restaurants
The Tangled Vine
434 Amsterdam Avenue
646 863 3896

The Tangled Vine is a wonderfully casual wine bar (no reservations) packed nightly with dates and neighbourhood locals coming in for the special cuvees they work so hard to get in, accompanied by a delightful selection of cheese and charcuterie such as Tome Jacquin, Tarentaise, Saint Agur, Serrano ham, chorizo Cantimpalo and Finocchiona. The dinner menu shines in the lighter dishes. A beet salad made with a grenache vinaigrette is refreshing. Pea shoots with golden raisins and sweet pine nuts are tender and succulent. Meatballs are soft and fall apart beautifully without the excess cheese some spots use to hold them together. Dishes such as the vegetable risotto (a great crunch with the sugar snap peas), a cuttlefish Fideos Negros and black feather chicken with artichoke barigoule would be excellent -- if they had just a lighter touch on butter, cream and aioli. It's a modern Dairy tale for those with a zen for richer dishes - and for this, the chef has won recognition - but maybe not for those who lean towards a lighter palate. No matter what though, don't miss the semolina berry cake, which is to die for. Service is just solicitous enough to be helpful. And an endless stream of wonderful by- the- glass organic/ biodynamic/ sustainable offerings from lesser known vineyards make this a place to visit often.

$$$

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