California, here we come…to Greenpoint’s Coast and Valley!
Business–slash—life partners Eric Hsu and Stephanie Watanabe have worked their way around the industry, from high-end catering (Watanabe) to cofounding the nation’s biggest e-commerce platform for wine distribution (Hsu). Their love of the state’s versatile producers and wine regions influenced them to open the kind of laid-back neighborhood wine bar that was missing from the New York scene, one that would take sippers on a “tour de California vineyards.” What they’ve conceptualized goes beyond that original promise, creating a refreshing, airy escape on the southern tip of Manhattan Avenue. Here’s a taste of what to expect from Brooklyn’s newest gem.
Fresh, bright flavors bring a little Cali sunshine to New York.
We’re not talking about avocados or organic juice (although the former will show up deeper in this write-up). The kitchen pays homage to the fresh ingredients growing in California in every course on the short menu.
Ranch-grown radishes share the plate with tangy Cara Cara oranges and a textured walnut sauce. Jammy roasted grapes from the Valley meld together with plucked tarragon and fresh ricotta. A sizable jasmine rice patty, taking on a texture reminiscent of the treasured crispy layer found at the bottom of the pot in several cultures’ cuisines, serves as a platform for seasonal highlights like snap peas and spring onions. Even the notorious sea scallop, a mollusk that can make or break Gordon Ramsay’s day, comes to the table seared to perfection with all-star vegetables (asparagus and peas) and bits of preserved lemon.
Even if you eat your way through the entire menu, (which I may or may not have done), you’ll miraculously feel light by the end of service. Is it a side effect of sitting within the similarly airy dining space? Or is it because Coast and Valley is low-key gluten-free? That’s up to you to decide.
A surprising protein steals the show.
Leave those intricate steak cuts and Fred Flintstone bones at the door: The humble chicken is ready for its moment in the spotlight. The fowl is flaunted in a trio of dishes, all encapsulating the protein’s many overlooked traits. A luscious liver mousse appetizer is bold in the salt department but subdued beautifully with a relish-y green pepper mostarda that harmonizes even better the deeper you get into it. A golden thigh and drumstick, whose crisp skin both glistens and crackles perfectly in between your teeth, lies atop a bed of gently dressed arugula and umami-laden lentils coated in honey chile and sesame oil.
But you’ll never think of poached chicken the same way after a bite into Coast and Valley’s. It simmers in ginger-kissed buttermilk, served with delicately sliced cucumber and avocado, and floats on the surface of a beautiful green goddess–inspired broth. We recommend requesting a few spoons to slurp up the remnants and—if you’re shameless enough—the recipe so you can attempt to re-create it at home.
Prepare to choose your own wine adventure.
Coast and Valley’s California-oriented wine program will leave you with a night full of beginnings, predominantly the beginning of expanding your drinking potential. You may think you’re ride-or-die for rosé or a perpetual Pinot sipper, but your servers will lead you to unanticipated varietals and—perhaps—some new favorites. They’ll describe your selection’s humble journey to your glass with great gusto, so much so that you will occasionally find yourself swooning over the winemaking progress. (Personally speaking, my natural curiosity for a 2015 Dolcetto from Northern Cali’s Idlewild Vineyards progressed to me crushing over a juicy chilled red blend, semi-ironically named Post-Flirtation, from winemaker Martha Stoumen.) If you’re worried about drinking away from your comfort zone, every last wine on the 100-plus vino list is served as a two-ounce taster, a five-ounce glass, or full bottles.