Friday, June 25, 2010

Great cocktails and pizza are worth the wait at DiWine

I used to live right around the corner from DiWine but the tumbleweeds blowing through the dining room kept me (and many others) from going in for a while. Once last winter I didn't want to cook and the ladyfriend wanted to brave the cold for a nice dinner. The closest place to my front door that sold food was DiWine. Since that fateful January night I've been coming and bringing friends to DiWine on 31st Ave and 41st St in Astoria with the promise of great cocktails, the neighborhood's best pizza and a warning of notoriously terrible service.
Speaking of tumbleweeds...

On my latest visit I sat in the draped lounge area for the first time. I've sat at the bar and at tables but there was something about eating on a couch and a coffee table that made me feel like I was in my living room.

An update to the menu since I was here last shows my favorite blue cheese fondue 86ed. Guacamole is a recent addition but I don't usually order guacamole that isn't made at my table in a molcajete by a polite, mustachioed, ESL young man. I've eaten appetizers and main dishes here but the reason I come is the pizza.

It's simply the best deal in the neighborhood. The biggest, best quality pizza you can get for $10 is at DiWine. The Gigi with smoked beef is a personal favorite but this time my guest and I went for the Capriciossa that comes with pepperocini, mushroom, mozzerella, and a fried egg. The warm egg yolk oozing all over the pizza made me very happy in the mouth.

In addition to a few great slices, I come here for the cocktails. A casual atmosphere lets me order anything I want and not feel intimidated even when my girlfriend gives me a hard time about ordering a Peanut Butter Cup Martini (which is EXCELLENT, by the way). Above is the Cucumber fauxjito. Describes as a vodka based mojito with an infused twist, I'm not sure what's so faux about it. I do know that it is delicious and they should serve it in a fishbowl a la CANZ.

The reason the drinks are so good here is the house made infused alcohols and syrups displayed behind the bar in all the classy fashion of a Sharpie-labeled bottle. Above is the Marie la Poire - Grey Goose la poire, rosemary and juniper infused simple syrup, lime juice.

Basil limeade - basil infused vodka, lime juice, simple syrup

As I said before, the food and drinks here are excellent. The service, however, is awfully slow. The staff is kind and courteous when they appear but sightings are few and far between. Constantly understaffed in the front and back of house, food and drinks take forever to get to the table. I used to get the same server every time who I swear popped a mixed handful of pills before her shift. We called her "Crazy" and, thankfully, she hasn't been seen at DiWine in a while. I, on the other hand, have been and will be again very soon.

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