It's my birthday and instead of the yearly gastronomic blowout meal, in an attempt to cut costs and calories, I'm asking my bf to take me to a wine bar where we can order a nice bottle of wine, plus a few bruschetti, and enjoy each other's company. We'll probably spend ~$100-120 on the wine, and I'm looking for advice on where to go and what to order.
Given the above, any suggestions? I love Bar Veloce, but the atmosphere does not say Birthday, and 'Ino is always too croweded, and I've never been a fan of the atmosphere at Punch and Judy. I'm leaning toward checking out DOC in Williamsburg (where I've never been) but an open to ideas.
Regarding the wine, will it be enough to leave myself in the waiter's hands? I don't usually cross the $70 line and when I do it's for a burgundy, but I'm leaning toward an Italian wine bar. $100 probably isn't enough for a good brunello. I'd kind of like to try one of the higher-end versions of a less noble Italian grape, like a nero d'avola, or aglianico...any thoughts?
Lastly, b/c restaurant markups always irk me, part of me wants to just take that $100 to a wine shop and buy something really nice, then find a cute Italian place that has a minimal corkage fee. Does anyone know of a really neighborhoody Italian restaurant (a la La Isola del Sole in WV or Il Bagatto in EV) where we could show up with a big Italian red to go with our papardelle al ragu?