NYCReview

The food at wine bars often feels like an afterthought. Sure, dinner at Wildair is always impressive, but Wildair is an outlier—and it doesn't feel like the sort of place where you can show up in sweats, have a snack, and jet. If you want to casually sip on a cab franc rose in a warmly lit space while also enjoying some of the best small plates that you can currently acquire in exchange for money, check out Place des Fêtes in Clinton Hill.

As the name suggests, this wine bar from the Oxalis team is doing its best impression of something you’d find in Paris’ 11th arrondissement—although you shouldn’t come expecting steak frites and Bordeaux. The wines by the glass are predominantly from Spain and Chile, and the limited food menu revolves around meats, cheeses, and little bites of chilled seafood. You’ll find anchovies, raw scallops on the half shell, and a meaty flounder tartare in a pool of the finest olive oil you’ll encounter all year. There are also a few larger plates—including a worthwhile pork rib that gets a flavorful boost from dried clams—and you shouldn’t leave without ordering dessert. Try the financier. It tastes like butter.

Despite how good the food is, we wouldn’t send you here for a full, hearty dinner. Stop by, give a few small plates your full attention, then drink some funky wine from fashionably stubby glasses as you and a friend touch base on your five year plan. The space is long and narrow, with white brick walls and tweed banquettes, and there’s a big bar near the open kitchen for when you can’t snag a reservation. You can assume that will be often.

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