Dining Out: Encore debuts in Ridge

A new eatery has taken its bow on upper Fourth Avenue and a preview of the food it serves had us proclaiming, “Encore, Encore.”

Encore, located in glitzy, spacious premises, offers the atmosphere of a nightclub, with a menu meant to appeal to a broad clientele, who can opt to stop by for a meal or book the space for a private event, from a sweet 16 to a bridal shower to a community event.

At a special community event hosted by the restaurant, waiters brought around trays of hors d’oeuvres, representative of the culinary offerings of Chef Alex Orman of Staten Island’s Alor Café, which is renowned for its “creative American” cuisine.

Borrowing from gustatory traditions from around the world, the nibbles – from mini tacos to meatballs – were true teasers, not only awakening the appetite but also making us eager to dive into Encore’s full menu.

The meatballs came out in wedges of pita bread, garnished with a slice of cucumber and a tomato wedge, to be followed by mini-tumblers with spicy, tart gazpacho topped with a slice of crusty Italian toast. Also on the menu were bite-size new potato halves, subtly sauced; mini chicken tacos in a smoky dressing; elegant crudités wrapped in a cucumber ribbon and accompanied by a creamy dip; crispy mini-spring rolls, elegantly narrow; sweet-tart chicken wings; and wedges of mozzarella flatbread topped with pesto, red onion and tomato.

An open bar revealed Encore’s spirited side. While some of us tried beer and hard cider (the eatery has an extensive list from which to choose), two of us sampled the tasty Watermelon Martini packed a strong punch of that fruity watermelon flavor which, coupled with just the right amount of vodka, made it the perfect (almost summer) cocktail – just one of the many cocktails that Encore’s talented bartender served up.

Open for dinner daily, the restaurant also offers special evenings. For instance, every Thursday, said Orman, is Jazz and Cheese Night. ”Different jazz bands who are playing in the area will stop here every Thursday,” he explained, adding, “Customers get a complimentary cheese platter with a glass of wine. We find it goes very well together.

”We are working for the community, and we are just so excited to be a part of Bay Ridge,” Orman went on. “It is an absolute pleasure to be here.”

Additional reporting contributed by Meaghan McGoldrick and Anna Spivak.

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