Park Slope

Bar Vinazo: A taste of Catalonia in Park Slope

July 11, 2023 Andrew Cotto
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PARK SLOPE — Park Slope is fast becoming Williamsburg for adults. Well, this is at least the case with regard to food, where stylish, impressive eateries are popping up and filling up with locals who want to make the scene. Case in point is Bar Vinazo, which opened in early May, at 158 Seventh Ave. near the corner of Garfield.

This Spanish wine bar features an encyclopedic list of biodynamic, organic and natural wines, festive cocktails, and an authentic Spanish menu. Think Catalonia on the Slope. The location and emphasis comes primarily from Joe Campanale, well-known throughout the city as an Italian wine expert and restaurateur, a wunderkind of sorts who partnered in some West Village Italian hot spots and was a sommelier at Babbo in his early 20s, but whose introduction to the pleasures of food and wine began with a semester abroad in Spain.

Joe Campanale and Ilyssa Satter, partners in life and in Bar Vinazo. Photo: Lauren Damaskinos 

It’s that Spanish vibe that Campanale and his partner in life and business, Ilyssa Satter, are channeling at Bar Vinazo (they also have major roles at Italian restaurant Fausto and wine bar LaLou, both in Prospect Heights). The space of Bar Vinazo is sleek and warm, pine wood and terracotta tiles, umber tones, ample light and convivial bustle.

There’s interior seating for 30, at tables up front, along the bar and the adjacent wall that funnels past the open kitchen and jamón carving station where 20-something Chef Silvia Garcia-Nevado, Barcelona-born and Brooklyn-raised, a 2018 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, offers a vibrant menu of six sections primarily featuring Spanish bar fare: small bites, conservas, tapas, cured meats, cheeses, and a few larger plates learned at the helm of her Spanish grandmother, including pollo en pepitoria (chicken, almonds, parsley) and canelones (spinach, pine nuts, béchamel). Among the main course standouts is fideuà, a seafood dish similar to paella, served in a cast-iron pan, that uses thin pasta noodles instead of rice.

The spacious, private back garden at Bar Vinazo. Photo: Liz Clayman

Beyond the kitchen is a spacious, slate-floored garden of two tiers and 40 seats backed by a wall shrouded in ivy. This manicured space is among Brooklyn’s best outdoor oases with regard to breadth, privacy and serenity.

The partners, who live within walking distance of Bar Vinazo and have a young child, recognized the need for a place where the neighbors of a similar demographic could satisfy their tastes for elevated cuisine without involving an Uber. They also astutely recognized the need to remain accessible to the community, so reservations are only accepted for half of the seating capacity at all times.

“It’s true that Park Slope isn’t known for great restaurants, but I think that the reputation isn’t necessarily justified,” Campanale said. “There’s some really good places opening, of late, and we want to be part of that renaissance.”

The interior of Bar Vinazo. Photo: Liz Clayman

Bar Vinazo’s contribution to the rebirth of Park Slope’s culinary scene is aided by being the only Spanish restaurant in the area, but it’s the inclusive ethos that defines an establishment where one can walk in, pass a table celebrating a special occasion, or a couple on a romantic date, and enjoy at the bar a revelatory Spanish wine at a reasonable price-point paired with small plates of seafood in tins sourced from Galicia or some jamón ibérico. Staying for an entire meal is always an option, as well. Regardless, the experience will be informed by a sense of joy and gratitude as Park Slope continues to elevate its food scene with Bar Vinazo among those at the helm.

“The neighbors are fantastic. They’ve been really supportive,” Campanale said.  “Things are running very smooth now, but the first week we had such a larger influx of people than we anticipated, and we were a little bit slower than I wanted with the food, so I went over to tables to explain and say sorry, and they’d say, ‘Thank you so much for being here!’”

Andrew Cotto has been eating his way through Brooklyn for 25 years. As an author, the food of our borough has been featured extensively in his novels and journalism. In his new column for the Daily Eagle, Andrew will tell the tales of Brooklyn eateries, from the people behind the food to the communities which they nourish.

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