Tucked into a sleepy corner of Carroll Gardens is the storefront of Crave, a former restaurant-turned-catering company that reopened late last year as a wine bar. The intimate bar has carved out a niche as the neighborhood's perfect pre- or post-dinner spot, offering affordable snacks and wines from 6 p.m. until late.
If you're looking for something light, start with the Dehydrated Ancho Chili Peanuts ($1), by far the best deal on the menu. Slightly sweetened with a light coating of spice, these crunchy little bites are highly addictive.
The Rosemary, White Truffle and Parmesan Popcorn ($3.50) is another solid appetizer. The fragrant scent of rosemary and truffle oil makes for one irresistible snack, but we're happy to report that the popcorn was warm, fluffy and not oily in the slightest.
Cheeses are offered individually at $4 each and served with a sweet-tart Dinosaur Plum Marmalade that's good enough to eat on its own. The marmalade makes for a wonderful complement to the Epoisses, the pungent "king of all cheeses" that is a must-get for any fromage fan. A slice of Sole Gran Queso from Wisconsin dairy Roth Kase was also delicious, but couldn't hold its own against the silky Epoisses.
A cheese plate wouldn't be complete without an accompanying Cured Meat Board ($12) of chorizo from Spain, prosciutto from Canada, speck from Italy, and pick salami from Hungary. A bit of whole grain mustard adds a bit of interest to the plate, and the salty meats pair especially well with the house red wine—which is only $5 during happy hour, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. With its convenient location across the street from the beloved Lucali's, Crave's simple eats and solid wines can make the wait for pizza more than worthwhile.
Crave Wine Bar
570 Henry Street, New York NY 11231 (map)
About the author: Nancy Huang, who comes to New York by way of Los Angeles, writes The Wanderkind, a food and travel blog of adventures here and abroad. She loves noodles, subway maps, and word games.