Last Friday the hubby and I were invited to a 'friends and family' lunch at Jean-George's latest and third addition to his group of "ABC" restaurants. This one is named abcV (V for vegetarian); the two others are ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina. Admiring the radiant, airy space with its beautiful vintage cutlery, tableware and light fixtures (all from ABC Carpet & Home), my mind wandered to its two older siblings. I started to think about my own three daughters who look and act alike in many ways yet each has her own unique characteristics. It's like that with these three eateries. When you are dining at one, you are frequently reminded of the others (if you have been to them) but not to the point where they feel interchangeable, just related.
All three establishments have high quality food, welcoming service and a chic, sophisticated ambiance. In addition to the food, there are interesting selections of cocktails, beer and cider, wine (some great choices even in the $40-$60 range) and non-alcoholic beverages (delicious house-made juices). Like its older siblings, abcV has the same commitment to serving fresh, local, farm-to-table food, but takes it one step further with a completely vegetarian menu (not to be confused with vegan which doesn't include any fish or animal meat as well as their products like eggs and cheese).
ABC Kitchen is the largest of the three with mostly white and natural wood decorations and the food is "New American". ABC Cocina has a darker feel and the food is Latin-inspired with tapas-style shared plates. When you walk into abcV, there is a small bar with seating to the right and a take-out area to the left with a long counter to stand at between the two. During the day it has a bright, airy feel with an open, glassed-in kitchen next to the dining room. For now, abcV is only open for breakfast and lunch but will open for dinner in a few weeks. If abcV continues on its path of great food and service, like its siblings, Jean-Georges and his team are sure to have another success on their hands!
38 East 19th Street, New York, NY - 212-475-5829. Click here to make a reservation.
Since it was lunch on a weekday we decided to order wines by the glass, thinking we would have one glass each. Well, one easily led to two!
- Sparkling Rose, Johan Vineyards, Petillant Naturel, 2014, Oregon. Right before lunch I read an article on The Drunken Cyclist blog about a trip to a biodynamic-certified winery in Oregon. A photo of a beautiful, dark-pink sparkling wine caught my eye. Turns out, that same wine was one of three choices at abcV for sparking wines by the glass! It seemed like some sort of mystical sign and so I just HAD to order it! And boy, am I glad I did! It was just what I wanted, dry with a stony minerality and a perfect way to start the lunch. The grapes for this bubbly (100% pinot noir) were picked early so it has lower sugars and higher acidity - just what I like.
- Sancerre, Domaine Vincent Gaudry 'le Tournebride' 2014. Loire, France This pioneering organic and biodynamic winemaker makes some of the best tasting Sancerre in the Loire Valley. This is a crisp, clean wine with tons of character, high acidity and great minerality leads up to a very long finish.
- Sauvignon Blanc, Ehlers Estate 2015, St Helena, California We chose this wine as a comparison to the Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre. Honestly, I didn't think a Sauvignon Blanc from California would hold a candle to the Gaudry, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was delicious! Bone-dry yet much rounder than the Sancerre, it had a lively acidity and amazing freshness. With a touch of funk on the nose and earthiness on the palate, this wine was fantastic with all the vibrant flavors of the food.
- Gamay, Anthony Thevenet 'Morgon' 2014, Burgundy, France You may not think red wine would pair as well with vegetarian food but this medium-bodied, earthy wine with aromas of dark red fruits was delicious with the earthier dishes like the mushroom barley soup and the lentils.