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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hotel Griffou & Williamsburg's 'Sparkling Wine Spot'

I've recently decided that I only want to dine at restaurants I've personally been invited to. I've been invited (more than once) to The Mermaid Inn, (whose chef is the beau of the pastry chef at Lure) but upon viewing their menu online, I'd decided that I had no desire to eat there. The Mermaid Inn is strictly a seafood only restaurant--not a stitch of "meat" on the menu (except chicken, but who orders that?). I'm sorry, but I just have to eat meat at dinner.

I was also recently invited to dine at Benoit by a co-worker of mine whose partner is Benoit's chef de cuisine. Initially, upon learning that it was the former La Côte Basque space, I was beyond thrilled to have been invited. But after a bit of research, my interest waned and I no longer wanted to eat there. I just don't do "bistros"--that's why I've never been to Balthazar and probably, never will be.

But just the other day, another co-worker of mine piqued my interest enough that today I dined at Hotel Griffou for lunch.

According to her, Hotel Griffou's "Griffou Burger" is 75% beef, 25% pork. Perhaps it was merely her enthusiastic delivery, but her culinary pitch interested me enough to make my way over to West 9th Street, to the (somewhat) unmarked restaurant and order myself a Griffou Burger.

I walked down and into the dimly lit enclave and after making a brief pause for a quick rundown of my surroundings, decidedly strode towards the bar. I pulled up one of the three available bar stools (it was happy hour) and decided the space in front of me was too small for proper dining. I asked the maître d' if she'd be able seat me at a table for lunch, to which she readily had her hostess precede me to "table ten."

I followed the hostess through a short maze of halls and entryways before finally arriving at what I believed to be "The Library." (Griffou has multiple "theme rooms")

the view from table ten, seat two

My server was both thoroughly pleasant and thoroughly knowledgeable about the wine selections. I'd told her I was somewhat betwixt and between over which wine to choose and she recommended the rosé cava, followed by a white (specially picked to pair with my burger). Before I was through with my first glass, my burger arrived.

Removing the top half of the bun, I sliced into my first meaty morsel and was pleased enough, yet: nothing extraordinary. There was a distinct, almost smoky taste to the meat, but the little grandeur that was there faded more and more with each passing bite. (I guess I had tried to convince myself it was better than it actually was) The fries were nothing special and in fact, weren't even good. Surprisingly though, after finishing the burger (sans the top bun) and about a third of the fries, I was completely stuffed and couldn't eat another bite. (perhaps the meat was, at least, of good quality)

My next stop that evening was at De Wine Spot, in Williamsburg, to pay a visit to an old friend of mine who I hadn't seen in quite some time. I'd never been to De Wine Spot before and was thrilled upon discovering two particular bottles I'd never even known to exist! The first bottle was a Casal Garcia, Vinho Verde, Rosé.

Regular readers of my blog will know that David is a big fan of Casal Garcia. But I don't think either of us had known (or even imagined) that they also make a rosé wine. (note: vinho verde is a sparkling wine and I love sparkling rosé) The second bottle I'd discovered was Riondo, 'Pink,' Spago Argento (prosecco).

I've had Riondo's white prosecco before, but never before had I had their rosé prosecco. Appeasingly, the rosé was just as remarkable as their white: a good dose of yeastiness and some aged fruits as well. Irresistible at $12, we popped open a bottle and played French dominoes until closing time.
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