Friday, November 12, 2010
Tonight was one of those nights when after a long and stressful week at work, I was meant to meet up with a couple of girlfriends for drinks and nibbles Uptown and suggested we go to High Life, a comfy and well tried/tested place for us. But KM wanted to try something new and a quick search on nymag.com prompted us to give Cava, a wine bar on 80th & Amsterdam, a try. When we got there we found out it was closed for a private party but another drinking establishment caught our eyes pretty much immediately with the words "wine restaurant" prominently displayed on the awning. You can't really go wrong with these two words combined together.
So that's how we ended up stumbling completely by chance upon Tolani - the aforementioned wine restaurant - which only opened barely a month ago. And boy were we not disappointed. Beautiful setting in a very New York wine bar kind of way - cozy and warm with exposed brick walls and rustic wood details, candle lights dancing throughout the dining room, cool music but not too loud, plush and comfy leather seats at the bar and an enticing and eclectic menu with a paired down but carefully edited wine list. It was love at first sight (or sip I guess) and we knew straight away that we would be back, over and over again. We shared a bread basket, cold meats and cheeses and I also had a great zucchini and white anchovies salad - but next time, when I am hungrier, I will give the amazing sounding peri peri grilled shrimps on a bed of saffron rice a try, which is pretty much all my favourite things ever, combined into one dish.
The service was discreet but attentive and friendly and the South African manager giving us an extra glass of wine (we were on our 3rd bottle by then so I guess he knew we were going to be good customers!) and a complimentary "out of this world, better than sex" bread and butter pudding type dessert sealed the deal.