Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gottino Gets it Right

Being a tourist in my own city (see resolution #8) means dining out frequently in 2009. Yes!!

Seeing as I'm still rebuilding my stateside bank account, these frequent eat-outs are going to require moderate to low tabs. And as a Recessionista 27 years in the making (not sure why others are just catching on now) I happen to be an expert on low budg/high quality experiences.

An "experience" is exactly what I got when I first went to Gottino , the W. Village wine bar/"gastroteca" that has quickly risen to the top of my favorites list, followed by trusted staples Uva and Otto.

Gottino's at the top because it's THE MOST authentic Italian wine bar I've yet to visit this side of the Atlantic. Its little accents are what make it just right. The oversized chalkboard with wine selections scribbled in white, the heavy-duty red meat-slicers prominently on display, Fabrizio de Andre and other Italian classics subtly playing in the background. And the servers -- smartly dressed in all white, friendly but not contrived and excited about every last morsel on the menu.

Right, the menu. It's "small plate" perfection. All the right meats, of which the porchetta was my favorite, cheeses so fresh that the entire place reeks divinely of them, and other inventive one-or-two bite crostini and plates that go beyond your everyday aperitivi. Ask for extra quince marmalade to accompany any of your dishes. It's outrageous.

The wine selections is expansive but you'll be guided through every sip by your server who you can whole-heartedly trust. Although I still balk at the cost of alcohol in New York City, glasses at Gottino are holding strong at a moderate $12 and bottles start at around $40.

Gottino gets my vote for the perfect cozy date or a long-overdue catchup with girlfriends. You can hear yourself talk (a rarity in restaurants these days) and you won't be hurried to move your meal along because other reservations are waiting to be seated. There are no reservations.
I really love that each time I've been there chef and owner, Jody Williams, has casually stopped by to survey the scene, greet her staff and even have a glass of wine with guests. Her effortless cool is felt throughout every step of the Gottino experience.

My only compliant? That I don't still live in my old Village apartment...Gottino is down the block and would have clearly been my home-away-from-home. Sigh.

[Photo: NY Mag]

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