The new year is quickly approaching. Lucky for us there’s a new spot in the South Slope that’s all about the bubbly. Since opening up Korzo six years ago, Otto Zizak has turned the local crowd into serious lovers of Central European cuisine (and the beverages to match). Needless to say, when we got word of his latest venture, Sekt, we were eager to pop open a few bottles just for the sake of a libation celebration. Little did we know our instinct to do so was justified – the restaurant's namesake is a salute to the semi-sparkling wines of Central and Eastern Europe.
A sekt can be made with different varieties of grapes and is required to have about half the pressure per bottle of a fully sparkling spirit like Champagne. “In the simplest terms, it’s a German word for sparkling wine that is used pretty liberally,” Otto says. “It’s sparkling wine from the general Central European area — even Hungary and Austria.” As far as taste, it’s a lightly fizzy drink that goes well with many delicious foodstuffs. At Sekt they’re matching their namesake with a well-crafted menu of small and large plates, along with plenty of bubbly from around the world.
So, saddle up for Espumante, Cava, Prosecco and a wealth of quinoa tarts. We got tips from Otto himself on how to get acquainted with all of this regional food and vino simultaneously. We bring you three tempting pairings to try out:
Three-Cheese Quinoa Tart with Szigeti Pinot Noir Sekt
Asiago, gouda and cheddar melt their cheesy goodness onto toasted walnuts, drunken berries and an oloroso sherry reduction. Otto says the pinot noir sekt, a sparkling rosé, is a popular companion for these savory bites. “The quinoa is a lighter dish that makes you think of lighter summer days,” he says. (We’re certainly willing towork our way through the snow drifts for a sip o’ summer.)
The Harvest with Prum Riesling Kabinett
Prum may not be a sparkling wine – but we’ll forgive it nonetheless. Otto assures us that this Riesling is a great fit for The Harvest, a cranberry latke served with a shiitake mushroom medley and smoked pepper mascarpone. “Still wines are also popular,” he says. “This one is a late harvest Riesling — it’s a good, full wine with a hint of a sugar.”
Fried Trout with Szöke Mátyás Pinot Gris
Trout from Upstate NY battered in grits is a delicious entity in its own right, but pair it with a pinot gris – like this Northern Hungarian variety or one of its Austrian cousins – and we’ve got a satisfying dinner on our hands. “It’s comforting in a fall kind of way,” Otto explains. “An Austrian pinot gris is a nice fruity and minerally kind of white wine.” Sounds like we’ll need to leave room for fish after our quinoa tarts on our next trip back.
Ready to sip some sekt? “We have sparkling wines by the glass on any given night,” Otto says. “We rotate them based on what’s interesting.” Be sure to come on down for happy hour for a fresh glass. Before 7 p.m., the house variety, a Hungarian-made Törley Rosé Sekt, goes for just six bucks a pop.
651 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 1121
Sunday - Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.