For those of you that have never restaurant been to the Inwood area of Manhattan, you are missing out on a firsthand peek of the gentrification process. The area is still predominately Dominican, but with the economic situation in the lower part of the city still troubled, many are moving further uptown. As the demographic continues to change, the store selections are changing as well.
In a previous post and in several tweets, I mentioned the opening of some new restaurants and particularly winebars. I’ve taken the time to visit a few of these places to get a feel for it; some have been surprisingly good while others fell short. Let’s have a look.
Beans and Vines
What this establishment doesn’t have in size, it makes up for in its food and wine. The space only seats about 20 people tops. The space is living room comfortable with lots of masculine undertones. The food is moderately priced and could be described as upscale Hispanic cuisine. They have a marvelous fruit and cheese plate, perfect for a wine tasting. Their dishes are generally flavorful and plentiful; you definitely get your moneys worth here.
It is a coffeehouse / wine bar, which I think a bit odd, but somehow they manage to make it work. On the whole, their wine selections are condensed but well thought out. According to the manager, they rotate out wines periodically, and his supplier gets his hands on some lesser know wine producers. In speaking with him, it was clear he had a good understanding of what he was selling, but for certain, he was no sommelier by trade. Wines by the glass run from $7 to $16, a wide range by any standard.
The major highlight at Beans and Vines is their desserts. Where so many neighborhood establishments fail, they truly excel at producing a quality dessert. The caramel sauce alone is to die for. The chef does a really great job on the food preparation and presentation.