A warm corner of Chelsea Market decidedly not for tourists offers a fresh take on the wine bar experience.
Even if Corkbuzz didn’t have its glowing sign spelling out its too cute, scripted name, one could still find it by looking for the corner of Chelsea Market packed with locals and suited up corporate types happily sipping wine. Clearly this second branch of Master Sommelier Laura Maniec’s Corkbuzz Wine Studio has emerged as a unique destination for workers and residents in the neighborhood looking to grab a drink and some small plates after work.
Beyond redefining the type of guest that patrons Chelsea Market, Corkbuzz has set ambitious goals for itself in the food it offers alongside its wide range of wines. Among the small plates is a surprisingly good Burrata Crostini topped with crunchy bits of pistachios and fava beans. While it might not win over the burrata connoisseur, its textbook textures and creaminess are excellent complements to many of their wines, and as Corkbuzz emphasizes educating whenever a guest is interested, a server can often be trusted to point out the perfect glass to enhance the snack.
Yet because the menu at Corkbuzz is so driven by their list of unusual and diverse wines, it is not really possible to create a full or balanced meal from the plates available. While the Citrus Cured Salmon with cilantro, lemongrass, and a dollop of mashed avocado was still a lovely side to my glass of Chardonnay, it did not work well following the Burrata. (I mean, fish and cheese, what was I thinking anyway?) The avocado had a consistency and flavor too closely reminiscent of Mexican guacamole, and almost overpowered the freshness of the fish, certainly clashing with the richness of the burrata.
Maybe next time I’ll think a little more clearly after 10 PM when Corkbuzz offers half off bottles of champagne, and stick to the cheese and charcuterie plates. Regardless I’ll be enjoying a wine list from a place that continues to aim high, trying to redefine what can be served at a wine bar.