Plancha Tapas and Wine Bar is all about the simple pleasures of sipping wine and sharing small plates. In many ways, the high ceilings and wood beams resemble the decor at its older sibling, Salumi Tapas and Wine Bar in Massapequa, both restaurants owned by Josh Kobrin and Lilly Kanarova. The difference in Garden City is the presence of a flat-top Spanish grill -- or plancha -- behind the bar.
One afternoon, that plancha sends forth an ambrosial lunch special of tender grilled octopus over a roasted red pepper salad. A small plate of Marcona almonds fried with sea salt quickly becomes an addiction. So, too, do patatas bravas, roasted fingerling potatoes glossed with olive oil and served with a spicy red sauce and heady cumin aioli.
You may order the bread basket -- $3 for what the menu accurately describes as "rustic bread drizzled with good olive oil and sea salt" -- but keep in mind that that same bread comes with any of the cured meats and cheeses. For the record: Sliced chorizo (hot sausage), Serrano ham and aged Gouda pair well with a glass of full-bodied red Zinfandel.
One night, a nuanced and delectable carrot and ginger soup arrives lukewarm. And the parsnip puree beneath tender roseate slices of spiced grilled duck breast is cool, too. A real treat is a slightly oily mini panino of sopressata, Italian cheeses and Spanish paprika. Even more compelling: pork belly bocadillo, a messy little sandwich made with kimchee, sesame mayo, lime and cilantro.
But duck sausage with house-made kraut is surprisingly dull. And cebada, or slow-cooked barley and roasted mushrooms in a truffle and Madeira wine sauce, comes across as over-rich. Lukewarm, too.
A salty-sweet vibe informs an odd dessert of chocolate fondue, presented in a coffee cup alongside hunks of olive oil-and-salt-rubbed bread, for dipping. More universally appealing is a fragrant (and shocking pink) panna cotta made with roasted beets and orange zest.
Plancha is an ambitious spot. You'll find live music some nights and, on weekends, an imaginative brunch menu. It should prove fascinating to watch the place evolve.