A couple of weeks ago when I was in New York, I went to see to see Jenny Allen's one woman show, I Was Sick and then I Got Better in the East Village. I predict this will return for a longer run -- it was terrific: smart, poignant and funny.
Knowing the theater was in the East village on 4th street, I remembered there was a wine bar one block over that I really wanted to try, Degustation. In August, I had actually eaten at their sister restaurant, Harvest Supper, in New Canaan and was so impressed with the stellar food that I was thrilled to be able to slip in to their New York wine bar that night.
I used to live in the East village, and still have great affection for that neighborhood. Yes, of course it has changed but I was happy to be strolling there again, enjoying the wonderful vibrancy on the street.
Degustation is the perfect example of how the neighborhood has been upgraded. Discretely tucked behind an elegant but unassuming exterior, you could actually pass right by the place. It actually is 2 restaurants at one address on East 5th street, although each is completely separate once you're inside. (The other is the well regarded sushi Jewel Bako -- but I must save that for another post).
Degustation seats only 21 people, all at a sushi style bar:
There, you get to see the young Spanish/American chef, Wesley Genovart, deftly juggling pans and executing elegant surprising small tapas plates right in front of you.
The artful, dark lighting and stone walls make for a very cozy spot.
The service is excellent with very well informed staff expertly steering you to wines and dishes to suit your tastes.
We had an amazing broccoli rabe with pineapple foam -- not at all overwrought, just a surprising and magical combo of flavors.
Other standout plates:
Perfectly tender and grilled octopus with avocado:
A bright, fresh crudo:
A fantastic cheese plate with side by side sweet pairings including a golden chunk of honey comb:
I'm not overlooking the wine...we tasted a white and a red -- and I know this is lame, but I was so busy enjoying my meal that I didn't write down the names of either winery...but I can attest that they were exactly in tune to our specific requests and reasonable.
This is a very special spot that is so professionally run and the quality of the cuisine and wine makes it shine. Wish we had one of these intimate perfect spots in Los Angeles.
239 E 5th St
New York, NY 10003-8507