I rarely find myself in the far stretches of Hell's Kitchen, but the next time I do, I will stop in for a snack and a glass of wine at Ardesia Wine Bar. Ardesia is the type of place I wish existed in every neighborhood in Manhattan, offering a good wine and beer list that should please any drinker, good food, friendly service, comfortable surroundings, and nice value. While Ardesia sways closer to wine bar than most of the other recently-opened restaurant/wine bar hybrids, its food offerings, especially it's house-made charcuterie, should not be ignored. To celebrate the first glimpse of warm weather last week, The Significant Eater and I ventured over to Ardesia after to take advantage of its 5-7pm happy hour, which offers $6 glasses of wine. We also order a few small plates. Here is what we ate:
Polenta with Duck Egg, Duck Prosciutto, and Taleggio: I would return to Ardesia for this dish alone, and it's something I'll likely try to make for myself in the near future. The polenta, which given its quality, I am certain is sourced from Anson Mills, actually tastes of corn and has a great creamy texture; it's not the usual mush that most restaurants serve. I could have eaten a bowl of the polenta by itself, but the duck egg and prosciutto put this dish over the top. The only thing I that could have been omitted is the Taleggio cheese. As much I love a good stinky cheese, I found it overpowering here and an unwelcome distraction from the rest of the plate.
Weisswurst: This white sausage proves that Ardesia can walk the walk when it comes to its house-made charcuterie. What I loved is that the mildly flavored sausage is perfectly light; served with Sullivan Street bread, sauerkraut, and mustard, I immediately wanted to run off to Central Park with the plate and my wine and have a picnic.
Pork Belly Bites with Apple Salad: There wasn't much too this dish, but that doesn't mean it wasn't delicious. Crispy, bite-size chunks of pork paired very nicely with the sweet-and-sour apple salad.
Eleventh Avenue isn't an easy schlep for most New Yorkers, but Ardesia is certainly worth the trip if you find yourself in the neighborhood.
Ardesia Wine Bar
510 West 52nd St. (between 10th and 11th)
New York, NY