Laura Maniec, one of few female Master Sommeliers, recently opened Corkbuzz, a wine bar and educational center. Along with an extensive wine list, Corkbuzz also offers small share plates from chef Hayan Yi that include lamb ragout, cavatelli with Brussels sprouts and pecorino, and crispy Kumamoto oysters. Some readers think the decor is too feminine, while others could care less. Decor aside and on to more important matters, what do patrons think of the food and wine?
The Great (and informative) News: One Yelper leaves a rave review: "Corkbuzz is a brand new wine bar/restaurant just around the corner from Union Sq. The moment you walk in you feel immediately at home. With an excellent staff and extensive wine selection, its a perfect place to grab a nice glass and treat yourself to a fabulous dish (The lamb ragout is particularly heavenly). The dishes are small and meant to be shared, made with superb ingredients that they buy at the green market held at Union Sq. I sat at the bar and ended up talking to one of the owners, Laura, who is a Master Sommelier and helped me pair each of of my dishes to the perfect glass of wine. The bar houses a 2,000 bottle wine room and has a large space in the back meant for private parties and wine education courses. The decor is also quite special, with a wine motif, the vertical glass rack behind the bar and the soft metal mesh panels along the walls emit a shimmering glow all around. All in all, a great bar in a great location perfectly suited for all manners of gatherings." [Yelp]
More Great News: One commenter on foursquare said:"One of the best wine lists in NYC and the food is also delicious!" [Foursquare]
The Bad News: A Yelper had an unfortunate experience at Corkbuzz and claimed they would never be back:"I was very disappointed with my experience at Corkbuzz. When you first walk in there's the bar and high bar tables. In the back there are three long communal tables. My party and I were seated at one of the big communal tables. The hostess asked us to move TWICE to make room at the table for other parties. We ended up seated at one of the high bar tables. They really should seat people more strategically at these communal tables instead of repeatedly asking people to move. What makes it worse, is that the last communal table was COMPLETELY empty from when we arrived until we left two hours later. Though the food was delicious, the portions were extremely small. We each got three dishes each and spent about $70 (including one glass of wine each) each and left STARVING! I don't mind spending a lot for good food as long as I'm not still hungry when I leave. To top it off, they were rushing us out and clearly wanted the table for another group. We will not be going back." Laura Maniec herself apologized to the disgruntled patron and offered to make it up to them in the future. [Yelp]
The Good News: An Eater commenter stood up for Corkbuzz and said: "I have been to the restaurant, and not only is it beautiful, the food is ridiculously good. Every single thing that came out of the kitchen was prepared perfectly. The staff is not by any means all female. The hospitality at the restaurant was a breath of fresh air. Before you start bashing it, I recommend you go. Laura came by our table and she was delightful." [Eater Comments]
Even More Good News: From Fork In The Road: "The wine selection is top-notch, with tons of smaller producers we didn't know. We sampled a few of the plates, including the fried Kumamoto oysters with ponzu sauce, paparedelle and duck ragout, seafood salad, and Brussels sprouts with pecorino, most of which were decent, but the highlight of our meal was definitely the bone marrow. Now, this isn't just any bone marrow. The bone is sliced in half and the marrow itself is combined with Bayley Hazen blue cheese and bruléed on top, adding a bit of texture to the spreadable tissue. Scoop up the inside and slather it atop the raisin-studded bread, enjoying the slightly funky animalistic flavor. A small mound of celery-and-parsley salad sits to the side, helping cut the richness. It's one of the more innovative flavor pairings we've come across with bone marrow dishes, robust and intense (not for the faint of palate), but all around delicious." [Fork In The Road]
The Kelly Choi Endorsement: The quasi TV personality is a fan tweeting: "It's not just wine here, but food rocks too!" while tweeting photos of the bone marrow and the lamb. [Twitter]
The Great News: Food & Wine's Kate Krader checks in early to weigh in: "...the food there, or at the long bar, from chef Hayn Yi (who has cooked at Le Bernardin, among other places), is lovely. I was very happy with the colorful market pickles and well-spiced lamb ragout with flatbreads; the chocolate soufflé with salted caramel was killer. Now for the wine: There are some three dozen wines by the glass, from 2010 Greek Sauvignon Blanc to ’89 Margaux, plus Lustau sherry. Maniec is also going to offer fun programs like “cellar grab” from the 250-bottle list (pay a certain amount of money, walk into the cellar and grab)." [F&W]