When I previous visited King Mother—a Ditmas Park wine bar and restaurant that opened in December, 2019—the term “killer” appeared additional than at the time on the single-web page wine list, alongside with phrases these types of as “primo celebration gasoline,” “super luscious,” “dope ass,” and “adult juice box vibez.” The cynics among the us shudder. But what can I say? The 2018 natural and organic Muscadet I drank did have “all the oceanic, mineral, toasty, tart, yummy things” I needed, and I have thought of it lovingly, and longingly, many instances since. I have also been haunted by a glass I neglected to consider, a 2020 Txakolina, from the Basque region, explained as “simply the most refreshing white wine in the entire world.” I believe it! I’ll be back.
If King Mother’s dope-ass vibes are a bit of an overcorrection to the pretension and stuffiness that have reigned around the realm of wine for hundreds of many years, I’ll consider them: the barrier to entry should be accurately as very low as it is below, the place the food stuff is just as high quality-nevertheless-available as the beverages. The normal preparations of salumi and cheeses (quite a few sourced from Vermont) with honey and preserves are rounded out by exceptional dwelling-designed allium focaccia a reliable chicken schnitzel, in equally sandwich and entrée form, with Bulldog tonkatsu sauce and a crisp, spicy, creamy panino, encasing smears of smoked ricotta, ’nduja, and pickled shallot, wilting curls of arugula straying over and above its edges.
Very last winter, when I ordered King Mother for shipping and delivery, I was remarkably moved by the “big environmentally friendly salad,” which exceeded my expectations for its manifest simplicity: leaves of little gem, crunchy and sweet, with wisps of dill and a superbly emulsified, balanced lemon vinaigrette. Soon after months of grudgingly washing and drying lettuce myself, of vigorously whisking olive oil and salt with vinegar or citrus juice, and nonetheless somehow never ever attaining the alchemy I craved, it felt like bliss to have someone else nail it for me. Sitting at just one of King Mother’s sidewalk tables on an early, sunny spring night and slicing into a quarter of a spatchcocked, buttermilk-brined, perfectly roasted Amish chicken—nestled with blanched rainbow Swiss chard, roasted mushrooms, and an herb-heavy household-designed ranch—was even improved.
At Winona’s, yet another wine bar and restaurant (moreover café by day), on the northernmost edge of Mattress-Stuy, the wine list, which spans a entire 5 and a fifty percent internet pages and involves a dozen-odd magnums, is entirely totally free of description. Start out with a blended consume from the attractive lineup of cocktails—a sleek twist on a dirty Martini is made with equally olive-oil-washed gin and a glug of Castelvetrano olive oil—as liquid courage to inquire for a recommendation. On a recent evening, a imprecise request—“Something weird?”—was achieved with gusto. “Are you fearful of a tiny sugar?” the sommelier asked, with a trace of mischief. “It’s definitely very well built-in. Does it scare you?” Au contraire: the gentle risk was thrilling, and the wine, a pét-nat rosé, proved not only delicious—tutti-frutti yet yeasty and tart, effervescent, grownup-popsicle vibes—but also really lovely, a translucent shade of raspberry that caught the eye of the couple at the neighboring table, who pointed at it inquisitively as they positioned their buy.
Although the food items menu veers ambitious, the most effective dishes are the most straightforward. A flawless Scotch egg—half of the pair who opened the area is British—is served with sharp mustard and cornichons. Grilled prawns, their funky, creamy heads intact, are propped up by shiny strips of smoked sweet pepper and torn olives and completed with flat-leaf parsley. A Spanish tortilla’s strong, browned edges belie its silky, supple interior—as unassuming and unanticipated as Winona’s itself, whose wooden-panelled façade is simple to miss on a setting up that the moment housed an industrial-refrigerator supplier, for which it nevertheless bears an tremendous sign: “Old Reliable Retail store Fixtures.” (King Mother dishes $8-$22. Winona’s dishes $10-$29.) ♦