Recently I walked past and saw that CinaMoon had closed and the signage had changed to an eighties-tastic ‘Wine & Dine’. The new restaurant was yet to open but as I peered through the window a guy came out and introduced himself as Alex. I asked him what kind of food it was going to be. “Modern American” he said, adding “we’re going to have the best food in Greenpoint”.
Last week I received a message from Alex saying the restaurant had opened, and inviting Greenpointers to swing by and try it out. I arrange to visit for dinner on Tuesday evening with Kim, our fearless news editor.
Brooklyn 664 Wine & Dine is long and thin, with a bar at the back. Laminate prints of NYC scenes adorn the walls and there is no remaining trace of CinaMoon’s red decor. Shortly after we arrive we are joined by Alex and his roommate (both live above the restaurant) and their lady friend. It emerges that Alex is head bartender, and he got the job after seeing an ad in the window.
When I ask who the owners are he motions to two Polish men sitting at the bar, saying that they don’t have good English and prefer to stay out of the limelight. Fair enough.
We order drinks and our host tells us that he created the cocktail menu with the help of his roommate, experimenting in their kitchen upstairs. He admits that he doesn’t have a mixology background but that his interest in drinks was sparked by a visit to Angel’s Share in the East Village. He then boldly declares that he serves the best cocktails in Greenpoint. His unabashed self confidence is impressive and rather endearing. For someone with so little experience creating cocktails, his drinks could be worse but they are possibly not worthy of the $11-$14 price tag that has been bestowed upon them.
Alex orders a some small plates for the five of us to share, and the dishes come out staggered by category. ‘Vegetables’ are up first. Stuffed cabbage leaves give a nod to classic Polish cuisine, a jicama salad with cucumber and herbs is fresh and zesty, and a plate of three bite-sized cauliflower ‘pancakes’ are well seasoned and tasty, though three between the five of us sadly don’t go far.
The fish course brings a bowl of plump mussels in a coconut lime broth, and a little dish of harissa-grilled octopus with a lovely flavor. A whole baked white fish (I suspect it was sea bass but forgot to ask) is nicely cooked but is draped over a slightly tired heap of corn and green beans. A rack of lamb comes decorated with arugula and sits atop a slick of creamed cauliflower. I don’t try this but I imagine it must be good as my dining companions take the leftovers to go.
Towards the end of the evening I walk over to introduce myself to the owners at the bar. “This is your restaurant…?” I say. “No”, says one of the men, looking blank. “I’m sorry, it’s not”.
I return to the table, confused, and mention this to our host. “Oh…”, he says, a little flustered. “Well I don’t know who they are but I’ve been giving them free drinks all week”.
So there you have it: CinaMoon is no longer; Wine & Dine has taken its place. And if you sit at the bar for long enough the bartender might mistake you for his boss and ply you with complementary drinks.
Brooklyn 664 Wine & Dine is at 664 Manhattan avenue (between Nassau and Norman). It is currently open Tuesday-Sunday for dinner, and there’s plans to introduce a weekend brunch menu soon. Happy Hour offers 2-for-1 drinks between 5-8pm.