New York Vintners is a cool little wine shop that does all the usual tastings and pairing lessons, but every couple of months, they do something a little different - present a three course meal prepared by Chef Ryan Smith, paired with wines... and comedians!
The evening opens with host Pat Dixon and the first comedian, followed by the first course, more comedy, second course.. etc. So, no one's scraping their plates and paying more attention to the pork shank than the jokes and the awkward resetting between courses time is filled with fun comedy.
The crowd was a mix of couples and singles, it seems like a good evening for date night or meeting the person you'll be going on your next date night with. You're seated at tables of 8-10 and the meal is served family style, so there are plenty of opportunities to chat with your new seat-neighbors.
With a $150 per head price tag, the crowd certainly skewed upper middle class, white and a little uptight. They were happy to go along with the dirty and the edgy, but Pat, Ian Fidance and Casey Balsham couldn't slip in even the most harmless and silly of racial jokes or anything that made them feel uncomfortable about their privilege. But a glass of prosecco, a couple of white and one of red in, they were loose enough to let Pat Dixon riff on positive Asian stereotypes in response to a young Asian lady who was (pretty politely) heckling and let Doug Smith do whatever he wanted.
With no raised stage and a (relative to a typical comedy club) well-lit room, it could have been very awkward, but the crowd were good sports and the comedians ran with it. Ian took the opportunity of being at crowd level to fake hit on an audience member who said her date had stood her up and Casey played with the proximity by saying "I can't look you in the eyes while I tell this porn joke" and actually turned around to face the wall as she delivered the premise (to huge laughs). Doug's set felt the most like one at a small comedy club, everyone was loose, people were getting a little rowdy and audibly agreeing with jokes. Then Nathan Anderson really took advantage of the space and sat down next to the stood-up girl (who later admitted she hadn't been stood up, she just said that) and went real meta ("What is he doing? Is this still a show?"). And Pat did a great job of setting the tone and controlling the room before each act, even as they went from uptight prissy to talking-back tipsy.
The food was incredible and of course so was the wine. As I mentioned, the event costs $150 per head, so you definitely have to want to satisfy your foodie, wine snob and comedy nerd all at once. But you'll get your money's worth. Join the NY Vintner's Mailing List for info on the next comedy night (and other events).