Restaurant Review: UnWined Is Somers’ Coolest New Night Out

Somers doesn’t exactly have a reputation as a dining hotspot. Most nonresidents would probably have a hard time naming a single restaurant in town. But since opening in June, casual, small-plates wine bar UnWined has been a spot worth knowing about.

The location — tucked into a nondescript shopping center, practically hidden between a card shop and UnCorked (the owners’ adjacent wine shop) — doesn’t let on what’s inside. Pass through the frosted-glass doors, and the long space is stylish, with tall, modern banquettes, a curving stone bar, and wine glasses dangling from racks at each table. The lighting is a funky mix of Sputnik-style fixtures and long lines of Edison bulbs hanging from suspended planks of wood. The welcome and the service are exceptionally friendly.

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A duo of seared scallops with black-truffle-infused cauliflower purée

Chef Joe Romano and co-owner Stephanie Small with the kitchen staff.

What’s even more surprising are the prices. More than half of the menu selections — it’s all small plates, some of which change seasonally — are priced at $10 or less. You’ll find $9 whites and $10 reds among the more than 30 wines by the glass. The choices are interesting and approachable (nothing too esoteric), from South African Sauvignon Blanc and Spanish rosé to Argentinian Malbecs, California Zinfandel, Australian Shiraz, and Italian Nero d’Avola.

Like the wines, the menu doesn’t take big swings, but it also doesn’t have many misses. Gruyère gougères, with almost-custardy centers, were the perfect salty bar snack I’d order again and again. I’d also give top billing to dishes featuring thick slabs of grilled bacon. On one visit, that took the form of a single slice, its smokiness amplified by the grill, served over a palate-cleansing mix of fennel and apple. Only an extra hit of acidity could have taken it over the top. Another night, that same slab was perched atop a simple kale salad, adding much-appreciated richness and heft.

Cheese comes in many forms, including the must-order Gruyère gougères.

photography by andre baranowski

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Do order the Caesar salad, served in a Parmesan frico bowl. Ribbons of radicchio offer a bitter counter to the creamy dressing, and the frico, which we broke into shards, acted as a more flavorful riff on croutons.

Crowd-pleasing choices like Wagyu pigs in puff-pastry blankets, duck egg rolls (like your Chinese takeout favorite but with duck instead of pork), creamy mac ’n’ cheese, and truffle chickpeas were also safe bets.

Skip the Mediterranean trio board, which came with not-so-smooth ricotta and chunky hummus that lacked tahini flavor. We’d order the flatbread — tender, grilled dough topped with prosciutto, peppery arugula, and syrupy balsamic — instead, though it was quite salty.

Grilled flatbread with prosciutto, arugula, and balsamic

Fried banging shrimp were properly cooked and crisp, but the coating did have a tendency to slough off after the first bite. Nonetheless, we’d forgive all manner of sins for the sweet-and-spicy sriracha sauce it was served with.

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It’s a shame the honey-drizzled fried chicken is no longer on the menu. Crunchy and seasoned with lots of black pepper, it was perfectly juicy. In its place is the UnChicken Pot Pie, a deconstructed version of the classic. While the puff-pastry lid was golden and the sauce was silky, the chicken itself was a little dry.

Instead, we’ll go with beef. The four-ounce Niman Ranch cheeseburger didn’t look like much but turned out to be pink from edge to edge, supremely beefy, and delicious. The dry-aged New York strip steak didn’t garner any complaints, but the accompanying crispy, cracked-open marble potatoes stole its thunder.

UnS’mores graham-cracker tart with brûléed homemade marshmallow

Desserts like the mini-chocolate-chip-cookie skillet and warm pear crisp were comforting but tended to be quite sweet. If you’re going with one, order the UnS’mores, a graham-cracker tart shell filled with chocolate ganache and topped with brûléed house-made marshmallow. Another glass of wine wouldn’t hurt, either.

80 Rte. 6, Baldwin Place


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