288 Fair Street \ chleovin.com
Small spaces pack a big punch—well, at least according to Hope Troup Mathews, half of the team behind Chleo, a “little respite from the outside world” in the historic Stockade District. Hope and her husband, Charles Mathews, are self-described “lifers in the culinary biz” and have worked at many restaurants across the country, including Michelin-starred Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown. The duo’s goal: to bring the format of a wine bar (“it’s the way we prefer to eat, because it allows you to try so much more of the menu!” says Hope) to a relatively untapped neighborhood of Kingston.
Chleo’s recipe for success is equal parts wine selection and swanky interior design (by Brooklyn’s Islyn Studio). Guests can sit at tables in front of the central open-concept kitchen or at the bar, where a large mirror reflects the wood-fired grill. “We’re relying on those most basic instincts that bring us together: fire, food, and fermented juice,” says Hope.
The “fermented juice” list is extensive. For something refreshing and a little different, Hope recommends Garganega, an Italian white from Christiana Meggiolaro that’s bouncy and “full of stone fruit notes that’s begging to be sipped with some sourdough bread and a nice tempered wedge of Chaseholm Farm Creamery Nimbus cheese.” Speaking of snacks, the small plates menu is seasonal and will have a constant rotation of bread, cheese, charcuterie (including cured beets that mimic bresaola), veggie spreads, pasta, and grilled meat. “Although I’m a softy for all the house-made pastas, Charles’ creativity shines with his use of vegetables,” says Hope. At press time, Chleo will open its doors later this month; expected hours are 4–9 p.m. on Tuesdays–Thursdays; 4–11 p.m. on Fridays; and 2–11 p.m. on Saturdays.
346 Broadway \ sonderkingston.com
Down a couple blocks from Chleo, you’ll find a former Hudson hotspot that moved to the heart of Midtown. Sonder, a natural wine bar and vegetable-forward restaurant, relocated from its home of three years on Warren Street to a “forever home” with a minimalistic white exterior, says owner Daniel Bagnall. But don’t let the bright façade fool you: “The design inside is a little moodier than the OG Sonder and reflects a slightly more ‘mature’ act two,” explains Bagnall, “Our new space is a little more restaurant and a little less wine bar.”
Sonder will still offer a selection of natural wines like Kobal, a Slovenian sauvignon blanc, chilled French reds, and a variety of light-drinking oranges, rosés, and pét-nats. They have local beer and cider, too. It’s smart to come hungry: Start with a plate of small bites such as pickled eggs and vegetables, local cheeses, and savory bresaola, soppressata, and mortadella. Recommended mains include kabocha squash with green curry and pumpkin seeds, garlic shrimp basted in pimento oil and cultured butter, and roasted fluke with onion vinaigrette and roasted potatoes.
Maybe the best part of Sonder’s new spot is their backyard space, perfect for weekend brunches, dinner with friends, and events hosted by guest chefs. “Whether you stop in for a glass of wine and a snack after work, a first date, or anything in between—we hope to be a part of those complex lives one bite and sip at a time,” says Bagnall.