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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

DCWD Travels: DiWine, NYC

The Setup

With all of us meeting in NYC for New Years' Eve, it was our host Official Friend of DCWD MM who found us a restaurant to celebrate for dinner. So all of us (me, Official Co-Writer of DCWD CC, and Official Friends of DCWD MM, Biz, Aaron, HR Intern, Yupster, and Tantan) headed to Astoria to wine bar DiWine.

The Vibe

Astoria's sort of a weird neighborhood, so the fact that DiWine sticks out a little on its block isn't too surprising. DiWine is trendy: a slim building that's dark except for a little candlelight, with some two-tops in the front, curtained off booths in the middle by the bar, and high bar tables for groups in the back. Think Cork, but without the Pottery Barn touches.

The Food

To start, I ordered an orangesicle flip - vanilla bean infused vodka, muddled orange, egg white, simple syrup - a drink order which got me nothing but grief, but which was absolutely delicious.

As a big group, we obviously ordered a lot of small plates, each of us picking one, which got passed around quickly, so I'll give a short order of the things we ate and some quick reactions.

MM - a beef carpaccio with spinach, capers, mixed olives and shaved parmesan. Decent, but nothing to call home about. Pretty much like every carpaccio ever.

Tantan - pan-seared scallops in an asparagus cream and black truffle puree. Decent scallops, but it was the cream that was actually the winner. I used bread to mop it up just to get more. Lovely flavors.

Aaron - tuna tartare with avocado mousse. Aaron's excuse was that he likes raw fish. I can buy that. What I wouldn't recommend anyone buying? The tuna tartare. Gummy, uninspired. The low point of the meal.

HR Intern - truffled mac-and-cheese: bechamel, gruyere, wild mushrooms, toasted bread crumbs. We love truffled mac-and-cheese here at DCWD, and this matched our expectations. Great stuff.

Biz - stuffed dates with candied pecans wrapped in bacon. Oh hey, bacon-wrapped dates, ordered by the person who came up with our website name and concept. Incidentally, this dish was delicious. What I actually liked about them was that they were softer than most of the dates I've had.

Yupster - lobster quesadilla with goat cheese. This was a special and one of those dishes that raises expectations to ludicrous levels... and then disappoints you greatly. Lobster didn't have that buttery consistency that I like, the goat cheese was pretty much lost.

CC - gorgonzola fondue. Using toast triangles to dip, I think someone probably would have licked the bowl. That delicious, with that potent punch of flavor that is gorgonzola. So good that we got a second pot.

Me - foie gras with figs and port glaze. I mean, if you saw the menu, was there going to be any doubt? That being said, a classic combination with rich flavor that everyone agreed was fantastic. The sweet from the fig and the port, the savory and the melting texture of the foie... we ended up ordering a second portion as well.

Along with the two extra small plates, we also ordered two of their pizzas: a Newtown (walnuts, garlic, spinach, olive-oil infused ricotta) and a Meat-and-Potatoes (short ribs, potatoes, shallots, port wine demi). Individual people had individual concerns with these two pizzas; CC didn't know there were nuts involved with the Newtown, and was thus unpleasantly surprised, and I'm not particularly sure they added anything, and some people were just anti-potatoes-on-pizza. That being said, not bad.

The Verdict

Some bad misses, but some amazing highs and definitely a nice spot in Astoria.

DiWine on Urbanspoon

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