Vinus and Marc, a Hidden Treasure on the Upper East Side

| August 19, 2014

vinus and marcIt is always special to find a “foodie” hideaway in an unexpected place, so I was delighted to be treated to an extraordinary food and wine tasting at Vinus and Marc on NYC’s Upper East Side.

A narrow door located between neighborhood retailers invites you into a seductive speakeasy atmosphere that draws you in with a sense of mystique. This is clearly a great place for a romantic interlude and yet the welcoming bar and comfortable seating has helped it become so much more. It is truly a neighborhood favorite.

The best surprise is the quality of food and wine selections created by owner Frank Locker, an oenophile who offers a superb wine list to compliment the culinary style of Chef Luis Dominguez.

Chef Luis started his career working alongside Chefs Cedrid Tovar and Mario Batali and ultimately worked as a pastry chef at Duane Park Café before coming to Vinus and Marc. His unique style creates delectable Latin-French fusion dishes that tantalize the palate.

We started our tasting with a sparkling Paul Louis, Cremant de Loire, to cleanse our palate.  This vibrant wine with spicy aromas had a perfect crisp finish. This would be a perfect pairing to oysters or any other seafood dish.

beet saladOur first course was the roasted beet salad, a signature special of Chef Luiz.  This is served over citrus infused goat cheese with micro greens and toast honey almonds  that add a perfect crunch.  It was paired with an Aimé Roquesante Rosé from France. This salmon colored rosé balances a fresh strawberry note with a refreshing acidity creating a wonderful complement to the salad.

Next we were treated to the roasted tiger shrimp on Parmigiano-Reggiano grits over lobster bisque and roasted peppers.  YUM!  This dish was served with the Meinklang Grüner, 2012 from Austria.  This Riesling’s citrus and floral notes pair perfectly with fish and seafood. Chef Luis shared the delicious recipe below for ambitious cooks.

Our fourth course was the mouthwatering braised short ribs, served with Spanish rice and green beans.  The wine for this course was an Italian Pichierri, Primitivo, 2008.  This smooth ruby wine is medium bodied with notes of blackberry and sweet spices.  It is an ideal pairing for the short ribs or any other beef dish.

We finished with an array of desserts that were all delicious. One favorite was the house special Mexican Chocolate Tart, topped with vanilla whipped cream and fresh berries.

Vinus and Marc is located 1825 Second Ave. (between 94th and 95th Sts) Stop in to try the exceptional food and global selection of 30 wines by the glass and you are sure to become a regular.







  • 1 fresh whole lobster
  • 1 1/2 gallon water
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery
  • 3 t black pepper corn
  • 3 t coriander

Boil all together (with exception of the lobster) for about 10 minutes then place the lobster in the boiling water until it gets very red color (about 5 minutes).  Remove lobster after cooked, and save the meat.  Replace the shells into the broth and let cook for another 5-10 minutes.



  • 1 shallot (diced)
  • 2 stalk celery (diced)
  • 2 whole carrots (diced)
  • 2 clove garlic (diced)
  • 1 leek (only green part)
  • Olive oil and butter

Cook until all vegetables get tender (about 4 m).

Then add:

  • 2 C tomatoes
  • 2 T fresh parsley
  • 2 T fresh thyme
  • 1 T flour
  • 1/2 C cognac
  • Cook for about 5m more. Then add:
  • 2 C lobster stock
  • 2 C heavy cream
  • Lobster meat (the one from the stock)

Continue to cook for about 4 more minutes. When done, put in blender and purify all.



  • 3 C Organic grits (Vinus & Marc imports grits from Georgia)
  • 4 Lobster stock  (same one we made before)
  • Water (per grits directions)
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper

Cook the grits with a very low heat (it takes over 1 hour to be perfect), and then add stock and water little by little until grits get smooth and right texture (similar to cooking risotto).



  • 3 large Tiger shrimp
  • Grits
  • Lobster bisque
  • Fresh arugula
  • Lobster stock

In a hot pan cook the shrimp, pour some White wine all over (about 1/4 C) and lobster stock. Move the shrimp to the grill. Sauté the arugula.

Using grits, lobster bisque, cooked shrimp and sautéed arugula, make your favorite presentation of a dish – served in a shallow bowl.



Charlotte Goldblatt