I used to go to Sfoglia on Lex and 92nd Street quite often and as it turns out, one of the employees there decided to open her own wine bar on 3rd avenue. My husband went with a friend of his the other day and then suggested we have dinner there. It was great!
What you should know:
Wine: This place focuses on bringing guests wines from the New World, so think Africa, South America, New Zealand/ Australia. I had a great sauvignon blanc from South Africa. I think this is great because so many restaurants on the UES focus on Italian and French wines in general, so this was a nice change.
Decor: minimalist. Great use of space and great lighting at night.
Food: really cool. I had the ostrich mini burger (ate it in 2 bites) which had a secret spice that made the whole dish work. I have no idea what it was but it really made the dish stand out. My husband and I also shared some cheeses and salami, which came with mango chutney. For our main courses, he had the sausage with polenta and I had the bunnychow, which was basically a curry-based chicken (very yummy and not too spicy!) inside a bowl of bread. It had very traditional sauces on the side. Very interesting.
The wait staff: overall very nice. The guy at the bar will let you try a sip of different wines for free until you decide which one you would like to buy a glass/bottle of. Also, I liked that they never tried to push a certain dish on us. You can ask them what they like and they'll offer an opinion, but otherwise they are not pushy. Also, we stayed for over an hour and a half to eat and, although it was busy, no one ever kicked us out or made us feel unwelcome.
Overall, a nice dining experience.
1402 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10128
Kaia Wine Bar
1614 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10128