When I walked into the new wine bar called Adelina’s on Greenpoint Ave for a tasting, two things caught my eye: the back corner of the bar was lined with wine barrels labeling each wine on tap with white chalk, and seated at the bar was a row of gorgeous faces, the staff, who was there for a tasting.
“Care to join us?” Toby Buggiani, Adelina’s owner asked.
“Are you asking me to drink before noon. Of course!”
Adelina’s passed the Greenpoint restaurant test of friendly servers without a doubt. Not a surprise since Toby is such a sweetheart.
I also chatted with Josh, a customer who said he liked the former Gypsy Bar, but Adelina’s is “perfect” because he lives up the block and “to get a vibe like this [he’d] have to go to Troost,” which also has a morning coffee routine and a wine and beer menu.
Paolo sounds like a true nut in the best way – the Italian way. When Toby was a kid he remembers that his father put him and his brother in armored suits and set the armor on fire. He also created sails for people wearing roller skates in Manhattan.
Not only did Toby’s Dad help him with the artwork, he helped him partly fund the restaurant with the sale of Keith Haring pieces he recovered from the subway.
Everything at Adelina’s is made in house, including the bread and the fresh mozzarella. I was there specifically to sample the rice balls, the pizza fritta (FRIED PIZZA!) and the espresso, of course.
The ‘Fagioli al Ucelletto’ – Cannellini Beans with Sage and Tomato were nicely flavored although the fresh beans had too much bite, which often happens when you cook them in acids, like tomato; they just can’t absorb the water. I still managed to eat them all.
That being said Toby is feeling everything out and making adjustments according to the demands of his customers. As a vegetarian, he even includes meat items on the menu.
Last I tasted two pastas dishes, the Sud & the Nord. What I enjoy about Southern Italian Cuisine is the Middle Eastern influence. The flavor of fennel, the sweetness of the raisins and the surprising hint of cumin were all great in this dish. Next time I am ordering it with tuna.
While I was really looking forward to arancini, which are Sicilian rice balls, Toby said he will likely add them later and may experiment with a Roman version called Suplee.
159 Greenpoint Ave