Taverna Uva Rossa Wine Bar
243 Hempstead Ave., Malverne
(516) 612-7400, www.uvarossa.com
Reminiscent of a wine cellar in Tuscany, Uva Rossa blends rustic with charming. Stucco with exposed bricks, tapestry, candles and lots of wood captures this beautifully. Up front, a “communal table” is used either for a large group, or for people who can randomly sit together and sip some wine. Everything about this place, which opened in April, is delightfully different.
Owner and Chef Antonio Bove was raised in Caserta, Italy, near Naples. His cooking is fresh and unique — introducing a twist to authentic Italian style cuisine. Events manager Carol Watenberg designed the restaurant. (Do not leave without seeing the spectacular restroom!) Manager Fernando Leon is the wine expert and eager to help you choose.
“Small plates” (and some, not so small) are encouraged for sharing. It’s fun and lets you experience variety. Wines are available by the glass, bottle or half-bottle, with over 60 to choose from. Cocktails run the gamut as well, with signatures like Uva Rossa (Vodka, Strega, Campari, Grapes and Mint) or Hemingway Daiquiri (White Rum, Maraschino and Grapefruit).
Appetizers, salads, pizzas, panninis, and sliders start out the menu, priced from $3.50 per slider (meatball, lobster salad or crab meat), to $14.50 for a gluten-free Campagnola pizza with gorgonzola, prosciutto and figs, or other exotic varieties. Pastas, poultry, seafood and meat entrees range from $11.50 for Spaghetti ala Carbonara (pancetta, parmigiana reggiano, scrambled eggs and black pepper) to $18.50 for grilled lamb with peas Florentine style, or seared sea scallops with creamy truffle/lemon polenta. There are platters of meats and/or cheeses (choose two, three or four - $12-$20) which include Tuscan bread and additions like olives, toasted almonds, honey and grapes. Bruchette (a choice of three or five different ones) is $13-$20. Desserts are $9.