The team behind Nura opens Pan Pan Vino Vino in Greenpoint

My favorite thing, maybe, out of my many favorite things about Pan Pan Vino Vino, the new bakery-by-day, wine-bar-by-night operation from the Nura team, are the 1950s black-and-white party photos behind the bar of pastry chef Samantha Short’s family.

“My grandparents came here after the war,” Short tells Brooklyn Magazine. “And in the Polish community in New Jersey everyone would get dressed up and get together at these great parties, the dining room tables filled with meats and pickles and breads, everyone smoking cigarettes and drinking a lot of liquor.”

Sam Short’s family and friends partying in 1950s New Jersey (Photo by Scott Lynch)

It’s that sort of community vibe Short says she wants to bring to this new spot after dark: “Hang out, have fun, drink good wine, eat really good food,” she says.

On opening night last Friday, this was very much the scene during the Vino Vino part of the proceedings, as a rowdy crowd of Greenpoint locals (of which Short is one) and Nura fans from all over turned the place into a free-flowing party.

The wine list here is curated by Nura’s ace sommelier Mackenzie Gassett, and it’s more fun to read than most novels. Here’s Gasset on a $60 bottle of Markus Altenburger, a chardonnay from Austria: “Before your eyes skip right over the CH word, I implore you, this is not Summer Block Party chardonnay. There are no ice cubes, it does not come in a plastic cup, although I could find one for you if you like. The cool limestone soils of Burgenland lend a zippy freshness, soft peach, tangerine and Meyer lemon are countered with a salty freshness. Light and bright.”

There are dozens of different bottles available, and glasses run from $14 to $19. Don’t come to Vino Vino without expecting to eat though. In the kitchen at night during the opening weeks here is the incomparable Jackie Carnesi, the former Nura chef who’s also working to re-open Kellogg’s Diner this summer. Yes, the menu is more snacky than substantial, but it’s also all delicious.

I made a thoroughly satisfying dinner out of four cicchetti (basically: stuff on top of slabs of chef Short’s lovely baguettes) and a small skillet of stellar oyster mushrooms in cashew cream and chimichurri.

Oyster mushroom with cashew cream and chimichurri, $15 (Photo by Scott Lynch)

All four of the cicchetti I had were worthy of a swoon or two, but especially wonderful were the ‘nduja and pickled celery, and the one with mussels, preserved lemon, and Fresno chili.

A selection of cicchetti, including ‘nduja with pickled celery, $5 each (Photo by Scott Lynch)

That’s the Vino Vino side of things, and the Pan Pan part of the operation is just as exceptional. Short puts out loaves of caraway rye in the morning, and baguettes, and a selection of croissants both savory and sweet, plus plenty of surprises.

“I like pulling flavors from different cultures, and seasonalities, and making things that are different,” she says. “I don’t want us to be pigeonholed as Spanish, or Eastern European, or European in general. We just want to make things that we want to eat.”

On opening weekend that included a brioche feuilletée (a layered, laminated brioche) slathered in house-made cream cheese and studded with chunks of candied guava. Definitely one of the most luscious and decadent things I’ve ever eaten at 9 a.m.

Brioche feuilletee with cream cheese and guava, $7.50  (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Also amazing was Short’s sesame chocolate chip cookie, which she blasts at different temperatures from above and below in her oven, so you get a soft, almost gooey top and a caramelized, chewy base. Demand for pastries was so unexpectedly high the first two days, and they sold out of everything so fast, that the Pan Pan team decided to close down the bakery part of the operation for at least a week in order to retool.

This sesame chocolate chip cookie is phenomenal, $5 (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Other things I love about this place: the cozy patio outside, the killer soundtrack inside, the lovely team of counter workers and wine pourers and food runners, and the fact that there are way more volcano paintings in here than you would ever expect to find in a Greenpoint bakery, or wine bar, or both.

The designer is Nico Arze, who also did the gorgeous Nura, and though he tries to play it off like volcanoes symbolize baking fires and ashy soil for growing grapes, really, the dude is from Chile, and just thinks they are super cool (which they are).

Also the name is great. Pan Pan Vino Vino translates as Bread Bread Wine Wine, of course, but it’s also a Spanish idiom, meaning something like “it is what it is.” Say it with a shrug for maximum effect. And know that what it is is awesome.

Pan Pan Vino Vino is located at 120 Norman Avenue, at the corner of Eckford Street. Vino Vino is currently open on Wednesday through Sunday from 4 to 10 p.m., with Pan Pan making its reappearance sometime soon.

The post The team behind Nura opens Pan Pan Vino Vino in Greenpoint appeared first on Brooklyn Magazine.

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