This blog is dedicated to all the gorditos, chubbies, huskies, bears, afrentados and foodies that love to eat delicious food and can't wait to hear where they should go next to get their grub on! I'm going to give you the 411 on all the places I love to frequent and all the places I seek out, like the culinary explorer that I am. I'm going to be real and tell what I feel and think. Bring on the comments and most importantly bring on the FOOD!
The old saying, “Good things
come in small packages” teaches us that size doesn't always indicate
quality and that something small can be of far better quality than something
larger.Beans and Vines is the perfect
example of this sage proverb.It’s a
small restaurant you could walk by without noticing, but once you enter the
food and service will make you happy you did!
Located in Inwood, Beans and
Vines is a café/wine bar/restaurant with an eclectic menu of international
cuisine and an impressive selection of South American and European wines.The décor features an exposed brick wall on
the left, 8 small wooden tables and chairs, two comfy armchairs, and a small
coffee bar in the back.With a relaxed
and social ambiance, Beans and Vines is perfect for having a cup of coffee or
glass of wine with a friend.
Claudio-a young Argentinean
Computer Programming student-was our incredible server for the night. He
bounced between our tables like a pinball!He served coffee; recommended wines; asked everyone what people thought
of their orders; and answered every question without skipping a beat.His recommendations made my visit a great
experience.Throughout the night, as
patrons left they thanked him for his service and hospitality.
As I looked over my menus, I was
impressed with the lunch/dinner menu’s diversity.It was divided into 7 sections: Sandwiches, Salads, Panini,
Tapas, Entrees, Sides and Dessert.
The Sandwiches section features: Balsamic Chicken and Avocado; Grilled Portobello and Goat Cheese; and Moroccan Chicken.
The Paninis are made on French baguettes or Ciabatta and include: Grilled Chicken and Avocado, Black Forest Ham, and
Gourmet Chimi (Ground
Sirloin or Chicken Breast, Topped with Tomato Slices, Shredded Cabbage, Onions,
Chipotle Sauce, French Mustard, and Ketchup. Served with Your Choice of
Seasoned Fried Potatoes or Yuca Fries).
The Salads are simple:
Southwestern grilled chicken Cesar, Baby greens with Goat cheese, and Tuna,
Cranberry, and Fuji Apple on Mesuclin greens.The Tapas section includes Assorted Cheeses and Fruits, Roasted Eggplant Tapenade, and Grilled Shrimp
The entrées are really amazing; you can choose from Grilled Chicken
Breast over Eggplant Puree (served with yucca fries and a house salad); Broiled Salmon in Lemon-Scampi Sauce
(served with a house salad and mixed
vegetables); Shrimp Scampi
(served with a house salad and mixed
vegetables); and 16-ounce
Sirloin Steak (served
with a house salad and Asparagus).
I asked Claudio what he recommended and he suggested the Grilled Shrimp
Tostada. He said it was a popular appetizer and explained its preparation
and seasoning.It was obvious; he knew
the ins and outs of the kitchen.He
assured me that I would love the dish, so I
ordered it and continued to look over the menus.
Within minutes, my appetizer
arrived!The shrimp was grilled
perfectly and the dry rub on it had a delightful piquant flavor.The tostada was topped with avocado, corn,
and drizzled with fresh lime, ciltrano and a chipotle cream.The vegetables were crisp and refreshing,
yet had a spicy kick to them as well.The appetizer came with an excellent mixed green side salad dressed with
balsamic vinegar.The portions were
generous; you could easily mistake this appetizer for an entrée.
After I was done, Claudio came
over and asked me what I thought of the tostada.We had a nice chat about the dish and then he asked for my dinner
order.I ordered the Shrimp Scampi with
a side order of roasted potatoes.Beans
and Vines side selections include: Roasted Potatoes, Yucca Fries and Seasonal
I decided to be adventurous and asked Claudio what
wine would go well with the Scampi.Being a wine novice, I paid close attention to his recommendations,
which included: Chardonnay
– Desio (Italy/Sicily), Chardonnay – Widow’s Walk (USA/North Fork, Long
Island), and Gavi – Sacco (Italy/Piedmonte).Claudio explained why these three would pair well my Scampi and gave his
opinion of each one.It was very
informative and interesting; I chose the Chardonnay-Desio. For a complete wine
list go to: http://beansandvines.com/wines-and-beers/
The Shrimp Scampi was excellent!The garlic butter, salt and white wine (typical scampi seasonings)
complimented the sweetness of the shrimp. The mixed vegetables-green beans,
zucchini, green and red peppers covered in oil and seasoning- were crunchy and
savory.The roasted potatoes, prepared
with oil olive, salt and a sweet Spanish paprika, were delicious.The Chardonnay-Desio was excellent! Claudio
was right! It had a nice dry taste with a slight fruitiness that paired well
with the shrimp.
After a hearty appetizer and entrée, I had no room for dessert. Beans
and Vines’ dessert menu is simple and features: Pecan Pie, Chocolate cake and
their special homemade flan.
When I told Claudio I wasn’t having dessert, he recommended the
homemade flan and a few coffee options that went well with it for my next
visit.I couldn’t believe it: he was
making sure I’d enjoy my next visit.As
I left, he shook my hand, walked me to the door and asked me to come back
soon.That is truly excellent service.
Beans and Vines is small, but don’t let that fool you.This restaurant mixes the best elements of a
café, wine bar and restaurant to create a warm and wonderful place.Their food dwarfs their loftier and larger
competition and with attentive and friendly servers like Claudio, I am sure
you’ll love it!Remember, “Good things
come in small packages!” Go taste for yourself!