Tasty Bites & Wine at ‘inoteca – NYC
I live about two blocks away from ‘inoteca, so I used to go quite often two years ago. But then I got distracted by all the shiny new restaurants opening up in NY, and I forgot about it. A shame, really, because the food at ‘inoteca is just delicious and perfect with a nice glass of wine (or in my case, a bottle). Fortunately, though, in the last two weeks, I got reacquainted with my old friend, and I’m glad I did.
The first time back, I met Ellie for a few glasses of wine at ‘inoteca. We happened to be standing outside of ‘inoteca when we were deciding where to go, and since she wanted to drink wine rather than beer, we ended up at ‘inoteca. The wine list, which is actually a thick book that lists a total of six hundred different wines, is bit daunting; so I always do the safest thing and ask the waiter what he recommends. I usually like a medium body red wine with fruit undertones, and Ellie prefers a more drier wine, so we ended up ordering the 2004 Concarosso, Poderi Foglia ($45) which was a combination of both. It started off fruity and ended on a dry tannin note. We loved it, especially Ellie who took the cork home so she could remember the name of the wine. This especially came in handy when I texted her at one in the morning to ask her if she remembered the name of the wine. Um, yeah, I have a problem, but luckily my friends seem to understand or at least tolerate my crazy behavior.
Along with the wine we had the Suppli ($12), which is fried risotto balls filled with sweet butternut squash, salty marzolina cheese, and sliced earthy black truffles. This dish is absolutely heavenly. Risotto, in general, is mouth-watering as it is, but fried and filled with butternut squash and black truffles, it is absolutely perfect. I wish I had a plate of these right now by my laptop.
We also shared the Antipasti ($13). The picture above is from a brunch a while back, but the plate doesn’t seem to have changed that much. There was a vegetable frittata, pickled cauliflower and fennel, olives, charred endive, bread sticks, pecorino, and three slices of soppressata. The only thing different was the absence of the the pickled pearl onions, which I was never a fan of, so I was glad not to see them. This is a good plate to pick at throughout the night with a bottle of wine. Of course I would have preferred less pickled vegetables and more meat and cheese, but for $13, it’s understandable.
The next day, I told David we had to go back so he could try the Suppli. Naturally I was only thinking of him. 😉 So a few days later, we ended going to ‘inoteca for brunch. I noticed that day the Suppli was less hot, and thus the cheese inside was less melty from a few nights ago. Regardless, I still enjoyed it, but I just wished it was hotter. David, who likes food on the cooler side like most people I notice (which I don’t understand), thought it was at the perfect temperature.
The restaurant’s signature dish, however, is the scrumptious Truffle Egg Toast, which is a slice of Pullman bread with a softly cooked egg in the middle, covered in fontina cheese, and drizzled with truffle oil. Roasted and sliced asparagus are served alongside the dish. You can get the toast with bottarga ($11) or without ($9). This time I had it with the bottarga, which made it taste more savory. The bottarga tasted similar to myungnanjut (명란젓), the pollack roe found in Korean cuisine, but more cured and slightly more fishy. However, it’s the truffle oil married with the still runny egg that really makes this dish. People complain truffle oil is overused now, and is the new bourgeois ketchup, but when it is used well, it’s good, and there’s no denying it. Here it works beautifully. I also like the addition of the asparagus which is also complemented by the truffle oil.
The Truffle Egg Toast is just as good though without the bottarga. Here is a picture from another day. I do notice the softness of the bread varies at ‘inoteca. Sometimes the bread can be hard as a rock, and other times it’s toasty yet still chewy. I like it somewhere in the middle.
Also good and more “breakfasty” is the Warm Farro & Roasted Fruits ($8). This is a more grown-up and probably more healthy version of warm cereal. It’s creamy enough, without being heavy, and strangely filling for a small bowl.
David always orders Basil Pesto & Egg Panino ($9) when we go for brunch, and I understand why. Eggs and pesto just belong together. I must also say the eggs taste delicious at ‘inoteca. I’m not sure why, but they always taste richer and seem to have a higher ratio of yolk to white. Combined with the pesto, the Basil Pesto & Egg Panino is very satisfying. In fact, it was so much so, David felt full after eating just half of the panino, and we took the other half to go. Unfortunately for David though, he left me at home with his leftover sandwich while he went to the bookstore, and mysteriously found it missing when he got back home. All I have to say is: you snooze, you lose.
And of course, you can’t go to ‘inoteca without having some wine. I had a lovely glass of the 2005 Torre Quarto Bottacia Puglia ($10) that day, recommended by our very serious yet knowledgeable waiter. It had a medium body and less tannins than the Concarosso from a few nights before. It was exactly what I wanted.
I can’t wait to go back to ‘inoteca. Good wine and tasty little bites, who wouldn’t love it?
98 Rivington Street (@ Ludlow)
NY, NY 10002
ahh.. the truffle egg toast. That looks looks great, I’ve got to go try that one of these days. The pictures look great!
@Danny Oh, you really must! If you like truffle oil, you’ll love it.
I too live blocks from inteca and venture quite frequently for the Truffled Egg Toast, which I have to say is really easy to replicate at home.If you have never been to Fairway, it is worth the trip if for their truffle oil selection along. You can buy yourself a variety of oils and taste the difference with each home made “egg in a basket.”
@lauren Oh I used to go to the Harlem Fairway quite often a few years ago when I lived in the area. Now it seems a bit far for me, even the Upper West Side location. And on the weekends I like to stay downtown, since I’m in Midtown all week. I did see truffle oil at Whole Foods though and I’ve been meaning to try making it at home. But again, on the weekends I like to go out for brunch so I can destresss and relax. One day I will try it though….one day…..
I finally went to try that toast! It was really good stuff. The bread was soft and crispy on the bottom. The runny yolk was superb. Thanks for the heads up!
@Danny Oh great, now you must try the suppli! You must, you must! OK, maybe I should go to sleep now.
we should go here next time
@Janet We can, but no unlimited drinks! Haha, but we can sacrifice drinks for better food I guess.