DINING OUT: A wise choice at Owl’s Head

It doesn’t take the wisest owl on the block to know that TheOwl’s Head is the place to go for after-work drinks, aclassy-casual date night or just a late-night bite to eat withfriends.

The nearly two-month-old wine bar, which also has a small bitesmenu of locally sourced meats, cheeses, produce, nuts, bread andsweets, was opened just before Christmas by co-owners John Avellutoand Steven Weintraub.

Since then, it has earned a loyal-and-growing clientele, whocome as much for the relaxing vibe as for Avelluto’s wine expertiseand Consulting Chef Michael Kogan’s inventive menu.

Ridgeite Avelluto grew up working in his father’s restaurant andsaving up to go to graduate school – in art. Now the father of two,he chose Bay Ridge to house his wine bar dream because he likedbeing part of a community here, where he can raise his family amidculture, art and, of course, good food.

The meat and cheese platter (mix and match — $5.50 for one, $14for three, $18 for five) provides an elegant, light yetflavor-packed charcuterie option to serve as counterpoint to Owl’sHead’s eminently drinkable wines.

Meat selections include Hot and Sweet Soppressatta, Chorizo,Speck and Smoked Duck Breast; cheeses include Fontina, AgedManchego, Brebirousse d’Argental, Grana Padano and La Peral.

Our platter featured Speck – a salty, slightly chewy cousin ofprosciutto – as well as five fanned-out slices of duck breast, andthe Brebirousse, an unctuous and delicious sheep’s milk cheesereminiscent of Brie, several slices of crusty bread, a sprinklingof almonds, dried cranberries and raisins, a little crock of coarsemustard for the duck, and a nowhere-near-large enough bowl ofBalady’s candied orange peel, a sweet-chewy-citrusy snack whichmade us vow to never waste another orange peel again.

Accompanying it was a glass of Lambrusca Lini Lambrusco ($12glass, $35 bottle), a light and bright young red, whose gentlefizz, contained within a tulip-shaped glass, tickled thepalate.

There is a changing menu of delicious panini ($8) and crostini($8 for three pieces). We tried the Truffled Three Cheese Paniniwith its creamy combination of ricotta, Grana Padano and Fontinapressed between warm bread from Il Fornaretto.

The crostini were a pleasant surprise. Savory artichokes blendedwith dried basil and chili flakes got a lighter tang from bits ofshaved fennel, fennel fronds, cerignola olives and fleur de sel.Meanwhile, the roasted Brussels sprouts with kabocha squash pureeand pomegranate reduction was a gone-in-a-flash mouthful. The wildmushroom crostini also shone, with its caramelized porto onions andparmigiana cheese.

The crostini were set off by a glass of Brooklyn OenologyRiesling ($12 glass, $36 bottle), a fresh-tasting, fragrant whitewine that was fruity and delightful, a perfect foil for thevegetarian nibbles.

For dessert, the Mast Brothers Brooklyn Blend chocolate (bars -$9, two-ounce pouches – $5) – comprised of 72 percent cacao and nomilk – was dark and luscious, smooth and surprisingly creamy. Itwas a perfect match for the full-bodied Rio Madre Rioja ($10 glass,$31 bottle). This was the richest and duskiest of the wines wesampled, and its dryness completely complemented the chocolate’sdark notes.

All edibles come from local purveyors such as D. Coluccio &Sons, Balady Halal Foods and the Brooklyn Treat Shoppe, or areprepared in-house, such as the crunchy smoked nuts and jarredolives. Spirits are sourced from places as close as ChanningDaughters and Six Point and as far as Italy and Spain.

The menu changes weekly and seasonally, and the wines and beersare affordably priced at under $40 per bottle and between $6 and$13 per glass. So there’s no need to worry about breaking the bankat Owl’s Head, where anyone can go for a great time.


479 74th Street

Brooklyn, NY 11209




5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Tuesday to Thursday

5 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday

2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday

Daily specials. Wi-Fi available.

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