Confession: We're just as guilty as any other food writers of fawning over splashy restaurant openings. The corn-husk this and the uni-topped that. And the "you can't get a reservation until April" of it all.
This time, let's focus on a solid little spot where you'll want to curl up with a glass of wine and a few snacks. That, even though it's new, feels like it's never not been there—and that you can just wander into when the mood strikes. Such is the case with June, a new natural wine bar that just opened in Cobble Hill.
The team behind it knows a thing or two about neighborhood gems: One owner is Tom Kearney, whose The Farm on Adderley has been a Cortelyou Road staple (that backyard! that burger!) since it opened nine years ago. And Henry Rich is a partner at nearby Italian charmer Rucola. They've partnered with wine consultant Nick Gorevic to open a wine bar that feels right at home on Court Street.
Stroll inside and you'll see nods to turn-of-the-century Paris: A central arch, flanked by orbs of light, runs through the middle of the low ceiling, while fanned-out glass partitions separate roomy curved bloodred booths. Of course, there's also a snug marble bar with wineglasses hanging overhead. "We wanted to bring back some lost forms, have a little bit of mystery, adventure and romance," Kearney says.
Phillippe Tessier Cour-Cheverny; pork meatballs
Said adventure continues with the wine list: All of the mostly European vintages are natural, which means they're made with minimal chemical and technological interference. "Most commercial wines don't taste as alive," Kearney explains. "These natural winemakers are more provocative and pushing the envelope."
He adds, "Plus, it's nice to know they don't have all that other stuff in there. It's also sort of like, if I'm given the choice between a regular cabbage and an organic cabbage, why wouldn't I choose the organic one?"
Sip a glass of Philippe Tessier's Cour-Cheverny ($9 a glass) alongside lovely little snacks from the kitchen (four dishes make a decent-size meal for two—a bargain in these parts considering most are under $10). Thoughtful touches make the dishes more ambitious than the standard wine bar charcuterie platter. A few play to Kearney's Indian background, such as a thin, roti-like acorn squash flatbread slicked with harissa butter ($5). Or, say, the nigella seeds scattered in the blanket of polenta on which mini pork meatballs braised in a trotter-laced tomato sauce ($10) are nestled.
The gnocchi that come with a rainbow of slow-roasted carrots ($8) are the best we've had in a while: The pâte à choux-like pillows never once touch boiling water, cooked instead on the plancha for a nicely charred outside and a creamy interior. Likewise, we couldn't stop dipping everything on the table into the sheep's milk yogurt served with quick-cured Tokyo turnips tossed with turmeric ($6).
We're not saying you won't find us perched on an uncomfortable bar stool at one of the hot new restaurants. But if we were to clear a spot on our busy dining calendar, it would likely be for June.
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