I did not move to the Upper East Side because it was cool. I did it because it was cheap, convenient, and, well, that's it. I've never regretted it, but I do wish I lived in a neighborhood where grabbing a tasty bite to eat in a cool atmosphere with good drinks was easier to do. For years, that was a pretty tall order. It's still not the easiest thing, but it is getting better. And the folks behind ABV are a big part of that.
I've been a few times, but only once when it was light enough out to get some decent snaps for you guys to enjoy. I paid a Friday evening visit with my friend Cristin, and we both ordered a flight of rosé. (The French one on the far right was definitely the best.) Then, we enjoyed a couple of snacks - first up, the fish tacos with kimchee. I really liked these, except for one thing: the guacamole was really strongly flavored with cilantro. For some of you, that would seal the deal. For me, it meant an early stop to the proceedings. I hate it when menus don't specify that things have cilantro. Grrrr.
Next up, the fried pickles. These are fancy fried pickles, with a light, tempura-ish batter coating seriously juicy half-sours in large chunks, all served with a miso mayonnaise. The enormous serving is enormously cheap (five bucks), and well worth your time. They go swimmingly with wine, too.
ABV is a wine bar, and, accordingly, they have a great selection of sweet and fortified wines to keep the drinking going once the savories have been dispensed with. My selection this time? The 10-year-old Nierporent tawny. Delicious on its own; even better with sticky toffee pudding. (Just saying.)
One quick note: my very favorite thing that ABV serves is their meatloaf sandwich, which comes with fries and is served on a toasted bagel and topped with a fried egg. It is, in a word, delightful. So don't not order it just because I've only eaten it when it's been dark out, is what I'm saying.
1504 Lexington Avenue
Between 97th and 98th Streets