Those breads are worth the trouble. Kevin Bruce, whose last job was kneading Danish rugbrod and grantoftegaard at Great Northern Food Hall, bakes six kinds of loaves a day in a two-rack oven on a tight schedule. It starts at 7:30 a.m., when hefty little bricks of dark rye shot through with sunflower seeds are ready. A sourdough boule whose composition changes day to day comes out at 11 a.m.; the buckwheat version sold on Tuesdays and Saturdays is something of a miracle, at once suave and earthy. The baking day ends at 2 p.m., when the baguettes go on sale.
A baguette plus a rotisserie chicken nearly always equals a satisfying dinner. They add up to considerably more than that at Winner, where the bread is just a few hours old and the roast was finished within half an hour or so of your pickup appointment. While you wouldn’t call Winner a French restaurant, the extraordinary attention it pays to ordinary staples may remind you of the neighborhood shops in Paris, where Mr. Eddy lived while he was cooking under Daniel Rose at Spring. (More recently, he was the opening chef at Rebelle, a French restaurant on the Bowery that is now closed.)
The pandemic has brought the city a flurry of new pop-ups. Winner hosts one every week, with a guest chef who cooks a “friends and family meal.” A few weeks ago, the program introduced me to the rich delights of collards in shrimp sauce as prepared by Telly Justice, a trans woman who is planning to open “a restaurant by queer people for all people” in Brooklyn, to be called Hags.
I don’t exactly remember which wine Lisandra Bernadet, the sommelier, recommended with Telly Justice’s cooking, but I believe it came from Slovenia, glowed with a pale-gold skin contact tint, had been made about eight years ago and, like almost all the bottles at Winner, cost well under $40. A conversation through an open window about Slovenian orange wines is another thing I’ve never gotten from GrubHub.
Winner’s wine bar is in a former carriage house, where there is just enough room for the rotisserie oven, a few standing customers and a single table. Will strangers ever rub elbows there? Will travelers with freshly scanned passports give Winner’s address to their drivers at the airport? They should. There isn’t anything mega about the place, but it’s loaded with charisma.
What the Stars Mean Because of the pandemic, restaurants are not being given star ratings.