Sipping Chianti Amid Met Treasures-A Summer Pleasure

One of my favorite places to have a drink in New York is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The food is not great, the olives are always too spicy and the wine is so-so but there is something about sitting in that space that brings me to other lands and adds a sense of grandeur to an evening. I like to look at the beautiful Celadon green vases from East Asia as I sip a glass of wine and contemplate the exhibit that I just saw or that I had planned to see but went for a drink first.

There are a number of options for dining and having a drink at the met including the Balcony Cafe where you can listen to a mini classical music concert on most Friday and Saturday evenings. There is also a rooftop bar where they serve a variety of drinks and you have the added pleasure of looking down at Central Park. This summer there is a show of works by Jeff Koons on display on the roof and a not-to-be missed show of works by J.M.W. Turner in the museum.

The Petrie Court Cafe and Wine bar is another option. Here the menu is much more varied and you have can look out onto Central Park while the Burghers of Calais stand silently nearby.

I have always been very fond of this sculpture by Auguste Rodin although it depicts a sad episode during the Hundred Years War between the English and the French. These citizens of Calais were to be sacrificed by the British had not the Queen interceded on their behalf, according to Froissart’s Chronicles. While they will ultimately be saved, Rodin renders their suffering in a poetic and tender manner as they carry the keys to their fair city.

On a recent evening, I had a Chianti Classico from Melini. It was pretty much what one would expect from this Sangiovese-based wine, fruity (raspberries, strawberries) with a hint of floral (violets), a touch of something herbaceous and good acidity, a feature of this grape. It didn’t pair too well with the olives or the other combinations on the menu so I went with the classic cheese plate. In the end, I go for the ambience and am never disappointed. For a much more elaborate meal with a very interesting wine list, the members dining room offers lunch and dinner that are sometimes theme based. I went for my birthday a number of years back and had a Spanish tasting menu, wines and all, that was well worth the hefty price tag. The location, the Members dining room, was divine.

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