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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Martine’s Wine Bar, a nostalgic farm-to-table restaurant from the Bar Raval team

Including sea urchin–topped pasta and a cocktail menu stacked with classics

By Erin Hershberg| Photography by Nicole and Bagol
What's on the menu at Martine's Wine Bar, a nostalgic farm-to-table restaurant from the Bar Raval team

Name: Martine’s Wine Bar Contact: 293 Palmerston Ave., @martineswinebar, 437-880-8467 Owners: Grant Van Gameren, Hailey Burke Chefs: Grant Van Gameren, Luke Haines Accessibility: Not Fully Accessible

Martine’s Wine Bar, the most recent culinary addition to Grant Van Gameren’s long CV (which includes Bar Raval, Bar Isabel and Quetzal), was inspired by the farm he opened three years ago in Prince Edward County. “Originally, my business partner, Hailey Burke, and I thought Martine’s was going to be a snacky wine bar,” he says. “But then I started selling my produce to restaurants in PEC. I thought, Wait a minute, why don’t I use these vegetables too?” Cut to Martine’s, a full-fledged vegetable-forward restaurant with a casual wine program courtesy of house sommelier Hannah Holmes.

The owners and chefs behind Martine's Wine Bar
Grant Van Gameren, Hanna Holmes, Luke Haines and Hailey Burke

Twice a week, Van Gameren unloads a truck full of seasonal homegrown vegetables into the space, which incidentally looks very much like a converted barn. Then he and head chef Luke Haines (of Bar Raval and Buca) come up with a game plan. “The ingredients are always a surprise to Luke,” says Van Gameren. “And if it takes us more than three minutes to think through a dish, we scrap it and start again. We don’t want anything to be over-thought.”

Van Gameren and Haines cooking together
Van Gameren and Haines making fresh pasta

The wood-burning oven, inherited from Woodlot (the space’s former tenant), also helps dictate the menu. Whole roasted birds, charred vegetables and handmade flatbreads feel right at home here. Add in the pasta, which is hand-cut on an old-school chitarra, and the whole scene takes patrons out of the mess of modernity and back to a simpler culinary time.

The food

The output of Van Gameren and Haines’s kitchen is all about homespun experimentation. For their take on classic veggies and dip, or crudité, the veggies get lightly blanched before being chilled and paired with a buttery, umami-forward tonnato sauce and a sprinkle of furikake. Chitarra-cut spaghetti is met not with meatballs but with sea urchin, and homegrown turnips are sautéed with long pepper and finished with bonito. But, every now and then, the duo play it straight. Case in point: their classic peppercorn steak, wood-fired chicken and no-fuss fries.

A sous chef rolls out the handmade pasta before it’s cut
A sous-chef rolls some handmade pasta onto the chitarra

 

A sous chef using the chitarra
And here she is turning it into spaghetti

 

A bowl of fresh pasta with a hand sprinkling garnish
The spaghetti dish will rotate, but right now it’s topped with sea urchin. Developed by Haines, the handmade pasta is tossed in garlic, butter and fresh herbs, then finished with the freshly chopped urchin. $30

 

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A plate full of fresh mussels
For the green sambal mussels, seasonal mollusks (in this case from Salt Spring Island) are poached in house fish broth and a sambal of green chili, garlic and coconut milk. The dish is garnished with Japanese collard greens from Van Gameren’s farm and served with grilled Blackbird sourdough for dipping. $26

 

escarole coverer in a thick garlic sauce
Here we have the grilled escarole with bagna cotta and chili. The sweet overwintered escarole has been brushed with olive oil and grilled. On top is a buttery garlic sauce that looks heavy, like hollandaise, but is actually quite airy. House chili oil finishes the dish with a bang. $18

 

Here we have oyster mushrooms, farm grown leeks and fresh grilled razor clams joined together in a garlicky olive oil mélange.
Here we have oyster mushrooms, farm-grown leeks and freshly grilled razor clams in a garlicky olive oil mélange. $28

 

A steak frites
For the 10-ounce peppercorn bavette steak, the meat is pan-grilled and covered in a sauce of demi-glace, butter and a variety of peppercorns (white, pink, black and long). It’s garnished with a pile of french fries. $44

 

The drinks

The wine program, built by Holmes, aims to tantalize the palate without being pretentious (or forcing patrons to break the bank), serving heavy hitters like barolos and chablis. Co-owner Hailey Burke’s cocktail program is refreshingly classic, no twist. The gin and tonics, negronis, and old fashioneds are platonic ideals, and they keep the menu grounded while sharing space with the occasional exploratory item.

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A dirty martini
For the dirty martini, Burke ferments Castelvetrano olives in a salt solution for a house brine. Sipsmith gin or Tito’s vodka gets stirred with ice, then poured into a chilled glass and garnished with a full three olives. $18

 

A gin and tonic with lemon garnish
Bright house tonic infused with lemongrass and grapefruit is paired with Sipsmith gin for the gin and tonic. The drink is served on the rocks and garnished with lemons. $16

 

An Old Fashioned being garnished
True to its name, this old fashioned is built from Maker’s Mark bourbon, simple syrup and Angostura bitters, then finished with an orange wheel and an Amarena cherry. $18

 

An Aperol spritz
There’s nothing unusual about this Aperol spritz, which is built from house soda, bubbly cava and Aperol. Sweet and salty notes from the orange and olive garnishes cut the Aperol’s bitterness. $16

 

The space

For those familiar with Woodlot, the split-level layout—with its sunken bar and lofted dining room—is heartwarmingly familiar, but the components have been tweaked. No doubt touched by Van Gameren’s county life, Martine’s leans toward the pastoral. The bar that overlooks the open kitchen is done in reclaimed pine planks, and refurbished mahogany church pews double as banquettes. The vintage lighting gives the space a nostalgic aura, like dining at the home of a beloved aunt who really knows how to cook.

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An eagle's eye view of the open kitchen
The dining room, which is done in dark wood with low lighting
The bar area
A decorative chicken in the bar area
The wine collection which is on display in the dining area

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