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[Photographs: Howard Walfish]

I tend to drink beer on its own, but wine with food, which is why wine bars appeal to me so much—that particular blend of restaurant and bar that encourages sampling from small plates. I stopped by Park Slope's Brookvin to sample their vegetarian wares.

Although the menu is unsurprisingly cheese-centric, there are some other options available. The spinach salad ($8) is made with local spinach, radishes, and chives. There's not a lot of food on the plate, but the buttermilk dressing is so good it makes the salad worth ordering.

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The charred radicchio tartine is also good, but not worth the $9 it usually goes for. Luckily if you visit Brookvin during Happy Hour (5pm-7pm) the tartine's are only $5, a much more reasonable price. The bitted flavor of the radicchio got lost between the sweetness of the onion jam and the saltiness of the melted taleggio cheese, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Those two aggressive flavors complement each other perfectly, especially atop the crusty bread.

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Macaroni and cheese ($9) has become de rigueur on many bar menus, and Brookvin's is a pretty good one, made with Vermont cheddar. It's cooked in a shallow ramekin, which means that there's more surface area to form the crusty top -- and everyone knows that the crusty top is the best part of any mac & cheese.

Brookvin may not be Park Slope's greatest restaurant, but it's a good place to sit back and relax. Along with the food there is, of course, wine, and during Happy Hour you can get $5 glasses to complement the food you're eating. I know it's supposed to be the other way around, but I can't help thinking of food first, and the wine second.

Brookvin

381 7th Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11215 (map)
718-768-9463
brookvin.com

About the author: Howard Walfish is a Virginia native who has been living in New York since 2003. He is, in fact, a vegetarian, and is the co-founder of Eat to Blog and the creator of BrooklynVegetarian.

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