Our Subway Stop Guide consists of fewer, better, and more thoughtful recommendations for natural wine. We look for places that are dedicated to organically farmed, low intervention, living wines. We’re kicking off this ongoing series with the G train stop at Greenpoint Ave.
Kichin is easily one of the best Asian restaurants in New York. There is so much they're doing right: spicy Korean-American food, an interesting lofted space, and of course, an insane beverage menu. They started out as a take-out counter with stints at Baby’s All Right and Kinfolk. Each year, they’ve elevated their concept to become the epitome of unpretentious casual-cool, as embodied by their beverage director, Jason White.
Jason White, Beverage Director
After spending time in fine dining and at the Court of Master Sommeliers, Jason designed the wine program as a direct response to the traditional and elitist wine culture. What's left is an approachable, affordable and Swiss army knife-like collection of wines. Jason's extremely knowledgeable, full of energy, and creative with how he crafts the drink menu.
Jason sources wines that can stand up to the bold and spicy flavors at Kichin, with wine options that have little overlap in flavor or style to make for more diverse and interesting choices.
His favorite food and wine combination currently is Sébastien Riffault's 2017 'Les Quarterons' Sancerre with the Kichin jjampong: a spicy Korean seafood noodle dish that comes with a house-made seafood broth, egg noodles, whole edible fried prawn heads, PEI mussels, squid, gochugaru and sake. The ripe pear and melon sauvignon blanc flavors are a ridiculously good match for the lightly spicy, briny and umami base of the dish.
Jason's excited about the 'Les Années Folles' Pét-Nat by L’Opéra des Vins. This wine has a cult-like following, produced by the Parisian natural wine bar owner-turned-winemaker Jean-Pierre Robinot. "The color alone is enough to be excited about, but the refreshing qualities and really long finish make this Pet-Nat one of the current standouts. It also pairs well with pretty much every dish on our menu."
Maite is different. Some dishes may sound familiar, but their preparation is unique and refreshing. Chef and Owner Ella Schmidt draws from her Colombian and Basque background to manipulate the ever-changing, seasonal ingredients. It’s rare to find a place with food this good, where you can get in without a wait and stay as long as you want. There's a sense of community and a family-like atmosphere that sets Maite apart from other trendy Brooklyn restaurants. The wine list is small but thoughtful, with most bottles under $60. If you'd like to drink by the glass, there's at least one wine on tap and they'll let you taste a few things to help with your decision. You should bring someone you enjoy sharing food with, so you can order both the empanadas and the gnocchi to pair with the Anne Paillet cinsault.
Henry's Wine & Spirit is the size of a small NYC apartment but has one of the best natural wine selections in the city, period. It's packed with rows of magnums, stacked boxes, and slightly dusty but highly sought-after bottles. The shop can feel like you're browsing through Henry's personal collection and if you find him there, he'll gladly point out 10 producers he's excited about. For insider information on what to get when you visit (and to help with the inevitable decision paralysis), follow @mpiaker on Instagram. Michael works at Henry's, and has plenty of pizza recommendations to go with your next wine.