These breads are worth it. Kevin Bruce, whose last job was kneading Danish rugbrod and grantoftegaard at the Great Northern Food Hall, bakes six kinds of bread a day in a two-rack oven on a tight schedule. It starts at 7:30 a.m., when big little bricks of dark rye crossed with sunflower seeds are ready. A sourdough ball whose composition changes from day to day comes out at 11 o’clock; the buckwheat version sold on Tuesdays and Saturdays is a kind of miracle, both sweet and earthy. The baking day ends at 2 p.m., when the baguettes go on sale.
A baguette plus a roast chicken almost always equates to a satisfying dinner. They add up to a lot more than Winner’s, where the bread is only a few hours old and the roast was done within about half an hour of your pickup appointment. While you might not call Winner a French restaurant, his extraordinary attention to ordinary basics may remind you of the neighborhood stores in Paris, where Mr. Eddy lived while he cooked under Daniel Rose at the spring. (Most recently, he was the opening chef of Rebelle, a French restaurant on the Bowery which is now closed.)
The pandemic has brought a slew of new pop-ups to the city. The winner hosts one each week, with a guest chef preparing a “meal with friends and family”. A few weeks ago, the program introduced me to the rich delicacies of cabbage in shrimp sauce prepared by Telly Justice, a trans woman who plans to open a “queer restaurant for everyone” in Brooklyn, under the name of Hags.
I don’t remember exactly which wine Lisandra Bernadet, the sommelier, recommended with Telly Justice’s cuisine, but I believe it was from Slovenia, shining a pale gold skin contact shade, had been made ago about eight years old and like almost all bottles at Winner cost well under $ 40. A conversation through an open window about Slovenian orange wines is another thing I have never received from GrubHub.
Winner’s Wine Bar is in an old shed, where there is just enough room for the rotisserie oven, a few standing customers and a single table. Will strangers ever rub elbows there? Will travelers with freshly scanned passports give Winner’s address to their drivers at the airport? They should. There is nothing mega about this place, but it is loaded with charisma.
What the Stars Mean Due to the pandemic, restaurants are not rated by stars.