In an industrial corner of the far edge of Crown Heights, where the drinks are cheap and the food is fast, one establishment has dared to go the opposite direction. Promising "slow wine, scratch food," Thirstbaravin proudly stands as a French-style wine bar in a neighborhood mostly occupied by repair shops and auto-parts stores.
Operated by the owners of Thirst Wine Merchants in Fort Greene, Thirstbaravin offers a selection natural wines accompanied by a short menu of country-rustic small plates, a selection that changes seasonally. Dishes can appear at a whim, such as the Nettles & Goat Cheese Tart ($10), a savory tart packed with earthy nettles—a hearty vegetarian option where the meat is not missed.
Rabbit Rillettes ($12), the shredded meat covered in a succulent layer of fat, arrive with cornichons and pickled radishes. With a basket of fresh bread, it's the perfect dish to pair with a summer rosé.
Eggs Mayonnaise ($5) is exactly as it sounds, a hard-boiled egg draped in a thick blanket of mayo. "Have you ever made your own mayonnaise before?" one of the owners challenged. One need not have whisked oil into egg yolks to know that this housemade version would be no Hellman's. Delicious as it was, the mayonnaise would have made a better accompaniment to pommes frites.
For dessert, go for the Almond Cake ($8) if it's available. This version was served with a strawberry compote and crème fraiche. The tartness of the fruit and unsweetened cream balanced out the fragrant sweetness of the cake—a sweet note to end a night of slow wine and scratch food.
About the author: Nancy Huang, who comes to New York by way of Los Angeles, writes The Wanderist, a food and travel blog of adventures here and abroad. She loves noodles, subway maps, and word games.