May 12, 2008

Crostini and Vini at Gottino

So obviously from the title, my penchant for cheesy prose never fades. What can I say? Rhyme and alliteration make me smile, like a glass of Moscato d'Asti, aka happy bubbles. But I digress for a change.

So after Mother's Day Sunday lunch in NJ, I trained back into the City to join Solli for a “civilized” drink and catch up at Gottino in the West Village. I had randomly walked by one day, ventured in a couple weeks ago and was charmed. It's a slim Italian wine bar on Greenwich Avenue (not street, don’t make that mistake!) with sort of a rustic Tuscan farmhouse feel – complete with big baskets of onions, nuts and other "foodstuffs" downstairs. The servers are super nice (and cute…ahem), and more importantly attentive and helpful in a low-key way - even when I correct them on the pronunciation of Lagrein (Lah-gryne NOT la-grain, please). It’s a red grape variety from Italy's Alto Adige region; they're my clients after all. Anyway, drank Italian rosé at lunch (Larmes du Paradis from the Vallée d’Aoste) that was yummy with our salmon, grilled vegetable skewers—my first real barbecue of the season hooray—and a tomato, goat cheese and caramelized onion tart. But the spring day turned very chilly and so red was called for in the early evening. Ok, I have totally buried my lead here since the entire point of this post is Gottino’s walnut pesto crostini. One of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten, and you know I’ve had lots of deliciousness! So good! I really had to restrain myself from eating the entire portion while waiting for Solli. There were two small, but very rich crostino I guess is the singular. Crunchy, yet somehow creamy and silky nutty mouthfuls with olive oil and thyme. Should have ordered more. Also tasty were the carpaccio and brandade a la morue (whipped garlicky salt cod with the consistency of mashed potatoes – tastes much better than it sounds) or baccala something in Italian.

And what did we drink? Not Lagrein. Started with a glass of Il Ghizzano, mostly Sangiovese and some Merlot. It was pretty good, but the Aglianico was much better. I didn’t write down the name, drat.

Gottino - you gotta go if only for the walnut pesto…
52 Greenwich Avenue between Charles and Perry

p.s. Coming next, food finds from Prague, including one of the best hamburgers I’ve ever had, seriously. Děkuji, Nico. But you'll have to wait until I'm back from San Francisco.

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