2015-12-16 / Restaurant of the Week

WINEGASM

Winegasm has been on the Astoria scene for seven years now offering a unique dining, sipping, nibbling, and lounging experience that will keep you coming back again and again. Winegasm was closed briefly due to a fire on their street but has re-opened and is better than ever, offering a Winegasmic selection of vintages from all over the world including Chile, Argentina, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, and the United States…even from New York State.

The very cozy and “date-friendly” interior features warm, exposed brick, intimate, candle-lit tables, and a hefty communal table for mingling and meeting with friends in groups. Walls of wine surround you as does the friendly, welcoming atmosphere created by owner Dean Tomic and Darko, the amiable manager and somalier. The wine list is artfully bound in cork and provides clever, detailed explanations of each wine, all available by the glass, carafe, bottle, or even by the flight, so you can taste more than one. It’s worth pointing out that the prices are very reasonable and you don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to choose an appropriate wine as the descriptions are simple and clear. That being said, the helpful staff, led by the very knowledgeable Darko, will help you and make suggestions if you need them.

The simple, onepage menu of small and not-so-small dishes are perfectly suited for wine tasting, sharing, and lots of conversation. We sampled several of Winegasm’s most popular dishes and were impressed with the flavor, freshness, and presentation of each dish. The savory steak crostini is composed of marinated hanger steak slices on fresh Italian bread, topped with roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella for a substantial meal ($11). Mushroom crostini is topped with a trio of mushrooms and chick peas dressed in yogurt dill sauce. Next came the Tuscan fried calamari, so light and crispy, piled into a charming wire basket with jalapeno peppers and spicy sauce for dipping. My partner and I devoured the mini “pizzetta,” whose crisp crust is topped with fig butter, fresh mozzarella, fragrant arugula, and Pecorino Romano cheese for a mouth-watering combination of flavors and textures. The classic style pizzetta comes topped with cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, marinara sauce, basil and fresh mozzarella for a delectable, shareable treat ($8). A flight of wines was brought to our table to complement the food we ate. This is a great way to sample and learn about a variety of wines.

You’ll soon find your favorite and pair it with some of the bigger dishes such as Winegasm’s famous meatballs, made by hand with herbs and spices, topped with the house marinara sauce and melted mozzarella. The truffle mac and cheese is legendary by now and for good reason. The combination of cheeses and truffle oil is so decadently delicious, you might as well go whole hog and add bacon to it as most people do! Speaking of bacon, the dried prunes wrapped in smoky bacon are broiled and beautifully presented on individual toothpicks with a drizzle of balsamic reduction that makes them sweet and savory. Coconut shrimp is crunchy and light, served with spicy sauce, while the beet and goat cheese salad adds a touch of green with champagne vinaigrette. I’ll mention Winegasm’s truffle French fries here with a warning that they are addictive, so don’t blame me if you go back for more.

Finally, there are some items at Winegasm that make a date or an evening with friends a no-brainer. The cheese plate with a selection of cheeses and fruit, or the charcuterie plate with cured meats, cornichons and mustard are ideal for sharing along with a bottle of wine, sangria, or a seasonal beer. Classic cheese fondue is made with bubbling Swiss cheese, gruyere, and cheddar served with croutons, apples, and vegetables for dipping all evening long. What could be better than the chocolate fondue of melted dark chocolate served with fresh fruit, pound cake, and marshmallows ($25).

Come to Winegasm for the best in fine wines and superb dishes meant to share and enjoy in a cozy, sexy environment. They’re open seven nights a week from 5pm to 1am and until 2am on weekends. The food, wine, and service are great so visit soon and enjoy the holiday season and beyond at Winegasm.

31-86 37th Street, Astoria
718.932.3331

www.winegasmeatery.com

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