When Irma Pulido, one of the owners of the Church Café Wine Bar (416 Church Avenue between E 4th and E 5th Streets) told us that she and her husband, Mateo Pulido, had added a long list of cocktails and seafood to their dinner menu, we immediately had to try them.
Already fans of the relatively new restaurant’s delicate panini, salads and truffles, we were excited to try the just-added items, which range from a Spanish-style seafood soup to mussels and and a seafood paella, plus a new cocktail list that includes a hibiscus hot toddy, a tres leches-tiramisu martini, a Manhattan, and more.
And we can happily report that we were not disappointed.
First things first, we had to try a cocktail – and the decision-making process was no easy feat. In addition to the ones already listed above, the restaurant has recently added mojitos, margaritas, and hibiscus cosmos.
Because we had just emerged from the frigid outside world, we decided to go for something extra warm – a hibiscus hot toddy ($8). It’s hard to imagine that you can make the original hot toddy better – but the hibiscus flavor was subtle and delicious, and we quickly fell into a hibiscus hot toddy stupor while sitting amidst the flickering candlelight and tables filled with people discussing everything from the recent State of the Union to an upcoming shindig (“DUDE. We need to have mussels for the party. Why didn’t we think of that?” one girl asked her dining partner after glancing at the menu.).
For an appetizer, we had the seafood soup ($12), which included a veritable feast of clams, mussels, shrimp, salmon, and talapia served in a white wine and tomato sauce, with a side of toasted garlic bread. Everything was incredibly fresh tasting, with the white wine and tomato sauce accenting the seafood well.
We have to admit – we were already getting a little full by the time we finished our appetizer, but when our entrée arrived, we took one look at the salmon in a guacamole salsa with sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes ($19) and knew we weren’t going to have trouble polishing it off.
For dessert, we tried the house-made tres leches tiramisu ($7) and a dish called the “imposible” (Spanish for, you guessed it, impossible), which is flan over chocolate cake ($7) – and, what’s the term we’re looking for here? Oh right – yum. As with everything else, the flavors seemed to effortlessly blend together and leave you knowing you’ll be returning soon for more.
In addition to the seafood and cocktails, Irma, who lives in Kensington with Mateo and their 2-year-old daughter, also let us know of other upcoming changes at the restaurant, and we were excited to hear that she expects them to start hosting live music in March. Additionally, they plan to likely expand their hours to include lunch in addition to their current brunch and dinner.
As for us, we’re looking forward to going back and trying more of those cocktails – not to mention dousing ourselves in seafood soup.
Church Café Wine Bar is located at 416 Church Avenue (between E 4th and E 5th Streets). You can stop by for brunch from 11am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday, or for dinner from 4-11pm on Sunday through Thursday and 4pm-12am on Friday and Saturday. To reach the restaurant, give them a call at 718-435-2574.