Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Winegasm - What's in a Silly Name?

Joey and I had the fun experience of trying out the new Broadway wine bar, Winegasm. And although it won't make your toes curl, like it's silly name implies, it will keep you coming back for more.

The coolest part about Winegasm is its contemporary decor with hints of comfort. It's a mix of modern and traditional--a beautiful dark wood wine rack lines an entire wall (modern) while a serious-looking communal table takes over the center of the room (traditional). The lighting is dim and the vibe is sexy--you can't help but feel completely removed from your surroundings. Are you really still between Broadway and 31st Avenue? You almost have to pinch yourself to make sure because Winegasm fully seduces your senses, taking you far from Astoria and into the Mediterranean, the Balkans, South America, Eastern Europe and even Oceania.

Most of the wine comes from France but you can find a decent selection of Italian, Spanish and even Croatian vinos--no coincidence there, given that this place is owned by Croats. Joey chose the Malbec "Terra Rosa" Mendoza '04 ($9) from Argentina and I went for the sweet and local Wolffer Rose '07 ($10) from the North Fork of Long Island. I loved mine because it was just as sweet as I like it--for me the sweeter the better. I like my wine almost syrupy and I'd definitely get this again for that reason. Joey liked her wine but didn't love it. In her own words: "I found the wine, OK, but it didn't live up to the name. Not enough by the glass selection and not stored at the perfect temp nor decanted, and not amazing. No palate cleansers out."

We got some snacks to nosh on too, which overall were very good. Sticking to non-meat dishes was a smart choice, especially because it enhanced the taste of the wine (at least mine). The best thing we ordered was the Goat Cheese and Cherry Tomato Crostini ($4). It was presented on crunchy flat bread, which looked more like a cracker than bread but that was OK with us. The combination of the cheese and the tomato created a sweet spread that we both devoured. We ended up getting two helpings--the second not by choice but because it replaced a not so good gazpacho, which we voiced our opinion about.

In addition to the goat cheese crostini, we also ordered a selection of cheeses, which were presented on a lovely platter with grapes and a bright pink edible flower. Really fun presentation and really yummy. The cheeses included a sharp Great Hill Blue ($5) from Massachusetts, a nutty Comte from France ($6) and a fruity Talegio from Italy ($6). We liked them all but thought that the portion could've been bigger.

The only dish, which I did not like was their so-called gazpacho. It wasn't gazpacho at all but some sort of green puree, which tasted like grass. Simply put, it was inedible and I wasn't afraid to say so. The waitstaff took it well and were so gracious that as mentioned above, we got another goat cheese and tomato crostini and the gazpacho was taken off the bill. Thanks Winegasm!

In terms of the service as Joey says "it was erratic and excessive." We had about 4 different servers over a three hour period. Some of them were knowledgeable and had great recommendations and others were not so stellar. It took a very long time for us to get our check and then it took extra long to get the final bill with Joey's credit card. Given that Winegasm is still so new, these things can be forgiven and we hope that they improve in the future.

We ended up having a great time at this sweet little wine shop and will definitely be hitting it up again. Something that caught my eye were their Friday night wine tastings. Give them a call to make a reservation or to inquire about pricing.

Winegasm - 31-86 37th Street, Astoria, NY 11103. 718.932.3331.


Harlan said...

Thanks for the comprehensive review! For malbecs, I recommend the one carried by Sparrow and Oleput.

Jennifer said...

I love winegasm and try to stop by every weekend - the owners are great at making people feel welcome. I'm sure the initial growing pains will be worked out as they find their footing. We're thrilled to have them in the neighborhood - and I believe they now offer brunch too!

Thanks for posting them!

AT said...

Broadway has a wine bar?? I've been gone how long exactly? So weird.

Winegasm said...

Hi Joey and Judith,

From the entire Winegasm team we would like to thank you for the review!!! We know we still have a few kinks to work out and are working on making it a flawless experience - we are definitely taking your comments into consideration :)) We put a lot of love into this place and hope that it becomes a great location for everyone to enjoy wine, food and socialize.

Please stop by and we will buy you guys a glass of wine on the house :)


Winegasm said...

PS. We have a couple of events coming up if you would like to stop by ... Wine tastings on Thursdays ... Drink & Learn Brunches on Saturdays and World Night Fridays -- starting with Russian Night on May 16th

Fooditka said...

This sounds wonderful Winegasm! We'll take you up on your wine offer and I will call you later this week to inquire about your tastings. I might have a group that would like to attend.


mia said...

yeah -- I second the weird service. At least 3 people attending who don't know what the other 2 are doing. But the smoked salmon sandwich more than makes up for it.

Winegasm said...

Sounds great Foodista :) Please call Laris and he will set everything up for you! 646-775-5935

AZIZAH said...

I've been to Winegasm several times, and always feel as though I have just walked into an old friends home. The Owners have truly created something very special. The food is AMAZING!!! You have to try the Smoked Salmon w/capers and Watercress! (I don't even like salmon and I've fallen in love with this!) The Soca sampler is also a smart move! Make sure to ask Dean about his Wine suggestions....... He has an abyss of knowledge. I always leave learning something new about a grape from some far off place.( Croatian Wine!!!) You can't go there and not have a good time! ;-)

Hopefully I'll see you there!

penelope said...

I just discovered winegasm and the setting, friendly staff, food and wine are great. The croquemonsieur the crab cakes and the steak plus the dips are to die for. I will return again. very manhattan

Anonymous said...

Red wine + unknown foods? what you think?

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