Who doesn’t love a wide selection of wine plus little bites? Everyone likes variety. There seems to be a popular trend of wine bars popping up all over the city. Particularly in Hell’s Kitchen area. I can name three off the top of my head. Add a fourth – Medi wine bar. Open for just two weeks, Cookie Monster and I stopped in on a Saturday night.
The wine bar is supposed to be Mediterranean inspired tapas – so it’s definitely an interesting departure from your classic Italian or Spanish. The decor is suited to fit the food (think Greek islands wannabe). We wanted to dine more informally so chose two seats at the bar rather than the table we were given.
Since we had a relatively large and late lunch we decided to share a bunch of bar bites and one main dish. We started with the Greek salad.
Classically prepared salad of salty crumbly feta, sweet grape tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, olives and raw onions. All of this was tossed in some fruity olive oil to bring out the freshness of each component. The salad gave us exactly what we were looking for, some freshness and brightness.
Served alongside the salad was the creamy risotto balls.
Those plump fried risotto balls encased a wonderfully cheesy and creamy center. The texture of the crunchy outside contrasted against the softer middle was lovely. I normally don’t love risotto balls but these were very good.
My request was the gambas (large prawns) in sea salt and lemon juice.
They were meaty and tasted of the sea. I thought the simple preparation was wonderful – lemon juice added a nice tang. I loved that the prawns are served head on as, and this may gross many out, I love to suck the inside of the head before I dive into the meatier parts of the prawn. (This method of enjoying the head is not uncommon in Spain – just saying )
For the main course, we shared the whole grilled sea bream.
The sea bream was well cooked and again simply prepared. The bartender was nice enough to even filet the fish for us.
I thought Medi was quite delicious. As one would expect in the Mediterranean, the food reflected simple fresh ingredients and each were allowed to shine rather than muddling them with a whole bunch of other ingredients and fuss. Given that this place has only been open two weeks, we were impressed by the quality of the food. We both have a feeling this place will be a hit with the neighborhood.
Medi Wine Bar, 811 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY