato broth. Grilled Colorado Lamb ($36) is more deeply flavored and, well, lamb-y, than its Australian cousin. It’s plated with a Sardinian couscous, mint, pickled apricot and flatbread. Grass-fed beef ribeye ($39) is nicely charred, and served with addictive crispy yucca frites, melted onion and rosemary. This is another excellent non-fish option and beef lovers will enjoy its true beefiness and excellent marbling. Vegetarians have the option of a tasting plate ($22) with red quinoa, braised sherry mushrooms, bitter greens and legumes. Or they can also opt for multiple mezze items.

selection of sliced pork, beef, lamb and chicken
selection of sliced pork, beef, lamb and chicken

Additions range from braised organic beans with tumeric ($6) to white polenta with yogurt ($6) and are nicely portioned.

Desserts are homey and satisfying with plenty of options for those who are chocolate lovers, gluten-free and/or fans of yogurt, honey and nuts, which take leading roles on the menu.

8 North Broadway offers delicious, sexy food, polished service, a warm ambiance and another wonderful reason to visit Nyack.

Hours: Monday-Saturday 5:30pm and Sunday at 11:00am. Look for lunch in the fall. Reservations recommended. Private parties welcome. (845) 353-1200 • info@8northbroadway.com www.8northbroadway.com