There are few things in life that I enjoy more than the following:
This is in no particular order, mind you. Every time I go to a wine bar in the city (or anywhere), I say to myself “I could make a meal out of just this” as I sample various meats and cheese on the charcuterie board.
My friend and I stopped in to Ruffian Wine Bar in the East Village, and I was immediately taken back to my trip to Barcelona this past summer. The space has 19 seats and they’re all at the bar. The plates are small, and the chefs cook everything right in front of you on what I imagine were industrial strength hot plates. Don’t quote me on that, because I’m probably very wrong. Either way, you’re right in the middle of the action, and the staff makes you feel warm and welcome.
We started out with some meat and cheese, obviously, and I have no complaints. As we were pulling hot capicola pieces from our plate, we noticed we left a perfectly shaped meat-heart. No lie, this was happenstance.
The beef tartare was probably one of our favorite dishes of the night. So tender and savory, and surprise! An egg yolk. I didn’t even see it but when I dug in, it was there adding a velvety texture. There was also nori on top, which added a nice salty crunch. I told the sommelier I could eat 3 more bowls of it and that was probably an understatement.
Next favorite dish would have to be the cheese souffle with balsamic toasts. Talk about something I could eat every day of my life. Salty, fluffy, creamy cheese souffle in a little ramekin with crusty pieces of bread drizzled with balsamic vinegar. A wonderful contrast and excellent paired with one of the reds we had.
The fingerling potatoes were delicious too – I am a potato girl. I can eat potatoes any which way, but these were buttery and creamy, served over a bed of pureed chickpeas and Muhumarra, which is a hot pepper dip usually made with aleppo and cumin.
Last but not least, dessert time! The tiniest profiteroles I have ever seen, and probably the perfect bite (at least for me). I’m not a big dessert person (no pun intended), so this little bite was perfect for me. That said, I could see some people being a bit disappointed that they were so small. To each their own. Plus, Big Gay Ice Cream is right next door if you feel like having a giant ice cream cone. Personally I’d rather fill up on meat, cheese, and beef tartare…
Check out Ruffian for it’s vibes and food – MAJOR bonus points for the playlist – really dug the music in there and the bathroom is nicer than my apartment. Seriously, check it out it’s impressive. I wanted to nap in there but I figured that would be frowned upon.
PS they have a Five 4 Five Happy Hour Menu: Five Food Items, $5 each, daily 5-7 PM
Ruffian Wine Bar
125 East 7th Street (btwn 1st ave and Ave A)