Eli Zabar's daytime takeaway shop Eli's Essentials, which opened a couple of months ago, debuts its adjacent wine bar tonight on the Upper East Side. During the day the ground floor will still be a cafe, but at night now the retail section goes dark, and the attached space serves and small plates from its open kitchen. An upstairs mezzanine also debuts tonight, where there's more seating at leather banquettes and zinc tables.
Though Eli Zabar is an icon of the city's grocery scene, the man also knows his wine, so a bar like this makes sense for him. Though the list here is pared down in comparison to the massive list at Zabar's five-month-old Upper East Side restaurant, Eli's Table, it still has plenty of bottles and glasses to choose from. It's been pulled together by a capable wine team, which includes wine director Randall Restiano, who also oversees the wine program at Eli's Table, and L'Arpege vet Kilian Robin. On the food side of things, chefs Michael Gutowski (formerly of Wallflower) and John Carr are serving a menu of seasonal small plates, including morel toast, snap pea salad, and roasted lamb sliders.