Terroir Trial

terroir-tribeca1-by-tribeca-citizenYou know those days where all you really want to do is sit home and read Balzac in French, but duty insists that you go have a glass of wine? Welcome to my world.

terroir-tribeca-glass-by-tribeca-citizenterroir-tribeca-menu-by-tribeca-citizenI just popped over to Terroir Tribeca on day 2, and I was impressed. I’ve never been to the original East Village outpost of Terroir, but I recognize the shtick from Terroir’s not-for-the-epileptic website, wineisterroir.com. The idea is that wine doesn’t have to be pretentious, but how can you be serious about wine without being pretentious? They say it’s an “elitist wine bar for everyone,” which is a tough line to walk. If there are times that Terroir Tribeca feels forced—like when Esquire being butch—well, I was looking at it awfully closely.

Of course, you have no idea what I’m talking about; let’s blame the wine and start from the top. Taking over the space next to the Harrison, the Terroir guys (who also run the East Village restaurant Hearth) have created a handsome wine bar that’s clearly aimed at making men comfortable: bare brick, old wood,  metal stools. The Velvet Underground plays in the background. And it’s very dark. And then they’ve steeped the whole thing in attitude: The three-ring metal binder holding the menu also includes rants about the Pope and street fairs (fish in a barrel?), a paean to Jane Jacobs, a list of reasons Vladimir Putin needs a glass of wine, and an appreciation of Malcolm McLaren (no, he did not invent the stroller). It takes the piss out of being a wine bar, though having t’s etched into the glasses pours a bit of the piss right back in. And referring to wine as “grape juice” bugs me a bit, but it’s far better than acting like wine is the blood of the gods.

The wines seem fairly priced, and before 6 p.m., many are just $6 per glass (and sherry is free). I’ll have to go back and try the food (if not the “funky beef balls”); the menu is posted here or you can click to enlarge my photo and hope for the best. Ultimately, what I liked most was the professionalism, which is certainly reminiscent of Hearth. The service is friendly but all business, and when the business is serving me, that’s exactly how I like it.




  1. thanks for making me laugh …… I might just try out this place and see how accurately you described it all

  2. Fantastic opening sentence! Man, the meatball crazy is official methinks…

  3. Went there twice in a week, love it. Better than the EV one I think. Barolo was the best but the list is good. Must get the lamb sausage w sage and the oxtail risotto balls.

  4. Wine literally, inarguably is grape juice. How could this bug anyone? I guess I’d have to see the context.