A New Park Slope Wine Shop; Plus Local Openings and Aquavit's Crayfish Fest

| 16 Feb 2015 | 04:57

    Slippery Slope It's a South Slope bourgeois bohemian one-two punch, as yet another wine boutique opens its doors south of 9th St. in Pork Slap. Man, talk about exhilarating urban ambience at the turn of the millennium: two little wine boutiques on the same three-block stretch?and each more consistent with haute bourgeois folkways than the other. The older shop, down near 14th St., is called Slope Cellars, and the new one's called?well, actually, we'll get to what it's called in a moment. Still, Soup to Nuts will probably be on the premises as you read this, selecting a Meursault to accompany the night's winsome paella. Or perhaps a Sancerre for the accompaniment and redemption of the hake... Jig nose? As in a flat africanoid extranasal appendage? We shuddered in offense. That sure as hell wasn't very bourgeois bohemian. Or perhaps "jig nose" is an oenological phrase with which we're not familiar, referring to a nose well-attuned to detecting in a glass of pinot blanc the fragrances of rust and burnt olives. But gee, the typical African nose?that's hardly the sort of nose that extends into a glass of wine, snuffling around inside it. (As does our own massive nose, which is the product, no doubt, of some night when an ancestral Polack slattern of ours skulked barefoot from her potato shack to offer herself to the scholars of the neighboring shtetl.)

    The next morning we made a point of walking past the wine shop, in order to corroborate the former evening's scandalous impression, and found ourselves flummoxed again, blinking in the sunlight, inspecting the awning. All right, we theorized, maybe it's supposed to say Big Nose and Full Body?but the fact remains that the "B" in "Big" doesn't look anything like the "B" in "Body," which is confusing. Really?the stylized letters just don't match. That first "B" looks a lot like a "J." So who (so to speak) knows?

    Whatever the store's called, it's located at 382 7th Ave. (betw. 11th & 12th Sts., 718-369-4030), next to a tiny muffin-and-smoothie shop at which Soup to Nuts was recently accosted by a jowly freethinker in a shapeless cap, bent on disseminating angry political pamphlets.

    "But you're voting for Gore, right?" we asked immediately in our righteous Ralph Nader boosterism, habituated by now to this sort of thing, aware of the typical Park Slope bourgeois bohemian's political equivocation and ultimate Clintonism.

    "Yeah, but only because?" the freethinker replied.

    Adios, Señor Pescado. Just took him off our hook and tossed him back into the pool with the chumpfish and suckers.

    A new cafe and bar, called The Saint, has opened on the Lower East Side. Latin bands will perform at the place on Saturdays and Thursdays. The press release puts it nicely: "Rounded by this Latin soul this place became the best to enjoy your friends over the weekend, or to relax in a lonely afternoon next to a tasty cup of coffee."

    105 Stanton St. (betw. Ludlow & Essex Sts.), 646-654-1293.

    It's time to visit the excellent Quince?and in a jiffy!    As we've been told?and we couldn't say it any better ourselves: "Located in a handsome midtown Manhattan brownstone...Quince has become the ideal spot for a perfect summer lunch or dinner. The charming new garden seats 14 and is filled with potted herbs... The gracious and comfortable setting allows guests to settle into the pleasure of savoring...tempting new dishes..."

    French food with an American sensibility and an Eastern esthetic?wow. Call 582-8993 for reservations, and experience the midsummer magic.

    Quince is located at 33 W. 54th St. (betw. 5th & 6th Aves.).

    Soup to Nuts used to do its childhood crayfishing down on the bayou?before the refinery came and Ellie dropped dead of what was either benzene poisoning or syphilis, which she caught from the half-breed who came around selling dried tripe and (on the sly) humping local nutrias. Set the seines, drag 'em up at dawn after what our slobbering Cajun grandpaw called a "brekfust" of eggs, poached innards and chicory coffee, and we had ourselves a basketful of "swamp popcorn"?slithering watery insects in the bottom of the skiff, wriggling like tarnation. Hell, but if it wasn't right toothsome to snap their little heads off and eat 'em alive, shell and all, right there in the Louisiana morning?washed down maybe by a belt of corn liquor, from the jug we stuck in the aft compartment, hiding it, you see, from the missus.

    Times change, though, and now there's a more refined way to eat crayfish: by visiting the great midtown Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit between Aug. 14 and 20. That's when you'll help the restaurant celebrate its exciting Crayfish Week.

    The event isn't for several weeks yet, but we announce it now for the convenience of Soup to Nuts readers who will be eager to change their vacation plans. Aquavit chef Marcus Samuelsson will prepare the crayfish in the grand manner: boiled in a slop of dark beer, dill and onion. He will also innovate with the crayfish, in surprising ways.

    Peel-and-eat crayfish will be available in the restaurant and for takeout, for $14. There will also be a buffet, which will cost $19.99 for lunch, $25 for dinner.

    Contributor: Andrey Slivka. E-mail tips and comments to [souptonuts@nypress.com](mailto:souptonuts@nypress.com) or fax to 244-9864.