Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar, located on the corner of 7th Avenue and Carmine St. in the West Village, is a newly opened establishment that urges customers to design their own experience. You could even say their motto is, “Do what YOU want.” If you desire a drink, have wine! If your stomach is growling, eat! And if you just want a sweet night cap, they have that, too. Walking into Ayza is what one would expect from a top of the line wine bar; dimly lit, with a dark and mysterious ambiance. The decor is on the modern side, with many small two-person wooden tables with stools. Ayza is definitely the quintessential date place. Very romantic and sophisticated.
After glancing over the impressive drink menu, I started with my favorite grape blend, a glass of French 2008 Pinot Noir, while Alex enjoyed a unique Chocolate Wine. Ayza promotes both an impeccable bottle list as well an array of wine by the glass options. The most affordable glasses start at $8 while the more expensive glasses can range up to $16.
Alongside our delicious wine, we sampled a few of their Mezes, small plates, or tapas. We tried three Mezes on the menu: vermouth marinated olives with fresh orange, pickled garlic and herbs, a hot artichoke heart dip with Irish cheddar cheese, ripe tomatoes and toasted pita, and last but not least, a white truffle pizza with garlic cream, bresaola and white truffle oil. All three appetizers were delicious. Rather small in size, so you will want to order a bunch to share, but the flavor and quality of food was excellent. Just enough to keep our palettes wet, but left us ready to sample some other items.
Alongside these wonderful eats, Alex delighted in one of their signature Chocolate elixirs, Ayza’s classic chocolate martini. All of the chocolate martinis are served with a complimentary truffle by renowned Jacques Torres, one of those small details that makes Ayza the preferred experience.
Next, we decided to select a few items from the cheese menu to go alongside my Pomosa, which is champagne and Pomegranate juice. We opted for a selection of three cheeses and two meats. We enjoyed a Shropshire Blue, a British, full-flavored un-pressed cheese infused with saffron, an aged Parmigiano Reggiano, my personal favorite, a Bacheron, a French goat cheese, beef saucisson, and soppressata. All were delicious. The cheese plate was accompanied by fresh strawberries, guava paste, caper berries and toasted bread points. All in all, the cheese plate was the way to go, especially when enjoying wine throughout the evening. Ayza has a total of nine different cheeses on the menu to choose from.
To finish off the meal, we were advised to try Ayza’s unique chocolate fountain, an experience that was very impressive. We selected pineapple, strawberries, brownie bites and lady fingers as our dipping devices. Extraordinary!
Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar
One Seventh Avenue South
Top photo, courtesy of Ayza
All other photos by Chelsea Herman