Friday, January 15, 2010

'inoteca part deux

So last night I finally made my way over to 'inoteca (the Murray Hill location, sadly) for drinks and a few bites to eat. And I must say, upon arrival, I was shocked (and dare I say nearly appalled) by the look of the place. After visiting the LES location as well as 'ino, I expected this 'inoteca to follow suit with the whole rustic, not the least bit overdone kind of thing. But that was not the case at this location. A whole mish-mash of styles that just really didn't sit well with me which is unfortunate because I wonder if the bad reaction I had to the look of the place had an adverse affect on my dining experience.

Apparently Kiira was in an overly critical mood yesterday. Sorry, 'inoteca.

Anyways, as soon as I sat down, I pulled the “I’ll have a glass of what they’re having,” because I’m not going to even pretend I can navigate myself through an all Italian wine list. While my palette has certainly been expanded over the past few months, Italian wines (for whatever reason) are something I continue to overlook. But that is now going to come to a screeching hault. Because the wine we had last night was absolutely delicious. A 2006 Rosso di Fogliano, Bisci from Marche. With a nose rich with chocolate and cherries, the taste of savory dark berries followed. It was the perfect accompaniment to the plate of assorted bruschetta: cauliflower (the real winner), marscarpone and fig, fennel, and caponata. All served atop perfectly toasted yet soft pieces of bread, we nearly attacked the spread. I could’ve contently stopped there. But of course, well, that didn’t happen.

Next the table split the beet salad with orange, mint, hazelnuts, and pecorino. A classic salad that just fell totally short for me. Not nearly enough orange or mint and the beets lacked seasoning. A total pass. We all decided to go with panini’s to wrap the whole thing up. I went with a prosciutto, mozzarella, and arugula pesto which was absolutely fine. Mind blowing? Not in the least. But with a generous glass of that Bisci wine and great company, we smiled our way through the meal.

I’m not giving up on ‘inoteca just yet. Not sure why the seemingly harsh criticism, just had high expectations, I suppose. But apparently it ain’t over until I try the orange zest meatballs. Which quite frankly, just by the sound of, will have me back in no time. But for the time being, my wine bar recommendation remains, loyally, to Terroir. Their smoked chickpea and calamari salad quite honestly owns me. Taunts me. Seduced me way too well.

Until the next time.

323 third ave. (at 24th st.)

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